More than nearly any other outdoor feature I can think of, a fireplace (or fire pit or bowl) instantly makes the yard the place where everyone wants to be. It easily becomes the focal point of a space, drawing friends and family together around its warm glow. Whether your ideal vision includes kids roasting marshmallows over a rustic wood fire pit, or relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening in front of a beautiful gas fireplace, there is sure to be a just-right fire feature for you.
Dreaming of adding an outdoor fireplace to your yard? Here are 10 key things to consider so you can start transforming your dreams into plans.
Boost resale value. If you are considering selling your home at some point, an outdoor fireplace can be a boon at sale time. Accented with comfy outdoor living room furniture, it will help potential buyers easily imagine themselves there.
A fireplace for every budget. As far as budget goes, know that a gas fireplace tends to cost more than a wood-burning one, and the farther from the house you must run the gas line, the more expensive it will likely be.
A custom built-in fireplace will cost more than a prefab or freestanding model. Custom gas fire pits can be just as costly as fireplaces, though wood-burning fire pits and bowls can be found for as little as a few hundred dollars.
Consider, but don't be limited by, your home's architecture. The fire pit shown here has a sleek, modern look yet fits in beautifully with the traditional home, thanks to the bluestone on the fire pit surround.
If you are having trouble envisioning how a certain fireplace would look with your home, start building a mood board or Houzz ideabook with your favorite styles. Then take a picture of your house and play around until you find a pairing you love.
Brush up on fire safety. Whether you are building your own fire pit, or hiring pros to install a custom version, it is important to know how to make your outdoor fireplace safe for all. For starters, a fireproof flooring or ground cover (cement, gravel) is a must.
Also be sure to keep a wide area around the fireplace or pit cleared of plantings, fencing and even the siding of your house — anything that could potentially cause a fire to spread. And be sure to check local fire safety codes before starting your project.