A fireplace or firepit of the past was all about performance, providing warmth, a cooking surface and at times security. Modern designs are influenced more with aesthetics and ambiance in mind. No matter what the function or design, the flickering fire light has the ability to slow brain activity which calms and mesmerize observers.
Fireplace inspiration comes at any time or place.
Look far, dream big and be unique.
There are many styles of outdoor fireplaces/firepits with a variety of shapes and finishes. Are you looking for the intimate setting and quiet conversations or are you hoping for a conversation piece that draws people and everything else to it. The decision has to be yours so that you have that perfect place.
Stone fireplaces with tall chimneys or a large firepits with integrated seating tend to cause large, noisy and fun gatherings while a Chiminea or small fire pit is more intimate and for smaller groups.
Design at times can correct challenges like protection from wind, privacy or separation with another living space. Do you want 360 degree enjoyment in a campfire setting or heat focused to 180 degrees as offered by a fireplace.
Collect images, design ideas and start to imagine the fireplace/firepit of your dreams. Visualizing where it will sit, how you will use it will help your dream take shape. You can do this easily with quinju.com home improvement project software, it is a free online home remodeling service that can help you stay on top of your renovation plans and execution!
Firepit success is proportionate to knowledge, details and know how.
Even if you are planning to hire a contractor, understand knowledge is power so do your homework and know what to expect.
11 Questions to determine the look of your fireplace or firepit.
Permanent or temporary?
There are many options and budgets for each.
What are you trying to achieve aesthetically?
If you live on a lake, a large fireplace may obstruct the view while a firepit will allow you to keep the view while enjoying a wonderful fire. Perhaps there is an old garden shed that you want to hide, a large fireplace with a tall chimney will help with that.
Is there need to create separation in your outdoor living space?
Outdoor living spaces now have multiple rooms and often need some form of divider.
Will the fire be part of another outdoor element like a kitchen, garden or water feature?
How will a firepit or fireplace blend with other outdoor living space? If you have an existing outdoor living, like a deck or outdoor kitchen, how will construction of a fireplace impact that?
What is your budget?
This should be your ground zero. Keep your dream in check by understanding and tracking your budget from the start.
How is the access to planned site?
Building a fireplace can require excavation and foundations below the frost line, heavy building materials and a longer construction time. Make sure you know how your plan will come together.
What are the restrictions and requirements in your area?
Check with your local building department for restrictions or requirements for each style.
What type of material can be used for the Surface?
Bricks, stone, stucco or concrete and any other non-combustible materials surrounding steel, concrete or CMU’s (concrete masonry units).
What are the seating arrangement options?
Integrated to the fireplace or circling the firepit, seat walls can provide high occupancy seating. Soft throw pillows or cushions can add color and comfort. Large comfortable chairs are perfect for long intimate conversations.
What is the appropriate Size?
Consider the scale of the fireplace or firepit with the other surroundings.
What are the options for Fuel Source?
Gas, wood. Each have their benefits. Gas is easier to maintain but comes with a cost of fuel and lacking authenticity. Wood can often be purchased relatively cheap however there is substantially more work in acquiring, starting and cleaning a wood fired fireplace. The concretenetwork.com offers a comprehensive online resource for independent, authoritative information about concrete construction and in turn outdoor fireplaces or firepits.
Wood burning, design to control smoke
The 10-1 Fireplace rule
For every 10 square inches of a fireplace opening, there needs to be 1 sq. inch of flue size. The ratio ensures that the velocity of air moving up the chimney is sufficient enough to drag smoke up rather than out the front.
2/10 Chimney height rule
The top of the chimney should be 2’ higher than the chimney to roof horizontal measurement of 10’. The concept of draft can apply to stand alone fireplaces with tall objects like trees or buildings.
Raise Fireplace logs
Raising your logs will help oxygen flow from below increase heat pulling more smoke up chimney. Design a fire rack to raise wood but keep large opening.
Depth of pit
Deeper firepits will limit oxygen flow resulting in inefficient burning causing smoke. Build pits up not down to provide a good flow of oxygen from below the flame.
Stop fighting the smoke monster, use screens to control wind, screens also provide privacy and add to design.
Chimney down drafts
Decorative rain caps help to divert the wind from blowing straight down the chimney.
Now Just Enjoy, Share and Show it…
Let your friends in on your fireplace design choices or milestones of project. Motivate and Inspire by showing and sharing! Let us know about your projects and we will share on quinju.com! Here’s a great one from one of our readers which in fact motivated us to write this article!
– Michael from Cambridge, ON
The evolution of an outdoor fire at our house.
We have been in our house for going on 20 years now, the large private yard in an old part of town has offered a place for outdoor fires, even if not quite permitted! Many nights we sat with friends around our old stone firepit on flimsy lawn chairs talking about absolutely everything. When we renovated our entire back yard a few years back I knew a fireplace of some sort had to be part of it.
“What to do with that pile of stones!” An earlier renovation left me with a huge pile of large stones, taking them to the dump would cost too much, I couldn’t bury them so needed to find something to use them in….a fireplace! My year and a half labor of love is likely one of my highlight additions to our property. We are often found by friends and family sitting by our outdoor fireplace every Friday night. Our daughters have had many friends join them in the cool night air talking, laughing or playing guitar. I love watching them stare at the fire rather than their smart phones. My monument has built more memories than I ever would have imagined!