Picture this: it’s eight o’clock on a summer evening and you’re sitting outside with friends and family, laughing and sharing a glass of wine while the sun sinks down below the mountains. Flames from a softly crackling fireplace dance before you, setting the scene for another easy summer night. Fire is a focal point for drawing people together and making memories. And it’s not just for cozy winters – more often than ever before homeowners are seeking to bring the indoors outside, especially in the summer. Installing an outdoor fire feature elevates your landscape and your evenings. Here are three things to consider before sparking flames this summer.
Design + Placement
What is your taste for the overall look? Small, discrete flames or tall, dancing bonfire? Logs, glass or lava rock? Stand-alone fire feature or more built in fireplace? Accent flames or something to sit around during dinner? Do you prefer a more contemporary linear look or a traditional campfire? Plus, how windy is your patio? These are all things to keep in mind when choosing a design for your outdoor fire feature. You can have virtually any look and feel you desire given enough planning and budget.
Consider the Fuel
Where is your fuel source? The larger the flame, the bigger the gas supply line required. Specifically for fire pits, where the gas line is usually buried under the patio or deck, the size of the line is based on the capacity of the fire feature and the distance from the meter or propane tank. Installing gas and potentially electric supply in an existing patio can be done but it will be disruptive. New construction or remodels where piping locations can be accessed and hidden are less expensive than tearing up pavers or landscaping.
Care and Maintenance
Fire pit features do require some care and maintenance in our environment. Logs and burners left uncovered during snow and rainstorms will fail when water goes through freezing and thawing. Plan to cover up that fire pit – buy a cover and use it! Fireplaces that are more vertical are less likely to fill with water, but any fire feature will be susceptible to freeze damage. Additionally, many outdoor fireplaces are open – there is no glass between you, kids or pets. Most can be supplied with safety screens. Some firepit designs incorporate glass shields that act as wind and safety barriers.