Perhaps we want to get in touch with our inner caveman or maybe it’s the memories from summer camp and toasting marshmallows that we so dearly want to hold onto – whatever the reasons we are drawn to fire like moths are drawn to a flame.
When it comes to your backyard there’s nothing more inviting and charming as a built-in fire pit or fireplace. You’ll find that when you entertain, your guests will naturally gravitate toward the fire almost immediately. Ambience created by fire creates a safe haven for intimate conversation or storytelling. And, after dinner, drinks and cigars are much more pleasurable sitting around the glowing amber.
Fireplaces built for the outdoors can be built on your patio against your home or can be built as a stand-alone, allowing for a separate cozy vignette anywhere in your yard. Typical materials used in the construction of outdoor fireplaces are pretty much the same as indoor fireplaces (e.g., brick or stone).
Besides planning where you want your fireplace to go, what type of material to use, and the design, you also need to consider whether you want your fireplace plumbed for gas for quick and easy fires. Many people enjoy good old fashion fires that you start with kindling and real logs – that’s great as long as you don’t live in an area where wood burning fireplaces are banned or have seasonal limitations.
Another great option that’s available is designing your fireplace with a grill or rotisserie that you can cook on. Check out www.SpitJack.com
If you’re on a tight budget you can still enjoy a great outdoor fire with a portable fireplace. One great benefit of portables is that you can move them around quite easily allowing you to enjoy a fire in various locations in your yard. Common materials used in portable fireplaces are aluminum, cast iron, copper, and steel.
Another option is the chiminea, a Mexican outdoor fireplace made of terra cotta, ceramic, or metal. It’s recommended that you buy a chiminea with a spark arrestor (screen) to prevent burning embers from escaping and causing a fire where you don’t want one.
Best choice for a chiminea is one that has been kiln dried as the air dried versions tend to crack easily from the hot heat of the fire. Go one step further and get one that has also been painted and sealed as these tend to be more durable. You can find chimineas fitted for use with propane or natural gas and they can be converted to wood (and back to gas again) for dual purpose use.
Check this website out for more information on the chiminea fireplace: http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/clay_chiminea_use
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