What You Should Know Before Installing an Outdoor Fireplace
Whether you are considering an outdoor fireplace for your commercial location or your home, Landscape Solutions & Design Inc. can help. We have decades of experience with landscape design, including hardscapes and features such as fireplaces. Fire features are a good option for many families and businesses, but they aren’t for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before installing a fireplace, as well as alternatives you should consider.
Outdoor Fireplace Benefits for Homeowners
As a homeowner, you’ll receive several benefits from having an outdoor fire feature such as a fireplace. Here are just a few:
- Increase the Usability of your Outdoor Living Space – with a fireplace, you have a focal point to make your patio or deck more enjoyable. Keep in mind that it will also give off heat, making your deck, patio or backyard usable longer during the year.
- A Cozy Atmosphere – we love the ambiance created by a fireplace and you will too! It will turn your deck or patio into a gathering place for your friends and family.
- Roast Some Marshmallows (And More!) – a modern outdoor fireplace can be the backbone of your outdoor kitchen. You can grill and roast foods if you choose one that’s big enough. Even a small burning fire is a great place to make s’mores with your family.
- Add Value to Your Home – most home improvements are going to add value to your home. However, an outdoor living space is one of the top ways to increase the value. A fireplace can make your home easier to sell for a higher price. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home anytime soon, a higher assessed value means that you will qualify for more if you ever want a home equity loan or line of credit.
- Bug Repellent – If you choose a wood-burning fireplace, you can say goodbye to mosquitoes and other bugs. It’s a natural repellent without the use of harsh chemicals.
Most homeowners get a fireplace for the aesthetics, but there are so many other good reasons to install a fireplace! Remember, outdoor fireplaces come in a very wide range of styles. Our team here at Landscape Solutions & Design Inc. can help you find the best design for your backyard.
How Businesses can Benefit from Outdoor Fireplaces
Outdoor fireplaces aren’t just for homes. There are several benefits for businesses as well. Fire features work well for businesses such as restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, event spaces, and any other commercial location that wants a gorgeous outdoor focal point.
If you create an outdoor deck, patio, or pavilion with a fire feature, you’ll extend the number of customers you can serve at one time. Outdoor fireplaces also mean you can use this seating area longer, both on cool evenings and into the fall and winter, since it provides a heat source.
One of the best benefits that some businesses don’t realize is that outdoor features can really help your brand stand out. Not every homeowner has the space or budget for their own fireplace. So, they’ll come to you for that cozy experience with their family.
Also, during this period of Covid restrictions on restaurant capacity, having an outdoor area attracts many more patrons. They will feel safer outdoors than inside, and a heat source makes outside dining possible for most of the year.
Some Fireplace Disadvantages
Before you install a fireplace on your deck or patio, we want to be upfront about some of the disadvantages. Instead of a fireplace, you may want to choose a different type of fire feature.
First, fireplaces are big. You need a large outdoor space in order to have a fireplace, although it does depend on the type you choose. Because they are so big, they can also be more expensive than some of the alternatives we’re going to mention.
Fireplaces can also block your view due to the large chimney. The ambiance is nice, especially at night. However, if you really love watching the sunset from your deck or looking at the landscape from your patio, a fireplace might get in the way. Our experienced design team can help you determine the best location to minimize the obstruction.
Keep in mind that it will also at least partially block the view to your own back yard. So, if you like to keep an eye on your kids or pets from the window, a fireplace might not be the best option.
As you can see, there aren’t really many disadvantages to a fireplace in your outdoor area. Whether you choose a wood-burning or another type of fireplace, it is going to make your outdoor area into an oasis. However, if a fireplace isn’t the right option for you, we have some great alternatives that may better suit your needs.
Alternatives to Fireplaces
The good news is that there are many alternatives if you want a smaller, less expensive alternative to a traditional fireplace!
You can start by considering a chimenea. Chimeneas are a type of fireplace, but smaller and with a different look. Most are clay, but they are also available in cast iron or aluminum. Chimeneas are free-standing and you can use them for traditional cooking as well as creating a warm, inviting ambiance.
You may also consider a fire pit. Wood-burning fire pits are common and inexpensive, but do have some disadvantages. Namely, you have to always ensure you have enough wood on hand, and you have to be careful of flying embers and sparks. A gas fire pit is a little more expensive upfront, but they are generally safer and less expensive to run than propane options. Fire pits give you the feeling of a fireplace, but without obstructing your view. You can also consider a fire bowl, which is like a fire pit, but self-contained and mobile. If you like to reconfigure your outdoor seating often, a fire bowl is a great choice.
