They used to be more function than fashion, but today fireplaces satisfy two needs for homeowners: a place to gather around, keep warm and a visual attraction in or outside of the home.
One of the key elements of an outdoor design is a comfortable spot to relax and entertain, even if the weather turns cooler in the evening hours.
You’ll also want to make sure that the fireplace compliments your backyard. If your backyard is large, you can go with a bigger outdoor fireplace with an extended hearth and mantel. Maybe the fireplace is the spot to warmup after a swim in the pool.
But if your yard is smaller and intimate, choose a fireplace that doesn’t overpower your backyard design but instead, keeps things in balance and provides a quaint place to settle in.
Some fireplace materials radiate more heat than others. Brick, stone, tile, and stucco are all common materials for outdoor fireplaces. In some cases, metal portable stoves or fireplaces are used and they can become hotter than the other materials.
You also want to make sure your fireplace is in an area where the surrounding landscape allows drainage after it rains.
Be sure to consider how you’ll fuel your fireplace. An outdoor gas fireplace will require a gas fuel line but it doesn’t have to have a chimney and that could save you some money because it can use a smaller fuel or vent pipe.
If your outdoor fireplace isn’t close to the home, a separate gas line may be needed. Your local gas company will need to make certain that there aren’t any issues before a gas line can be trenched and piped into your backyard.
Other fuel options are wood-burning and propane-fueled fireplaces, which allow a lot of location flexibility, since a new gas line won’t be required.
No matter which source you use to fuel your fireplace, it will need proper venting. A wood-burning fireplace will provide more heat but it must have a large enough chimney with the proper draft to ensure the fire burns properly.
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