7 Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas For Every Budget
Outdoor fireplaces are an increasingly common backyard feature for the modern day homeowner. They are a great way to extend your backyard season into fall and even winter! Whether you decide on a traditional wood-burning fireplace or a propane- or gas-fueled fireplace, all three options provide warmth and beauty. Fireplaces can grace any backyard space, regardless of your backyard dimensions. From the grandiose, custom structures that command attention and space, to smaller or portable designs like chimeneas or fire bowls, you simply can’t go wrong.
Outdoor Fireplaces Design 101
Before jumping in feet first, there are a couple things you need to know before you put an outdoor fireplace in your yard. We call these the three Ps of outdoor fireplace design: proper planning, purpose, and picking a style.
Always, always, always check with your county to understand the local building codes in your area. Not building according to local-mandated codes may end up being a costly mistake, as the city requires you to tear out what you’ve done and rebuild to code. In addition to knowing building codes for your area, a good rule of thumb is to place your outdoor fireplace (whether built in or freestanding) at least 10 feet from your house or any other flammable structures (like a wooden deck), including trees or bushes.
Before deciding what style you prefer, spend time thinking about whether or not your outdoor fireplace will be built-in or a portable element of your backyard space. Your budget will drive some of this decision making, but it’s worth mentioning that permanent, custom installations will require more extensive construction and will be more expensive than a freestanding fireplace. Consider whether you want your fireplace to be a focal point of your yard where people will gather. Will you use it to cook, or will it be a background element that will provide beauty, ambiance, and a bit of warmth?
Pick A Style
Design-wise, your options are virtually unlimited. For fuel-source, you’re tied to electric, gas, or wood. There are pros and cons in terms of cost, maintenance, and convenience to all fuel sources, so pick the one that best suits your goals.
When it comes to picking materials, you can have your pick of stone, stucco, tile, concrete, metal, or brick. This is your chance to make a design statement or create a strong focus point in your backyard landscape design, so take full advantage of your styling options. This is also where working with a professional can be extremely helpful. It’s often been said that two heads are better than one, and a well-seasoned professional in the field will be able to add his expertise, know-how, and design exposure to inspire and direct your vision.
7 Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas For Every Budget
It’s never a bad idea to implement an outdoor fireplace, regardless of how big or small your yard might be. We’ve completed our fair share of outdoor fireplaces, and we love to show what is possible in a variety of outdoor spaces.
This homeowner spared no expense in this well-heeled backyard, and we love how the fireplace brings this outdoor living room alive with its sleek design, low profile, and modest flame. Substituting a standalone fireplace where a coffee table would normally reside suits this spot perfectly.
Although not exactly built-in, this fireplace is considered a permanent structure that is at the same time practical and luxurious. Who wouldn’t like to sit by a warm fire after an early evening dip? And although substantial in size, it doesn’t overwhelm the space. It also does a great job of creating an “outdoor room,” so to speak, where different groupings of people can congregate comfortably. You might have some swimming, some in lawn chairs, and others gathered around the fireplace. Even if you have a large gathering, with this set-up, it’s still possible to have distinct spaces that allow for intimacy among crowds.
Tucked away in this private little corner, we love how this standalone fireplace can feel like your own personal bit of heaven. Intimate and cozy, out of the way nooks and crannies are great places to incorporate stand alone fireplaces for small groups.
If you need to think a bit out of the box, this unconventional firepit is easy on the wallet, but still packs a great punch when it comes to ease of maintenance and use of an easy-going backyard vibe. We love the circle shape and the fact that it’s flush with the surrounding ground. Its casual elegance is perfect for late night ghost stories around the fire or marshmallow roasting with all the cousins.
Surrounded by built-in seating, this fireplace takes center stage. Its sturdy shape and black frame lend weight and a flair of drama to spice up this modern backyard. The high walls surrounding the fireplace lend it a sense of seclusion and privacy, while its generous size will allow for great heat transmission despite the large area.
The lush greenery and winding path gives this backyard a mystical vibe. These twin fire pits act more like beacons than a traditional sit-down outdoor living room. It’s always a great idea to incorporate light or fire into outdoor spaces, even if the light source is not going to be a main part of the design. Fire pits function extremely well even as background design elements. It’s the perfect touch to this magical backyard oasis.
This fireplace has all the right angles and falls right in line with the modern lines and design aesthetic of this backyard space. Built to encourage gathering and lingering, this fireplace is substantial and elegant. In this space, shape, form, and function all work together seamlessly.
DIY Outdoor Fireplaces vs Professional Fireplace Installation
We’re not ones to say you can’t tackle an outdoor fireplace on your own. You may find a project of this sort to be just what the doctor ordered. But as with most things in life, there are trade-offs. If you’re waffling back and forth between doing it yourself or hiring a professional, here are a few things to consider.
Getting It Right The First Time
You may have some sound experience, but chances are, you can’t outmatch the experience of most professionals. And while this may sound really good, decision fatigue can get to even the most seasoned DIY. You might also make some rookie mistakes, as with any new project, you don’t know what you don’t know. You might also miss a step or two in the process, or not be able to find good contractors for those parts of the project that you don’t feel quite comfortable doing on your own (think bringing in a gas line, or hooking up electrical). But on the flip side, you get total ownership. Even if this isn’t your first outdoor fireplace installation, a professional will always have more experience. Having a professional on board will help you understand the local codes, permits, and inspections you must follow. They can help you avoid costly mistakes and could possibly find ways to save you money along the way.
Time Is Money
We can almost guarantee that this project is going to take you longer than you think it will. As they say, time is money. Even if you save money, when you factor in your time, the scale might start to tip towards your chosen professional’s direction. Everyone is different, so you will need to decide for yourself how much your time is worth to you.
The Buck Stops With You
One positive aspect of DIY fireplaces is that you have complete control and responsibility over the project. The drawback? You have complete control and responsibility over the project. When you’re the boss, there’s no guarantees on labor or work completed. If you save money on the front end by installing a fireplace yourself, and something breaks, it can potentially cost more to fix it than it originally did to install. Also, as much talent as you might have, a professional’s work will often eclipse the craftsmanship of a newbie DIYer. Professionals have spent many hours honing skills and talents–this will definitely be apparent after the product is finished. If having a polished, finished product is important to you, we recommend going with a professional you can trust. They’ll have years of experience to fall back on and a broad portfolio to showcase their work so you know the exact quality and service you will be getting. No mysteries there.
Big Rock Landscaping: Your Outdoor Fireplace Experts
Finding a professional you can trust can be a tall order. We understand that challenge, and our team at Big Rock Landscaping takes pride in making our clients our number one priority. With this in mind, we provide an incomparable level of white glove customer service to each client that we are privileged enough to work with.
Adding an outdoor fire feature is the ultimate in entertaining. Whether you are interested in designing an outdoor fireplace or you are looking for a backyard fire pit, or even a tabletop fire feature, Big Rock Landscaping can assess your outdoor area and work closely with you to design the fire feature of your dreams.
Don’t let the fun end when the sun goes down! Let us help you expand the function of your backyard to include an outdoor fire pit that is just right for your space and your budget.
Leave a Reply