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Elegant Outdoor Fireplace Solutions for Every Home

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Custom Outdoor Fireplaces

Investing in a custom outdoor fireplace can be an inspiring decision. Outdoor fireplaces add elegance and value to your home, enhance your landscaping, and add a welcoming appeal for your family and friends. Whether you’re in the market for an outdoor fireplace for your home, your restaurant, or resort you will be adding value and creating a gathering spot that you will appreciate for years to come.

In this article I’ll give you a few tips on how to choose a custom outdoor fireplace, including how to find the best design. Since the best plan for installation may vary based on the design you choose, I’ll also provide some guidance on which method to choose for installation..

Choosing a Custom Outdoor Fireplace Design

When planning an outdoor fireplace project, there are several things you need to consider:

  • Where will it be located? The design you choose for a custom outdoor fireplace by a pool will likely be quite different than one tucked into the corner of your patio. A patio fireplace can tie together a large, expansive area and offer a warm enticing oasis for family and friends.
  • What kind of material do you prefer? You want to make sure that any material you choose will blend in with the surrounding area, as well as complement the materials used in your home. A stone fireplace may lend itself well to a backdrop of trees and or mountain vista, and the material you select for your fireplace will help it blend in with an extremely natural setting. If you have a colonial brick home, a brick fireplace will add to the architectural elegance very nicely.
  • What fuel selection do you want for your outdoor fireplace? If you want an outdoor wood burning fireplace, you will need the installation of a chimney, where as an outdoor gas fireplace will need venting. All this will impact design you choose, and the final appearance of your surroundings as well.

Outdoor Fireplace Construction

When it comes time to build this addition to your patio, you’ll need to decide whether to do it yourself, or hire a professional for the outdoor fireplace construction project. There are pros and cons to each:

Do It Yourself

Outdoor Fireplace Kit
Outdoor Fireplace Kit

Doing it yourself with an outdoor fireplace kit has its advantages. A kit will likely be far less expensive than hiring a mason to build this structure for you. Most fireplace kits are custom-built and are relatively easy to install. Most also come with detailed installation manuals. An outdoor fireplace kit is customizable for your exact preferences, at a percentage of the cost for hiring someone. If you’ve tackled do-it-yourself projects before or have a good understanding of bricklaying you may be able to save a substantial amount this way.

However, keep in mind that installing an outdoor fireplace is a commitment! Most outdoor fireplaces are permanent structures and therefore you will want them to be an asset to your property and remain an added benefit for new owners down the road. If you’re uncertain about your ability or don’t have the time to spend on a fairly involved project, you may be better off hiring a professional. Or you may even want to consider something with less of a commitment that you can move or change like an chiminea or a raised fire pit.

Hire a Professional

Hiring a professional to help you with outdoor fireplace construction can be a great asset in the long run. Professionals have the expertise, plans and the tools to make sure your custom outdoor fireplace turns out perfectly whether you choose an outdoor stone fireplace, an outdoor brick fireplace or something completely different. Most professional outdoor fireplace designers can give you a site evaluation and may offer suggestions for materials and designs that you would not have considered on your own.

Custom Outdoor Fireplace
Custom Outdoor Fireplace

When hiring a professional, be sure to find out if they’re licensed and bonded. Also ask for references, and be sure to check them. If you have a general idea of the design you’d like to use, ask to see a portfolio as this can be a quick way to determine if a particular contractor has built something similar to what you already have in mind. However, a professionally designed custom outdoor fireplace will likely cost significantly more than a kit fireplace that you install yourself.

When considering a custom outdoor fireplace, take your time. Look around at plans and designs as well as different material options. Decide if you feel you are able to do this on your own or need expert assistance. With a solid plan and some elbow grease (or the help of a professional) you can enjoy the warmth of a custom outdoor fireplace sooner than you may think.

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Outdoor Fire Pits

Outdoor fire pits are great if you’re looking for the feel of being around a campfire but you want it in the comfort of your own garden or patio. An fire pit will provide you with a 360 view of the fire and provide a circular area for guests to stand around while enjoying the warmth and glow of the fire.

