Adding an outdoor fireplace to your landscaping gives your property a whole new dimension. Your entertaining options broaden, you gain a new living space without having to increase your square footage, and you increase the value and character of your home. These are some great benefits, but before you jump, evaluate these four design considerations to make sure an outdoor fireplace is right for you.
1. Location. Every piece of property is different, so it's impossible to say there's a "just right" place for a fireplace in your yard. However, you may find that an outdoor fireplace takes advantage of cumbersome areas or that it gives your landscaping much-needed definition.
If you're interested in developing a fireplace area, carefully think about your current landscaping and how each area of your property is used. For ease of use, most people prefer to build a fireplace fairly close to their kitchen doors so they don't have to carry food and supplies too far. Also, consider privacy. Your fireplace will become a place to entertain, so you probably don't want it to be openly visible to all of your neighbors. In addition, a fireplace makes an interesting landscaping focal point. What area of your yard could use some emphasis and interest? Of course, you'll have to take local codes into consideration, and these codes may determine areas that are off limits for your outdoor fireplace.
2. Type. When deciding which type of fireplace to build, think about what you like to do. If you love pizza, a custom-built outdoor pizza oven may be perfect. If you like to sit around and chat with friends while you roast marshmallows, a grill-grate or pass-through fireplace may work best. If you don't want to deal with ordering and storing cords of wood, a gas fireplace will give you the luxury of a crackling fire without the maintenance and mess of wood.
Depending on your budget and your available space, fireplaces can be pre-built or custom-made. They can also be dedicated to just one type of activity, such as a pizza oven, or they can be designed to fulfill several different needs. The best way to figure out what outdoor fireplace would be best for you is to sit down with one of our consultants and discuss your property, lifestyle, and needs.
3. Budget. Outdoor fireplaces generally start at around $10,000.00 depending on a variety of factors such as materials, size, special features, and existing structures. Will you be in your home long enough to enjoy the investment of an outdoor fireplace?
4. Seating Area. People only like to stand around a fireplace for so long. To really enjoy your fireplace you'll need an integrated seating area.
When you design your seating area, don't just try to copy something you've seen in a magazine. Think about how you'll use your fireplace. How many people will use the fireplace on a regular basis? Will you be eating there? Would benches work better than chairs? Do you need to provide shelter above the seating area? Could your fireplace seating do double duty with other architectural features of your yard (such as a swimming pool or garden area)? Seating can act as boundaries, separating the yard into different functioning areas.
An outdoor fireplace can turn a humdrum backyard into something really special. It creates a place with a purpose, an invitation to outdoor relaxation and enjoyment.