When it comes to outdoor fireplace construction there are a lot of things you need to consider, from what is allowed in your area to what type of outdoor fireplace you prefer, to safety concerns. But once you work through these things you can create a beautiful and relaxing setting in your own back yard. It’s all worth the effort when you are relaxing by your new outdoor fireplace enjoying the warm glow and the stars above.
Check Local Codes Before Starting Outdoor Fireplace Construction
It is important to check with your local municipalities to learn more about the local codes and laws in your area before you start looking at outdoor fireplace designs. Certain areas have more restrictions in order to maintain the air quality.
In some geographic locations, weather conditions can create an inversion which can trap the particles of smoke decreasing the air quality. Wood burning outdoor fireplaces can create problems with air pollutions in these inversion areas, so some local laws prohibit wood burning varieties. If your area restricts wood burning you can look for an approved gas outdoor fireplace that uses propane or natural gas.
Types Of Outdoor Fireplaces
When you are deciding what type of outdoor fireplace there are a couple of considerations. One of the first decisions you may want to make is whether you want a wood burning or gas outdoor fireplace. Of course based on the laws in your area that choice may already be made for you. A wood burning fireplace will provide you with more of a rustic campfire feel, with the crackling sound and the smell of burning wood. A gas fireplace will burn cleaner and it is easier to light.
The other choice you need to make is whether you want a custom masonry fireplace or whether you want one that is prefabricated like an outdoor fireplace kit. A custom outdoor fireplace can provide a very distinct look for your outdoor area, but it will take more time and a bigger budget. Custom outdoor fireplaces are built from the ground up so they need to be done by a professional as they have specific engineering requirements and structural calculations which can vary depending on the type of soil is in your area.
Outdoor fireplace kits are a better option for those who are somewhat experienced and want to do it themselves. An outdoor fireplace kit will provide all the necessary parts in the right proportions to build a functional outdoor fireplace. Fireplace kits are less expensive than the masonry version, but that doesn’t mean they are plain. You can customize the look by adding stone or brick to get the look of traditional brick or stone outdoor fireplaces.
It is also important to determine what type of outside fireplace will withstand the weather conditions in your area. One that would be perfect for the Southwest may not work so well in the climate in the Northeast.
Outdoor Fireplace Safety
Before you start any construction on your outdoor fireplace make sure you consider fire safety first. Make sure the fireplace will be positioned in a way that won’t create any risk to vegetation and especially not to your home in the case an ember jumps of the fire. Be especially careful around wood decks and around trees and bushes. Because this is a significant and lasting project you may want to consult a local fire professional to help with any outdoor fireplace construction safety concerns.