These pits can be as rustic as a fire ring in the ground surrounding the dancing flames, or something more decorative like a raised metal bowl with shapes cut into it, or a mosaic tile table surrounding a sunken fire bowl. If you can imagine it, it’s probably available somewhere.

Fire Ring

A fire ring, sometimes known as a campfire ring, is a circle of metal, stone or sometimes concrete that wraps around the outside of the fire to help contain it. Certain fire rings are designed to fit a sort of grate over it allowing you to cook over the fire. You can find a fun assortment of fire rings that have designs, like animals or trees, cut into them so you can see the silhouette of the decorative shapes as the fire is burning.

Fire rings shouldn’t be used on any surface that’s not considered fire safe, like a deck. Instead you may want to look into a raised fire pit for those areas.

Wood Burning Fire Pits

Think about the kind of wood you want to burn before buying a wood burning fire pit. If you want to use the same wood you use for your fireplace make sure you buy one that’s big enough for them to fit. You’ll also want to make sure you have a screen or cover for your outdoor fireplace to add a layer of protection from sparks and embers that may be created from the crackling, burning wood.

You can burn different types of wood for different reasons. Pinion wood is popular for it’s nice, pine scent and because it helps repel mosquitoes, but you can burn other woods like apple or hickory. Eco Logs are another great option because they burn longer and are very inexpensive. Never burn pressure treated logs as they release toxic gases when they are burned.

Patio Fire Pits

Outdoor patio fire pits come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. There are many benefits of these types of outdoor fireplaces. For starters they generally don’t take up much space. They are also portable, so you can move them if you want to redecorate, rearrange your patio, or of course you can take them with you if you move.

Because they come in so many designs, colors and shapes you can easily find a backyard fire pit that matches the decor of your yard, or if you find one with a look you love you can have fun decorating around the design of the patio fire pit.

Some patio fire pits come with an attachment that will allow you to cook with them. With these you can use a mesquite wood for the fire to add that smokey, outdoor flavor to you foods. One flavor you won’t want is the faint taste of a new fire pit. If you are going to use it for cooking it’s good to have a few fires in it first to burn off that new smell. This is especially important if they are coated with enamel or paint.

Gas Fire Pits

Gas Outdoor Fire Pit
Gas Outdoor Fire Pit

If you’re looking for something that’s easy to light and low maintenance you may want to look at outdoor gas fire pits. Gas fire pits burn cleaner, since you aren’t burning wood you don’t get the smoke you would get from a wood burning option and they are easier to maintain because you aren’t left with ashes after every fire.

They come as outdoor propane fire pits or natural gas fire pits. With these you can use lava rock, ceramic logs or fire pit glass rocks in the bowl. Lava rocks and ceramic logs provide more of a natural, outdoor look, while the colored glass — often called fire glass, fire ice or fireplace glass — has a modern, elegant shimmery quality.

Copper Fire Pits

If you like a warm colored metal, copper fire pits are a fun option. They won’t retain that shiny, light color after a fire or two, but copper is a durable metal that will last for a long time. A copper fire pit won’t rust and it can handle the heat well, unlike some of the cheaper metals used in low quality patio fire pits.

Fire Pit Tables

Fire pit tables are nice because they can be multifunctional. Since they have the table space they can be used at anytime when you’re outside enjoying a drink or a snack, then later you can light a fire in the bowl to keep you warm to watch the sunset. They also make a great portable outdoor fireplace as they are easy to move.

They are often the center piece of the patio furniture and they come in fun designs including mosaic tile table tops. And if you like the idea of a gas fire pit and a table fire pit no problem you can get a propane fire pit table.

Fire Pit Covers

There are a few outdoor fireplace accessories you will want to consider. To keep your patio fire pit protected from the elements so it will remain in good shape you’ll want to look at fire pit covers. If you have a wood burning fireplace a fire pit cover will also keep the ashes from blowing around on your patio.

Safety Considerations

Always check with your local Fire Marshall to see what is allowed in your area before you buy anything. But once you’ve verified you can have an outdoor fireplace there are some fire pit safety considerations.

Do not place an outdoor fire pit on a flammable surface or near anything flammable, like under a tree with low hanging branches. Keep it out in the open away from you house and away from overhangs.