Fire tables and fire columns are also options to consider, especially if you have a smaller deck or patio. Unlike an outdoor wood-burning fireplace or gas fireplace, fire tables and columns are typically compact and give off less heat.
Types of Outdoor Fireplaces
If you’d like to install a fireplace, your first step is to determine what fuel type you want. Our team has experience installing all types of fireplaces. Your outdoor setting, personal design preference, and budget will all help you determine the best fuel type for you.
When you think of these fire features, the first vision that comes to mind is probably a large wood-burning one, made from stone or brick. A wood fireplace is a traditional option. They are easy to install and give you that warmth so many people love. However, with wood, you do have to do more upkeep. You’ll also need a screen or guard to ensure there are no flying sparks or embers. Although the chimney should funnel most of the smoke up and away from your backyard, a wood burning fireplace dose have an undeniable smoky smell.
Your second option is gas. Many modern outdoor fireplace options are gas, because they can have a sleeker look. With gas, you don’t necessarily need a chimney, depending on the setup. However, you can still have a brick or stone chimney if you love the look. A gas fireplace does require us to install a gas line, so the upfront cost is a bit higher. Gas as a fuel source is the cheapest option, though, so over time the gas line pays for itself. A gas fireplace will not be as hot as a wood fireplace, which is an advantage in the summer, but a disadvantage heading into fall and winter.
Your fireplace can also be propane. With propane, you get a cleaner fuel source, but the fireplace will still get hot as with a wood burning fireplace. It’s more expensive than gas, but you don’t have the clean-up work you have with wood. It’s a good middle ground for some people.
The last fireplace fuel option is gel. This is a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the disadvantages of other types of outdoor fireplaces. Gel is basically a bio-ethanol fuel, which won’t produce smoke or ash. You don’t need a gas line either, nor do you need an electric hook-up. Gel is the lightweight, easy option, but of course it comes at a price. It’s more expensive than other fuel sources, especially if you want a big fireplace.
Location is Everything – Placing Your Outdoor Fire Feature
When it comes to installing any fire feature, location is everything. We can help you design your outdoor space with the perfectly-located fireplace. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Wind can be a drag, especially for a wood fireplace or fire pit. We can help you configure the fireplace so wind isn’t a huge problem every time you want to relax outside in front of a fire.
Speaking of relaxing in front of a fire, you’ll need to consider seating. The design of most fireplaces allows mainly for seating facing one side of the structure. However, some are open to three sides and others are more like a pass-through so you could have seating on opposite sides. Fire pits, bowls, tables, and columns are better if you want seating on all sides or in a circle.
The perfect placement also takes your neighbors into consideration. You can use your fireplace to create a bit of privacy by placing the back toward a neighboring property. We can use additional landscaping features to give you even more privacy, if you desire.
Of course, as mentioned previously, you want to make sure that your new fireplace doesn’t obstruct your view. When you work with our team, we don’t just build a fireplace and call it a day. We look at the entire landscape to ensure that this new feature will work perfectly to enhance your view. Our design team can help you choose between all the fire feature ideas that might work for you.
Why You Should Hire a Professional to Install Your Fireplace
You may have seen some companies selling fireplace kits. We want to caution you against these DIY kits, unless you have prior fireplace installation experience. There’s a lot that can go wrong, and whenever fire is part of the process, your safety is at risk. If you’re installing a permanent fireplace, hire a professional team like Landscape Solutions.
Remember, in some cases, hiring a professional may be a requirement. Many cities and counties require that a professional must install any gas line. You may also need a license or permit to install a fireplace. We know exactly what paperwork you need in different locations through the Triad and beyond. We’ll handle the hard part for you!
Landscaping to Complement Your Fireplace
In addition to fireplaces and fire features, we also install other landscaping features. This includes:
We can bring your landscape design ideas to life or help you build a new design from scratch. Our team also does maintenance for all seasons including mowing, raking, tree trimming, planting, fertilizing, and even snow removal. We’re you’re one-stop landscape and lawn care company. Remember that your property requires year-round maintenance. There are tasks that are important during each season, in order to keep your landscape looking attractive. Curb appeal is important for both homes and businesses. The outside appearance of your property creates the first impression that visitors have of you or your company.
If you’re ready to begin any outdoor living space project, click the button above to request a free consultation and quote. Or, just give us a call at 336-442-0160.