Up Your Outdoor Entertainment Game with a Unique Outdoor Fire Feature for Your Yard or Patio
There’s no better feeling than sitting outside by the fire on a starry summer night. But if camping isn’t your cup of tea, why not bring that rustic atmosphere home with you by adding an outdoor fireplace to your yard?
Whether you’re looking to amp up your outdoor space and take your summer get-togethers to the next level, or are simply looking for somewhere quiet and peaceful to think and enjoy the evening solo, there are many benefits of having an outdoor fireplace.
How Does an Outdoor Fireplace Work?
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy the fun, relaxation (and smores!) that come with a good old-fashioned bonfire during the summer? For many of us, however, installing a bonfire pit in our yards is not a realistic option for all of us. Sometimes the space is simply too small, or there are bylaws in place that prohibit open fires in our area. That’s where an outdoor fireplace comes in.
Outdoor fireplaces are constructed similarly to their indoor counterparts, and are usually added to a concrete, stone or brick patio. It adds a touch of elegance to our yards, patios and gardens, while also being incredibly functional and easy to install. Plus, the smoke is directed up and out of the chimney – not in you and your loved ones’ faces, so you can say goodbye to scooting your chair around every time the wind changes direction. It usually consists of a firebox and chimney, and can be cleaned and maintained with the same tools you’d use for your indoor fireplace.
However, since it’s outside, you won’t need to clean your outdoor fireplace quite as often as you would if it was indoors. Because chimney draft is not always a concern for an outdoor fireplace, it won’t necessarily need a smoke shelf – although some designs do include one. Outdoor fireplaces are also less expensive to install because they do not require venting, so the installation is quite simple in comparison with an indoor fireplace.
What Are the Benefits of an Outdoor Fireplace?
Great for Entertaining
A fireplace serves many purposes, both as a natural gathering area and a functional space for cooking, just hanging out or even watching TV! Many outdoor fireplace owners choose to mount a TV above it, provided the fireplace is located in a sheltered area safe from the elements. You can also spice up your outdoor fireplace by adding some built-in seating, an outdoor stereo system and other elements that will make your home the place to be this summer.
An outdoor fireplace can also be doubled as a sort of outdoor kitchen – and we all know that, when we’re inside, the kitchen is often the focal point of the home. Why not bring that sense of togetherness outside? Outdoor fireplaces can be outfitted with a variety of cooking features, including a pizza oven or a rotisserie. And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than fire-cooked food.
Adds a Focal Point to Your Patio Area
An outdoor fireplace is sure to provide that extra “wow!” factor to perfectly tie together your patio or outdoor living space. If you think about how the fireplace is often the focal point within the home, it makes sense that an outdoor fireplace would serve the same purpose.
An outdoor fireplace is a great statement piece. It can also help “frame” your space, providing structure for things like furniture and tables. This will add value to your home by as much as 12 per cent, so you can be sure that the return on your investment will be high!
Stay Warm on Cool Summer Nights
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the obvious functional benefits of an outdoor fireplace. Although it can get pretty toasty in Ottawa over the summer, oftentimes the nights are still quite cool. Not only will your outdoor fireplace provide unmatched ambiance, but it also provides warmth so you won’t have to retreat indoors when the sun goes down.
If you have a pool, imagine how comfy you’d be warming up by the fire after an evening swim. Plus, the heat and smoke will keep the bugs away so you can enjoy your outdoor space long into the night.
Types of Outdoor Fireplaces:
Just like with an indoor fireplace, there are a variety of different types of outdoor fireplaces, each with their own pros and cons. The type of outdoor fireplace you decide on will depend on what you want to get out of it, how often you want to use it, price, the level of maintenance you’re willing to perform and more.
Some of the most popular types of outdoor fireplaces are:
Wood burning outdoor fireplaces are still one of the most popular choices among buyers. This is partially because no one can resist the classic ambiance that comes with a crackling wood fire. However, because it’s not connected to a gas line, a wood burning fireplace is also a good choice because it can be installed anywhere on the property. They’re also quite cheap and easy to install.
There is a slight downside – but only if you’re the type of person who is averse to performing maintenance! Wood burning fireplaces can have ash buildup, so they require pretty frequent cleaning in comparison with other types of outdoor fire features. They also require a steady supply of wood to keep them going, although some may argue that this is part of what makes them so charming!
Gas burning fireplaces are also quite popular because they have the convenience factor that wood burning fireplaces lack. Gas fireplaces can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch, and require little cleaning and maintenance. They can also be quite sleek and stylish, and do not take up as much space as a wood burning fireplace. Outdoor gas fireplaces come in a variety of colours and styles, so you’ll have no problem matching it to your décor. Plus, they’re a good long-term investment because you don’t have to spend money on wood to keep it going.
However, gas burning fireplaces can be more expensive to install because they must be connected to your property’s gas line. You will be a little more limited as to where you can place it – the further from your house the gas line will have to run, the more expensive it will be to install. But for those who choose a gas fireplace, the convenience of using it after the installation is complete is definitely worth it.
A freestanding outdoor fireplace (also known as a chiminea) can be a convenient choice because they are portable and require very little installation to get up and running. They come in a variety of styles and are usually wood burning, with a small chimney (or open sides built from metal caging) to vent the smoke. Since they are almost completely enclosed, a freestanding fireplace is one of the safest options for households with pets and small children.
Most freestanding outdoor fireplaces do vent the smoke upward, effectively keeping it out of your guests’ eyes. However, as they are smaller than a traditional wood-burning fireplace, an errant gust of wind can still cause problems. For this reason, the best types of wood to use with a freestanding fireplace are ones that produce less smoke, such as hickory, mesquite, and cedar (although any type can be used).
This is one of the most distinctive types of outdoor fire feature and can be an amazing fit for small spaces. Fire tables are built with both function and aesthetic in mind, providing you with a small fire in the centre that emits plenty of warmth and ambiance while at the same time giving you a surface to set your food, drinks and other items.
Fire tables are usually gas or electric – they are almost never wood-burning. However, some fire tables come with an insert so that they may double as a coal-burning barbecue for cooking.
Much like a gas fireplace, a fire table gives you a variety of style options. They come in many styles and colours to match your décor, and depending on your needs, can range from coffee tables to end tables to dining tables and even to bar tables.
An outdoor fireplace is one of the most sought-after outdoor features among homeowners and buyers today, second only to a swimming pool. If you’ve been looking to revamp your outdoor space by adding a fire feature, there has never been a better time. Extend your unique style to the great outdoors and enjoy the many benefits of an outdoor fireplace!