Make your yard the place to be by adding a fire feature that draws a crowd!
More than nearly any other outdoor feature I can think of, a fireplace (or fire pit or bowl) instantly makes the yard the place where everyone wants to be. It easily becomes the focal point of a space, drawing friends and family together around its warm glow. Whether your ideal vision includes kids roasting marshmallows over a rustic wood fire pit, or relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening in front of a beautiful gas fireplace, there is sure to be a just-right fire feature for you.
Dreaming of adding an outdoor fireplace to your yard? Here are 10 key things to consider so you can start transforming your dreams into plans.
Boost resale value. If you are considering selling your home at some point, an outdoor fireplace can be a boon at sale time. Accented with comfy outdoor living room furniture, it will help potential buyers easily imagine themselves there.
A fireplace for every budget. As far as budget goes, know that a gas fireplace tends to cost more than a wood-burning one, and the farther from the house you must run the gas line, the more expensive it will likely be.
A custom built-in fireplace will cost more than a prefab or freestanding model. Custom gas fire pits can be just as costly as fireplaces, though wood-burning fire pits and bowls can be found for as little as a few hundred dollars.
Built-in versus freestanding. Installing an outdoor fireplace is a big project, no matter how you look at it. Before settling on a plan, think about how you envision yourself using the space. Would you prefer an outdoor room destination, or a hangout zone just a step away?
Wood or gas-burning: when to choose what. A wood-burning outdoor fireplace has that campfire romance going for it — you can’t roast hot dogs in a gas fireplace! Also, installing a wood-burning fireplace is a simpler (and often less expensive) process.
On the other hand, gas fireplaces are easier to use, which is ideal if you plan to spend a lot of time around yours. Also, some areas may have environmental restrictions in place limiting wood burning, so be sure to check with your city before committing.
Wood fires can have health consequences, too, so consider your neighbors when placing one, or choose a gas fire pit.
Pick your style: fireplace, fire pit or fire bowl. Built-in fire pits can go modern or traditional, depending on the materials, while fire bowls run the gamut from sleek and modern to rustic hammered metal. Outdoor fireplaces typically have a more traditional look and are a great way to anchor an outdoor room.
Consider, but don’t be limited by, your home’s architecture. The fire pit shown here has a sleek, modern look yet fits in beautifully with the traditional home, thanks to the bluestone on the fire pit surround.
If you are having trouble envisioning how a certain fireplace would look with your home, start building a mood board with your favorite styles. Then take a picture of your house and play around until you find a pairing you love.
Add an element of surprise with a tabletop fire bowl. If none of the usual fireplaces are calling your name, consider something a little different — like the tabletop fire bowl shown here. It looks like a most civilized spot to perch at with a glass of wine.
Need flexibility? Try a freestanding fireplace. This mod design can be used with wood or gas, depending on the setup. It can even be used indoors if properly connected and ventilated.
DIY it with a wood-burning fire pit. If you are looking to save some cash — and if a bit of hard physical labor doesn’t put you off — consider building your own wood-burning fire pit. Over the course of several weekends, it is possible to create a simple stacked stone fire pit like the one shown here.
Brush up on fire safety. Whether you are building your own fire pit, or hiring pros to install a custom version, it is important to know how to make your outdoor fireplace safe for all. For starters, a fireproof flooring or ground cover (cement, gravel) is a must.
Also be sure to keep a wide area around the fireplace or pit cleared of plantings, fencing and even the siding of your house — anything that could potentially cause a fire to spread. And be sure to check local fire safety codes before starting your project.
Houzz Contributor. You can also find me on Lolalina (http://www.lolalina.com/)