Not only does an outdoor fireplace improve the overall look of your backyard, it serves a great function as well for cooking at barbecues and family gatherings. But where do you start when you decide you want an outdoor fireplace? Consider the size of your yard, your personal style, and how you’ll be using your outdoor fireplace.
Up to Code
While it is the least interesting part, make sure you are able to build an outdoor fireplace. Some states may be in a drought and not allow them, while others may have restrictions. Obtain any necessary permits beforehand, and before you dig, make sure to call into your local utilities to avoid any gas or electric mains or service lines.
You may want something small or something larger than life: this will depend on the size of your yard and your budget. It is possible to build an outdoor fireplace that closely resembles a large stone oven with a chimney, or you may want a simple pit sit around and roast hot dogs and drink coffee. Either way, this project becomes an experience.
Everyone loves to sit outside and keep warm by the fire. When we are surrounded by family and friends, this feeling is amplified. An outdoor fireplace is not just a fire pit for the occasional family get-together, however; it can be constructed to be so much more. It becomes a part of your home, creates a better experience for your family and increases the value of your home if you choose to sell it some day.
There are generally four types of material used for an outdoor fireplace. The first is stone or clay, and they are both affordable and have a rustic look. They are heavy materials, but do not often stand up to the elements as long as other materials. However, there are special fire-resistant stones, so be sure to ask around for these if you want to use this material for outdoor fireplaces.
Steel is a less expensive option, and features grills and charcoal storage for easier cooking. They are often a more portable option if you want the best of both worlds, but are not as durable and should be stored or covered properly to extend their life.
Cast iron and cast aluminum are two other materials. Cast iron, as most know, is excellent at withstanding the elements and can have a long life. Unlike steel, there is little potential to move this durable, heavy material around the yard. Cast aluminum looks much like cast iron, but is a less expensive – and lighter – option.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Make sure that you are able to ventilate your fireplace properly. While this is not difficult, some more extravagant designers may forget that this is one of the most important things to remember about building it. Seating for an outdoor fireplace should be a minimum of 3 feet away from the fire, leaving that space completely clear of chairs, tables, and the like. Even if design matters most, safety should come first.
When you choose to build a outdoor fireplace, there are many things to consider. The most important, however, is what you expect to get from it. If you want to build something large or something simple, keep this in mind before choosing material, design, or anything else. Make sure that your home’s outdoor fireplace reflects your home as a whole.