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Elegant Outdoor Fireplace Solutions for Every Home

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Outdoor Natural Gas Fireplace

As outdoor fireplaces become more popular our options for them increase. In areas where outdoor wood burning fireplaces aren’t allowed, outdoor gas fireplaces have become a good option. The two main choices in this category are propane and natural gas. But before buying or building a fireplace for your outdoor living space check with your local municipalities to verify they are allowed in your area.

While a propane fireplace is a better choice if you want something portable, an outdoor natural gas fireplace is a good way to go if you already have a natural gas line piped into your home. You can hire a professional to run a line to your patio or wherever you want to install your fireplace so you have a constant fuel source. With this type of set up you never need to worry about chopping or buying fire wood and you don’t need to worry about switching out propane tanks.

One of the benefits of an outdoor gas fireplace is that it is easy to start and extinguish. Many of them even have a remote control option so you can adjust the fire without even getting out of your warm, cozy seat. If the fire gets too warm you can turn it down to make it more comfortable for everyone sitting around enjoying it or if it isn’t warm enough you can turn it up a little.

While you won’t get the crackling sound of the wood burning you also won’t have embers popping out of the fireplace and you don’t have to worry about smoke as outdoor gas fireplaces burn cleaner than wood burning fireplaces.

An outdoor natural gas fireplace can bring a whole new look and feel to you back yard. Outdoor fireplaces can also increase the value of your home, and increase your living space. You may want to start spending more evenings at home with this type of addition.

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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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Outdoor Gas Fireplace

An outdoor gas fireplace is a great option if you want or are restricted to a fireplace that doesn’t use wood for fuel. While many people love the smell of a wood burning fireplace there are some drawbacks to them that you won’t find in gas fireplaces, so a gas fireplace may be the best fit combining both enjoyment and functionality.

Advantages Of Outdoor Gas Fireplaces

One advantage is that outdoor gas fireplaces burn cleaner than wood burning fireplaces. You won’t have the blowing smoke you see with the burning of wood, or the jumping of burning embers. And since some areas have wood burning restrictions an outdoor gas fireplace may be the best way to go, but make sure you check the regulations in your area before you make any plans or start shopping. You need to know what is allowed in your area before you even start the process.

The other big advantage of an outdoor gas fireplace is that it is easy to start; before you know it you can be gathered around the cozy warmth of your own patio fireplace. It’s wood burning cousin takes a little more time and patience, and of course wood which you need to keep on hand. Gas fireplaces are also easy to extinguish when it’s time to go in for the night.

What Type Should I Get?

Outdoor Gas Fireplace
Outdoor Gas Fireplace

The gas versions come as either natural gas or propane fireplaces. When choosing which one is best for you there are a few things to consider. First do you have natural gas running to your home already for an oven or stove? If you do you can just run a line to the area where you want to set up your outdoor fireplace. If you don’t it will be a little more difficult as you will need to find a source for the natural gas and possibly a supplier.

The other option is an outdoor propane fireplace. While natural gas may burn cleaner, propane fireplaces can be more versatile. They can be used in areas where you don’t have access to natural gas, making them a great choice in many rural areas.

If you are looking for a portable outdoor fireplace that uses gas, a propane fireplace is probably the best way to go as it is pretty easy to find portable propane tanks.

Or if you like the feel of an open fire, with a 360 degree view of the flames, you may want to look at a natural gas fire pit or one of the many propane fire pits available. Many of these are portable fire pits making it easy to rearrange your patio or take it with you when you move.

Your Outdoor Gas Fireplace – The Final Touch

Once you’ve chosen the perfect one you’ll want to decide if you want the look of logs, glass or rocks. If you want it to look like a traditional fireplace you may want to use ceramic logs. They have improved dramatically and some look pretty realistic.

If you are looking for a rustic look but you don’t want to use ceramic logs you might consider using fire stones. They come in a variety of shapes and colors that provide a great look for outdoor fireplaces.

Outdoor Gas Fireplace with Fire Glass
Outdoor Gas Fireplace with Fire Glass

If you’re looking for something more modern or distinct you should consider tumbled glass, sometimes called fire ice, fire glass or fireplace glass. Well designed outdoor fireplaces using fire glass can provide a spectacular look, and since the glass comes in different colors it can easily match or accent the look of your outdoor area.

Installing an outdoor gas fireplace is a great way to increase the value of your home, but it also makes your patio a cozy environment for entertaining or for relaxing, quiet evenings.

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Outdoor Propane Fireplace

There are a couple of reasons why you might want an outdoor gas fireplace instead of one fueled by wood. One of the popular options for this is one fueled by propane.

But before you get too attached to any specific outdoor fireplace be sure to see what is allowed in your area, there may be restrictions about what you can and can’t have in that area. Also check with your homeowner’s association if you are a part of one to see what type of patio fireplace is allowed.

Outdoor Gas Fireplaces

Outdoor gas fireplaces are popular in areas where there are wood burning restrictions. Not only do they burn cleaner but they are cleaner to use in general because you don’t have to worry about ashes or soot and you don’t have the mess of wood storage. They don’t provide the sound or smell of crackling wood, but with gas log inserts you can get more of a traditional fireplace look and feel.

Propane fireplaces have a couple of advantages over outdoor natural gas fireplaces. Propane burns hotter than natural gas so you can get more heat from a propane fireplace. This can make a difference when you’re sitting outside where the breeze may be blowing some of the heat away. Another benefit is that propane is available almost everywhere so if you are in a rural area and don’t have access to natural gas you can still enjoy a nicely landscaped patio with a propane outdoor fireplace.

Gas Outdoor Fire Pit
Gas Outdoor Fire Pit

Propane can be turned into a liquid under a lower pressure which makes it easier to store in small containers and transport. Because of this you can easily find a portable fireplace that uses propane. This is nice if you have a couple areas in your yard where you want to use it so you can simply move it around instead of having two separate outdoor fireplaces. A small portable fireplace can also be nice to take on a camping trip.

A propane fireplace is easy to start, generally with a switch or button, and easy to extinguish by turning off its fuel source. This makes it nice option for a portable campfire as well.

Outdoor Gas Fire Pits

You can find outdoor propane fireplaces that are fixed, portable or designed as outdoor fire pits. Outdoor propane fire pits can be installed as a fixed unit in your back yard or you can find portable versions. Either way the fire pit style can provide a different look and feel with a 360 degree view of the fire. Gas fire pits are available in designs ranging from rustic to contemporary. For a really distinct, contemporary look you can even add clear or colored fire glass to many outdoor patio fire pits.

But remember even though you won’t have the cost or hassle of wood when you have an outdoor propane fireplace you need to make sure you have access to propane either through a direct line or with portable propane tanks.

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