Outdoor living spaces are becoming hugely popular, so it makes sense that people are increasingly installing outdoor fireplaces in their backyards. Offering both warmth and a beautiful focal point, an outdoor fireplace can make outdoor gatherings more magical and memorable. However, just like indoor fireplaces, installing a permanent outdoor fireplace requires some thought – fire codes, fuel types, materials, size, and design are all important aspects to consider. We want you always to be happy with your outdoor fireplace, so we’ve put together a list of questions that you should ask yourself before making the purchase.
- Do you want your fireplace to match your house? Fireplaces these days can be made with any number of materials, including brick, marble, stone, stucco, tiles or concrete. They can also be made to fit a wide variety of styles – traditional, contemporary, southwestern, modern – anything you wish! You can bring architectural elements or design elements from your home into your fireplace design, or you can aim for design contrast – whatever your preference.
- What materials work best with your budget? Fireplaces made with materials such as tile, brick veneer, cement, and stucco are often less expensive than fireplaces made from materials such as stone or river rocks. One thing to keep in mind if you choose a fireplace that contains metals is that you may need to deal with eventual rust – a rust-resistant coating or paint can help with prevention.
- What extra features would you like? Like indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fireplace can contain added design features like a hearth or a mantle. Consider the overall style that you are aiming for in your outdoor space, and plan your design accordingly!
- How big is your yard? This is the most important question when it comes to fireplace size. You want your fireplace to make sense in the context of your yard – smaller yards need smaller fireplaces, but if your yard is large, you can be more extravagant!
- How many people will be gathering around your fireplace? A cozy, intimate fireplace area is nice if you’re using it to spend time with your family, but if you frequently entertain and keep a sizeable guest list, then a larger fireplace may be more appropriate.
- Will the fireplace be the primary focal point in your backyard? Think about whether your fireplace will be the centerpiece of your outdoor living area, or whether it will serve to accentuate another feature of your yard.
- What is the main purpose of your outdoor fireplace? Will the fireplace be more decorative, heat-providing, or would you like to cook on it? Would a fireplace or a fire pit make more sense for your purpose? Would you prefer wood-burning or gas stove set up in an outdoor kitchen area, or a fireplace surrounded by cozy seating for outdoor gatherings?
- Do you want a wood-burning fireplace? With the sound of crackling wood and the woodsy smell of smoke, wood-burning fireplaces offer an authentic outdoor fire experience. As a fuel, wood is cheaper than gas and gives off more heat, but wood-burning fireplaces also require chimneys, which can add to the cost of their construction and installation. Wood-burning fireplaces also require additional maintenance, such as building and tending the fire, and ash cleanup after burning. Many people find these added chores to be well worth the experience of a wood-fuelled fire, however. One thing to keep in mind is that different cities may have different guidelines when it comes to wood-burning fireplaces or fireplace location – make sure to check your local fire codes as your first step, or visit our showroom and we can discuss your options.
- Do you want a gas or propane burning fireplace? Gas and propane fireplaces are easier and more convenient, and can offer you and your guests bright, dancing flames with the simple flick of a switch. Since they lack embers, they are very safe, though they do not offer as much warmth as a wood-burning fireplace. Note: gas and propane fireplaces may have some restrictions regarding their placement in your yard, due to their need to be connected to a gas line or piped to a propane tank. Set up a consultation with us, and we’ll be happy to go over your options with you.
Once you’ve gone through this list and have figured out which fireplace makes sense for you, please visit our showroom and let us know how we can help! If you have any questions, our experienced design consultants are on hand to sit down with you and help you turn your dream fireplace into a reality – just call 416.239.3556 to set up your appointment.