Having an outdoor fireplace area is like adding another room to your home. There are several key questions to consider that will help you maximize your enjoyment. 1. Do you want your fireplace located in a patio area connected to your home or as part of an open patio area located away from your home? 2. What kind of materials do you see being used for your fireplace? 3. Do you want a hearth as part of the fireplace? If so, how high would you want the hearth and how long? (I have seen hearths that extend out and around the patio area and are used for seating and storage). 4. Do you want a mantle on your fireplace? If so, made out of what type of material? 5. Do you want the fireplace to open on both sides? (If there is a scenic view behind the fireplace and the opening is large enough, being able to see through will enhance the setting). 6. Will you use gas logs or will it be a wood burning fireplace? If wood burning, do you want a gas starter? Do you want an area built into the design to hold firewood? 7. Do you want a TV in the area? 8. With the fireplace being the focal point, how large of an area do you need for patio furniture? 9. Will you need any electric outlets in the area to use when entertaining? (For a margarita machine, a slow cooker filled with chili, etc. 10. What kind of lighting do you want in the area? (waterproof floor lamps, gas lanterns, a lamp post, etc). 11. Will you need a storage area built into the design of the fireplace to hold cushions, entertaining pieces, etc. 12. Will you have large potted plants or flower beds in the area that need a drip system for irrigation? ...Susan Lang
Mistakes to avoid:
*The height of the chimney should be adequate to provide the best air flow to maintain a wood burning fire.
*Consideration should be given whether or not the smoke that will flow from the chimney will bother your home or neighbors.
*Consideration should be given to the direction the sun sets and how it might affect those gathered around the fireplace.
*The depth of the mantle needs to be adequate enough to handle the items you want to place on your mantle.
*If you like to use a decorative string of lights or tiny lights around your umbrella or draped around the fireplace, make sure you have an outlet nearby.
*Be sure to specify that you want a faucet in the area for cleaning.