Make Your Outdoor Fireplace a Backyard Focal Point

Make Your Outdoor Fireplace a Backyard Focal Point

As homeowners across the country spent more and more time at home, they discovered just how much they enjoyed time in their backyards.  Everything from hot tubs and pools to full service outdoor kitchens became popular among homeowners.  In addition to these, a backyard addition that skyrocketed in popularity among homeowners is an outdoor fireplace.  Outdoor fireplaces should not be confused with a fire pit.  Outdoor fireplaces are large structures that will transform your backyard into a luxurious oasis.  

What Material Should You Use?

Every type of fire burning item needs to be heat resistant.  An outdoor fireplace is no exception, which means your fireplace will need to be constructed of either brick, stone, stucco, or concrete.  Brick outdoor fireplaces are most often seen in the New England and Deep South regions.  Most often brick fireplaces are seen alongside homes that have brick architecture.  The most common types of homes that use brick are traditional homes.  The key to adding a brick fireplace is to match the type and color of brick used in the home design.  Brick, while most often seen as a reddish color can also be found in shades ranging from light cream to dark brown.  

Stone veneer outdoor fireplaces are most often seen in upscale luxury homes.  Stone fireplaces exude a natural vibe that is very popular among homeowners who want a serene and relaxing backyard area.  Stone veneer is more textured than other materials and comes in a variety of earthy tones.  Stone options are slate, flagstone, bluestone, and cobblestone. 

Another popular material used in outdoor fireplaces is stucco.  Stucco is common among Spanish, Mediterranean, and Southwestern style homes.  Stucco is very popular as a material for building an outdoor fireplace because of its smooth finish and variety of color options.  Stucco is a plaster-like material that is lower in cost and very durable in almost all climates, making it perfect for an outdoor fireplace.  

A final material option for an outdoor fireplace is concrete.  This material is most often used for modern style fireplaces.  With the clean lines of modern architecture, concrete fireplaces provide homeowners the ability to make their fireplace an architectural masterpiece.  Many modern fireplaces are built into a concrete outdoor wall and function as a two sided fireplace.  Others are poured in place and left in their natural concrete color to mix with the natural environment.  

Outdoor Fireplace Styles

Four prominent outdoor fireplace styles are popular among homeowners.  Traditional fireplaces made of stone or brick are popular among traditional homeowners.  Their style is evident in the firebox opening, manel, and extended hearth.  In the Southwest, outdoor fireplaces are generally made of stucco and resemble an adobe.  There may be splashes of colored ceramic tile as a decorative accent around the firebox and edges of the fireplace.  Modern fireplaces appear just as clean lined and industrial in nature as modern homes.  Their firebox openings are generally rectangular with no embellishment.  They do not narrow or slope inward with a chimney.  Finally, a mediterranean fireplace is very popular in warm climates and high-end home areas.  These structures are generally simple in architecture and embellished with colorful ceramic tiles around the firebox.  

Additional Outdoor Fireplace Features

Your outdoor fireplace is installed and you are ready to invite friends and family to enjoy time around it.  But where will they sit?  Should you create a path to the fireplace or let nature lead the way?  The area around the fireplace is just as important as the fireplace itself.  First focus on the flooring around the fireplace.  These should match the material used to construct the fireplace but can be different in color and design.  Many outdoor fireplaces are surrounded by stone pavers or brick patios.  Concrete is also a popular option that can be poured by professionals and stamped or colored to match the style of the fireplace.  Some homeowners who are interested in making their fireplace area a cohesive sitting area will add a hearth around the area.  A heart is an attached bench that allows people to sit close to the fire.  Generally, a hearth is between 18 and 20 inches high.  The hearth can stretch across the fireplace and extend beyond to create a ring of seating areas.  Once your flooring is in place and the hardscaping around the fireplace is installed you can begin adding seating.  Decide if you are interested in comfortable seating, a dining area, or just a place to roast a few marshmallows.  Furnish the area based on your needs but remember that an outdoor fireplace is for relaxing so ample seating should be available.  Some homeowners install their outdoor fireplace within a short distance of their inground pool, water fountain, or outdoor kitchen to create a fully functional backyard oasis.  

Choosing the material, style, and accessories for your outdoor fireplace can be a bit overwhelming or confusing.  If you are concerned about your outdoor fireplace and the effect that it will have on your home value you should contact your local real estate agent.  When you have your outdoor fireplace installed and your seating area prepared you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a warm evening under the stars.