How to choose an outdoor fireplace for your backyard
by Nicole Martins
Making fires outdoors is not just a primordial instinct. Homeowners have the campfire bug and it just seems to keep growing. With the trend towards creating outdoor living spaces and spending more time outside relaxing or entertaining friends, garden accessories such as an outdoor hearth make the backyard experience that much more enjoyable.
However, it is important before you shop around for an outdoor fireplace that you check with your local city hall or firehouse to learn about all necessary codes and restrictions.
While choosing between the many different outdoor fireplace options may at first seem daunting, there are ways to help make your decision easier. For example, it is good to know that an outdoor hearth can serve not only as a center piece where people enjoy surrounding the fire, but it also has a functional role such as providing a source of outdoor heating when in close enough proximity of the fireís radiating heat.
This is true of both gas and wood burning fires. In addition, features such as an attachable grill grate cooking surface makes it possible to cook outside, another added benefit. Here are some ideas to help you decide what works best for your space.
The easiest to maintain outdoor fireplace
Gas modeled outdoor hearths and fire pits are an excellent choice where a clean burning fire is desired. With gas, either natural or propane, burning more cleanly than wood, you will not have to deal with smoke, sparks, cleaning up ashes or gathering wood logs. Another benefit: you can create an instant fire with the click of a button and enjoy a faux wood fire any time of year.
This is very appealing to many folks, especially where convenience and low maintenance pits and hearths are valued. Some gas outdoor fire pits fueled by propane gas are designed for portability. In fact, there are fire pit models that include rear tires and pull handles so that you can move the pit to the destination of your choice including a summer cabin.
The permanent outdoor fireplace
By far the most permanent outside hearth is the cast iron chiminea. This is an excellent outdoor fireplace choice when a sturdy year round outdoor fireplace presence is desired, such as permanent architecture around the patio or pool area. However, as with metals in general, other than aluminum, iron is prone to rusting over its lifetime but maintaining with special paint from time to time and covering with a chiminea cover will help.
Another choice for permanence includes the cast aluminum chiminea. While not nearly as heavy as cast iron, these outdoor fireplaces will definitely add a sense of year round presence, if desired. One thing to note, metal can get dangerously hot when the fireís burning. Itís best to supervise young children when the fireplace is in use. You can also use your chiminea for grilling and the outdoor fire as a source of heating. (visit http://www.outdoor-fireplaces-and-patio-heaters.com/chiminea.htm)
The designer and focal point outdoor fireplace
If you desire a fireplace that looks like an outdoor art work or furniture when not in use, consider fire pits made from copper or the slick contemporary look of steel. Copper fire pits are very popular. If you prefer the lustrous shine of new copper you can maintain this effect with the right products.
Some copper pits include an area to store wood logs beneath them which is very attractive as well. Another option, but certainly more expensive, are some of the fine furniture looking gas fireplaces such as the Luminarium. You can choose between several different finish options and some of these pieces look as if they belong inside the home.
The easy to transport outdoor fireplace
To make it more accessible for people to take their outdoor fireplace with them: camping, the beach, summer cabin, tail gate parties and so on many outdoor fireplace models, especially fire pits, are designed to be lightweight. They include features such as lids and tires for convenient transport. Another reason to purchase a portable fireplace is that if you prefer to store the unit during winter. You will have no problem tucking a unit such as this inside your home.
The good news is that you will find many lightweight outdoor pits and fireplaces available. Portable outdoor fireplaces may also include features such as gas or wood burning options, grill attachments, spark screens, lids, wheels and can come in many different materials: copper, steel and aluminum.
Nicole Martins is a contributing author and publisher to http://www.outdoor-fireplaces-and-patio-heaters.com, an online resource that provides you with information, articles of interest and reviews of the best outdoor fireplace and patio heaters online.