Outdoor Living Project Guide

Fire Features: Key Considerations for Fire Pits and Fireplaces

In outdoor living, the flame is the ultimate focal point.

Nothing says outdoor living like a nice, inviting fire. Whether you’re spending a quiet evening alone or enjoying a good wine with a great group of friends, a fire lends warmth, light and atmosphere to the enhance the moment. And it also helps you extend the use of your space into the cooler months of the year.

The perfect complement to your outdoor living space, fire features come in many forms. And there’s a style and material to fit every space and budget. Gather around a sturdy stone fire pit, enjoy the functional convenience of a gas-powered fire table, or customize your space with a built-in fireplace that puts the finishing touch on your outdoor décor. Whichever style you choose, be sure to adhere to the following principles regarding fuel source, code compliance and seating. They’ll help to ensure you get the most out of your outdoor fire elements.

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Choosing Your Fuel Source

The best fuel source for your fire will depend not only on the type of feature you choose, but also on your personal preferences. If convenience is important, you may wish to install a natural gas or propane-fueled feature that will allow you to light the flame with the flip of a switch. (Just keep in mind that a gas-fueled feature will require a dedicated gas line.) On the other hand, if you enjoy the authentic crackle and smell of a natural wood-burning fire — as well as the tinkering that comes with it — a wood-burning feature may be the better choice. (In this case, ensure a safe distance from furniture, gas grills and other combustibles.)

Fun Fact

Homeowners are enjoying their outdoor living spaces an extra 60-90 days a year, thanks to outdoor fire pits, heaters and lighting.

Michael Beaudry, Executive Vice President, North American Deck and Railing Association

Ensuring Safety and Code Compliance

Many fire features will need to be installed by a qualified professional. Gas-fueled features, for example, will require permitting and underground piping. And built-in fireplaces will require engineering and proper ventilation. A licensed and insured professional will know what is required in terms of safety, as well as what is required in terms of local government code compliance. Typically, municipalities have rules pertaining to allowable fuel sources, proximity to property structures, and other issues. To ensure compliance, it’s best to consult with a qualified professional or municipal agent before you build or purchase your outdoor fire feature.

Average Costs

Install an Outdoor Fireplace

Install Gas Pipes

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