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Outdoor Fire Pit or Fireplace

a family is happy with an outdoor fire pit

Incorporating a fire feature into your outdoor living space will provide unbeatable ambiance and enjoyment. While both fireplaces and fire pits add appeal to outdoor living areas, they are actually two completely different structures. They provide uniquely different experiences and vary significantly in cost, size, and required resources. So how are you to decide which is the better fit for your space?

In this post, we will help you determine the right fire feature for your outdoor patio space, as well as walk you through how to budget and plan for the perfect fire feature for your home. Whether your idea of the perfect night is roasting marshmallows with the kids or snuggling fireside with your sweetheart, an outdoor fire feature is sure to bring your entire patio space together.

Outdoor Fire Pit vs. Fireplace

When planning for the addition of a fire feature, the first decision is whether to go with a fire pit or fireplace. To make that decision, we will discuss some important considerations when choosing a fire feature:

Things To Consider When Deciding on a Fire Pit

A fire pit is one of the easiest ways to show people where to congregate in your backyard. It is also a comfortable place to keep warm during the winter while reading, gaming, or looking at your phone. A fire pit makes it easy to get rid of wood and leaves in your yard. It also keeps away mosquitos and wild animals. A fire pit is suitable for you and your guests to gather around it, creating an intimate and interactive experience – think s’mores! You also have the option of building a stone or block wall around the fire pit for additional seating. This situation is especially great for families with children or people who like to entertain and want to spend a lot of time around the fire enjoying each other’s company.

While no chimney is necessary, fire pits can produce a lot of smoke. They are generally installed as a permanent patio feature, and location is very important to ensure that the smoke is directed where you want it to go. Working with a landscape professional to ensure your fire pit is positioned in the right place is a good idea. While a fire pit will provide light, it probably will not light the entire yard. Keep paths and walkways illuminated with landscape lighting.

Fire pits are very easy to use and can fit any look or feel you like to work seamlessly with an existing patio or furniture. They have the added bonus of generally being less expensive than a fireplace. Important things to consider when choosing a fire pit location include the location of your water hookup, proximity to nearby trees, structures, and fences, and whether your home owner’s association allows people to have fire pits.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Fireplace

A fireplace is designed so that you and your guests will primarily sit in front of it instead of around it. This creates a more sophisticated ambiance as well as warmth for anyone sitting out on your patio. A built-in fireplace is a permanent fixture in your backyard living space. An outdoor fireplace is an especially unique addition to any home because – since they can’t be moved – they must be custom-built on location. The materials most commonly used to build outdoor fireplaces include:

  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Plaster

There are many options for fireplace and chimney design, and they can make an elegant architectural statement as well as serve as a focal point in your yard or outdoor space. They can have a small footprint, fitting well into both large and smaller patio designs. Although winter tends to be the busiest time of year for outdoor fireplace enthusiasts, they can be installed year-round. The professionals at Valley Landscaping can help spot minor problems and maintenance issues before they become hazardous or expensive.

The smoke from your outdoor fireplace must be directed up and out of the fireplace through a chimney. However, it can be used even in inclement weather when incorporated into a covered patio design, such as with a pavilion or pergola. Your fireplace can even be designed with a television mounted to it to combine ambiance with entertainment.

Given the design options and the need for ventilation and smoke management, a fireplace tends to be more expensive.

Financial Requirements for an Outdoor Fire Pit or Fireplace

As with any change to the design of your backyard, the cost is an important factor. Fire pits are less expensive than fireplaces. They involve less expensive materials and less structural design and labor costs.

Fireplaces, though, will generally increase the resale value of your home more than a fire pit, though both will add value, as will the patio itself.

Get a Quote

Ready to get moving on building your outdoor fire pit or fireplace? Contact Lalley Landscaping in Catonsville to request a quote.