Never leave the fire unattended especially if there are kids nearby and always keep a fire extinguisher handy.

With a little common sense outdoor fire pits can make your evenings cozier and help transform your outdoor living space.

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Outdoor Fireplace Kits

Are you considering a cozy fireplace for your deck, patio, garden or yard? Fireplace kits are a great option if you want a do-it-yourself outdoor fireplace, or if you want to make the construction a bit easier so you can start enjoying this new backyard addition in just a few days. With these patio fireplace kits you can have a traditional single opening fireplace or one that’s a little more like a raised outdoor fire pit with a multi-sided view of the fire.

Why Buy An Outdoor Fireplace Kit

If you want an outside fireplace and want to do it yourself it’s best to get an outdoor fireplace kit, sometimes known as prefabricated fireplaces. Unless you’ve had experience with outdoor fireplace construction you may not know what materials to use. Many types of rock and stone can’t withstand the heat produced in a fireplace so they will crumble and degrade. It’s important to have a secure firebox that can withstand the heat of having fire after fire in it.

Especially in certain areas of the country if the fire isn’t contained properly it can be very dangerous and have long-lasting consequences. Outdoor fireplace kits help prevent problems with materials or construction as long as they are put together according to the directions.

These patio fireplace kits are assembled more quickly than a full masonry constructed outdoor fireplace, usually in a fraction of the time. Because they come with pre-cut, ready to install pieces they typically lower the cost of materials and labor compared to custom outdoor fireplaces too.

Outdoor Fireplace Kit
Outdoor Fireplace Kit

If you’re skeptical about outdoor fireplace kits because you want your fireplace to have a unique look and feel, more like a custom outdoor fireplace, don’t worry, it can easily be customized. Once the outdoor prefab fireplace is installed it can be decorated or veneered with stucco, stone or brick to get the specific look you want. So your outdoor fireplace kit can be the foundation for your beautiful outdoor stone fireplace. This flexibility also makes it easier to match the look of the fireplace to the already existing decor of your landscaped patio.

Where To Find Outdoor Fireplace Kits

You can find a variety of companies online that produce outdoor fire place kits. Many offer instructions, pictures and videos of how to assemble their kits and of the finished product. You can find different outdoor fireplace designs, and see how they will look when finished.

Some of these companies have distributors throughout the United States where you can order and pick up your kit. But with other companies you can order your kit online and it will be delivered to your home.

But before you start looking at outdoor fireplace kits make sure outdoor fireplaces are permitted in your area. If they aren’t you may be required to deconstruct your new fireplace, which would be terribly sad. It’s always best to check ahead of time so you know before you delve into the process.

It’s not surprising that outdoor fire pits and fireplaces have become so popular. They create such a nice, warm atmosphere for a cozy evening or for entertaining. They also allow you to enjoy your outdoor area earlier and later in the season, providing more usable space in your home. If you’re looking for an attractive outdoor patio fireplace that is affordable and easy to assemble consider outdoor fireplace kits. You may be surprised by just how convenient they are.

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Stone Outdoor Fireplaces

Stone fireplaces are one of the most common types of outdoor fireplaces for many good reasons. Stone outdoor fireplaces have a hearty, solid look that fits well outdoors and they are very sturdy so they will last a long time. A stone fireplace can easily fit the look of a modern or a traditional home by using different types of stones and the right design to fit the overall style of the home.

Adding an outdoor stone fireplace can increase your usable living space, making your home feel bigger. When you spend the time to properly plan and build a custom outdoor fireplace it can turn your yard into a cozy, inviting area where you can enjoy quiet evenings alone or invite friends to share the ambient glow of your beautiful stone fireplace. Before you jump into this project there are some things you will want to consider.

Things To Consider

First and foremost you need to do some research to determine the building and fire codes in your area. Call local municipal offices to get the specific regulations before you start your outdoor fireplace designs. In some areas you may be required to apply for a permit in order to add a new structure to your yard. Some areas are very lenient but others can be quite strict. In the the worse case scenario you spend time and money on fireplace construction building your dream patio, only to find out you have to remove the fireplace because it is not allowed or because you didn’t follow the necessary rules and regulations.

