The popularity of outdoor living spaces has only grown in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. They make fantastic backyard focal points, increase your home’s value, and allow you to enjoy company while keeping your social distance.
An ideal addition to any outdoor living space is a fireplace. Somewhere to enjoy a crisp fall night under the stars, furnished with comfy seating and made even cozier by the warmth and crackling of burning wood—what’s not to like?
Whether you’re looking for a simple addition to your already-existing patio or planning a sprawling backyard space designed around a hearth, there are several factors to consider before getting started.
When deciding the size of your fireplace, think about the area’s intended purpose. To entertain, a larger design with an extended hearth will provide ample room. If it’s for outdoor family dinners or relaxing with a good book, you can go for something smaller and more compact.
Also, consider the size of your yard. Too large of a fireplace will dominate your backyard, while one that’s too small might look awkward and poorly thought out.
Placement is an important factor, especially if you’re installing a permanent fireplace. Depending on your location, proper drainage to empty excess rainwater or a decorative fence to shield your fire from harsh wind might be necessary.
If you already have other backyard amenities, like an indoor patio or a swimming pool, you can add a fireplace into their design. Arranging an outdoor living space near your garden, for example, gives you the opportunity to incorporate foliage and flowers for a woodsy, fairytale feel.
Wood-burning or gas-burning? Before deciding, look into wood-burning regulations in your area. If you’re concerned about flying sparks, gas is a safe alternative to real fire that doesn’t compromise on atmosphere. There’s no embers, ash, or smoke, which will decrease the cleanup and maintenance time for your fireplace.
However, it’s undeniable: there’s something classic about wood, though it’s important to follow proper safety protocols when operating wood-burning fireplaces.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing the design of your fireplace. For the classic silhouette, a freestanding fireplace or one attached to an outer wall works best, and for something more modern, a fire table creates a focal point to gather around and provides space to set drinks. Fire pits and chimineas provide a rustic vibe, while some fire bowls come with a lid to double as a table when not in use, ideal for outdoor living areas short on space.
In addition, hardscaping can be used to elevate your outdoor living space: a rock-edged path, a patio area to host guests, or a stone wall with built-in seating around your fireplace.