Stone Outdoor Fireplace
Stone Outdoor Fireplace

Next you may want to decide if you want a gas fireplace or a wood burning fireplace. Part of this decision may be made for you when you find out what is allowed in your area. If you have gas lines already installed around your home you can call a professional to come out and connect your gas unit to your gas lines. Or you can look into outdoor propane fireplaces if you don’t have gas lines installed. Wood burning stone fireplaces are usually a bit less expensive and more attractive because you get the crackling sound of the fire as it burns. But they can cause more air pollution with the smoke they emit.

You will also need to consider your budget. Outdoor stone fireplaces can range from fairly reasonable to incredibly expensive depending on exactly what you want. Unless you really know what you are doing you should hire a contractor to help design and install this; building an outdoor fireplace is a big project to take on alone. The price can vary quite a bit depending on the size, shape and stone work involved. If you don’t have a very large budget you may want to consider an outdoor fireplace kit. Outdoor fireplace kits are easier to install because they are cut and sized for the pieces to easily fit together. You can then finish them in the stone of your choice. They are also a good option for those who like to do the work themselves, but even if you hire someone to install the kit it will be less expensive because there will be less work involved.

Another thing to consider with outdoor stone fireplaces is the type and color of stone you want to use. You will want something that will blend well with the color and feel of your patio, landscaping and home design and color. Unless you have a really good eye for this you may want to have a professional help you design the look. This will be a long lasting structure you want to be sure to get it right. Once again unless you really know what you are doing have a professional help build the core structure. The firebox needs to be durable enough to withstand the high heat of multiple fires. Only certain materials can handle this kind of use; you need to consider safety here. Once you have built the core structure you can finish it in the stone of your choice to make this patio fireplace feel like a natural part of your home.

Finally make sure you have a safe design with adequate ventilation. The basic stone outdoor fireplace design is the same as one you would use indoors except outdoor fireplaces don’t use dampers. Instead outdoor fireplaces have a taller chimney to carry away the smoke.

Stones Used For Outdoor Stone Fireplaces

Natural stones are a common choice for stone outdoor fireplaces. Some opt to use a mix of large and small stones or you can use a blend of stone and wood.

Some choose cast stone or cultured stone which is man-made. It is lighter and a little easier to set into place than natural stone and can be made into specific sized and shapes.

Limestone is another popular choice. It has a simple, neutral color and is typically more affordable.

Marble is another option of natural stone you can use. Marble can create a beautiful look with its wide range of colors and unique designs. The down side is that it can be pretty expensive.

Granite is very durable and almost maintenance free. It’s also easy to clean.

Remember to consider the maintenance over the long haul. While outdoor stone fireplaces usually last longer than metal fireplaces, which can rust over time, they will still wear. Consider how your mortar will hold up over time while exposed to all the elements outside. By using less porous, stronger materials your stone outdoor fireplace will last longer with less maintenance.

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Pinion Wood

Once you have your outdoor fireplace or chiminea all set up, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about the different types of wood you can use to fuel the cozy warmth. One of the types of wood many people prefer for their outdoor fire pits and fireplaces is pinion wood.

Pinion wood is popular for a few reasons. For starters it has a wonderful aroma as it burns in your outside fireplace. It smells like pine, truly giving you the feeling of being in the great outdoors, which isn’t always easy to feel in the middle of suburbia. I’ve heard some people say that it smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree.

Another important benefit of burning pinion wood is that it repels mosquitoes. For many this may be the most important benefit because it allows you to enjoy being outside around your cozy outdoor fireplace without the unpleasant distraction of those pesky bugs and without having to slather on the not-so-pleasant bug spray. Some people even start a pinion wood fire when it’s still hot outside just to keep the bugs away because it’s so effective.

Along with these benefits pinion wood is also easy to light, it puts out a good amount of heat, it burns for a long time and once the fire is no longer burning you’ll find very little ash left to clean so it makes a great chiminea firewood. For the most part it’s a low maintenance fire wood making it even more tempting to enjoy outdoor fireplaces as often as you can.

If you want the pinion wood for your outdoor chiminea it won’t be a problem because many sellers will cut the wood to fit in chimineas or smaller outdoor fire pits. Some places where you buy pinion wood will even custom cut the wood for you.

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