An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is one of the best spaces to gather all your family and friends. An outdoor fire appliance becomes the focal point of the yard as soon as it's installed. You should make sure the area around your fireplace or fire pit looks as good as the appliance does. It stands to reason that this area should not only look great, but it should also serve a function for your home.
- Friends sitting around a fire pit
From some fresh layout options to decorative plans and accessories, we present realistic ideas in four easy steps to help you create a space enviable to all your neighbors!
STEP 1: Set A Realistic Budget
Creating your backyard wonderland can get costly. There are some expenses you should be aware of before leaping to change your outdoor space. The biggest contributors to budget wipeout are hidden expenses associated with the size of your fire appliance, the size of your outdoor area, the installation location, and any add-on components you decide to purchase.
- Budgeting with a calculator
STEP 2: Select A Layout Design
How you layout your outdoor space is up to you. Do you want a place to eat on those beautiful days or places to cook and enjoy the family, or maybe a relaxing hideaway? Here are a few options to consider.
- Outdoor Living Room - If you want to create an inviting space for all to enjoy, think about a living room layout. Spacious seating, comfortable atmosphere, and it's all made the cozier with an outdoor fireplace. If you set up a TV, that creates even more incentive to enjoy the space, an outdoor living room becomes the place to party for those big games.
- Outdoor Dining Room - Are you one of those people that opt for patio seating at every restaurant? An outdoor dining room layout may be for you. You can set up an outdoor fireplace to keep you warm or get a fire table. With a fire table, you can enjoy the meal and the fire in the same location.
- Outdoor Kitchen - Avid cooks will enjoy an outdoor kitchen layout. Set up a grill, pizza oven, and more. Enjoy the sun on your back as you cook up those family recipes for all to love. Some outdoor fireplaces come with heating racks, versatile enough to cook a plethora of foods. You could even install a sink and have one place to cook, eat, and clean. One note, however, if you are a particularly good cook, expect guests over a lot!
- Campfire - Another popular layout is the campfire. No longer does the campfire have to be relegated to your outdoor adventures away from home. With a fire pit, you can bring the campfire to your outdoor space. Bring the enjoyment of camping at home without having to sleep in a tent!
- Napoleon fire table on a backyard deck with sectional
There are many more ways to layout your outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or fire table. This is a starting point. Think about what you want out of your outdoor space. Do you like relaxing or maybe working out? If so, there are no rules that say you can't set up an outdoor gym with a beautiful outdoor fireplace. You will be hot, but hey, to each his own.
STEP 3: Choose Some Must-Have Accessories
Your outdoor fire appliance, no doubt, has several optional accessories to choose from. We'll give you the low down on some of the most popular accessories and what they can do for your outdoor space.
A fireplace door creates a barrier between the firebox and the outdoors. A door with a proper fit will prevent animals from getting into your outdoor fireplace. With a door, you will not get any surprises flying out at you when you start a fire.
- Fireplace doors
A remote gives you the convenient operation of your fire appliance. Some feature thermostatic control options, and they come in handheld, wall-mounted, or even Bluetooth compatible options. Turn on your fireplace with a touch of a button or flip of a switch and give yourself more time to relax by the fire.
- Fireplace wall switch control
Perfect for those emergency moments is a shut-off switch. Depending on your appliance the shut-off may come as a key, valve, or switch. Quick to install and easy to use, a shut-off switch is the perfect peace of mind should anything go wrong with your outdoor fire appliance.
- Firegear emergency stop key
Being outside means wind. Depending on your area, it could be quite windy, and that could blow out the flame of your fire appliance. Wind deflectors prevent the flame from going out, meaning you get heat when you need it most.
- A windshield on linear gas fire pit
Much like fireplace doors, a protective cover for your fire pit, fire table, or any other outdoor fireplace prevents weather and animal damage. Protective covers lengthen the lifespan of your appliance so they are very much worth the investment.
- Chimenea fireplace and protective cover
Fire glass, log sets, cannonballs, etc. are what constitute decorative media. Media adds flair to your fireplace or fire pit that elevates the overall look of the appliance. Media comes in many colors and many different types. Finding the right media for your appliance can be a difficult task, however, because of all the choices. Do you go with lava rock or fire glass? Maybe lava rock and cannonballs? Or should it be a lava rock base and fire glass on top with the occasional cannonball? There's so much to think about!
- Decorative fire media
Storing your wood and keeping it safe from the elements is essential. You don't want to start a fire with wet, bloated wood that was left by the side of the house. Find yourself a good storage option. Many available storage solutions can keep your wood dry as well as look stylish with the rest of your outdoor aesthetic.
- Wood storage shelf
STEP 3: Don't Forget Your Decorations
If the layout and design of your outdoor space are handled, your next step is making the area look great. Decorating your outdoor fireplace or fire pit is a smart way to add a unique flair to your space.
- Outdoor fireplace with patio furniture
- Light - Adding light around your fireplace or fire pit is inexpensive and easy to do. The number of options you have is exceptional, as well. Put up some string lights to give your space an inviting look. Tiki torches work when you want an island vibe. Outdoor candles are great as well and can work double duty if you get the insect repellent kind.
- TV and Home Media - A media center is an excellent way for your home to become the go-to spot for any big event. A TV is also a great option to decompress after a long day. Sit back, enjoy the outdoors, and watch your favorite show. There's nothing better.
- Outdoor Games - Bringing fun into your outdoor space can keep it lively. Games like Cornhole, Giant Jenga, and Beer Pong bring everyone together and make your home the place to be. When you want to entertain everyone around your fire pit or fireplace, look into the many outdoor games on the market.
- Chairs - This is a no brainer, but to be more specific, we don't mean just any chairs. Find chairs that match the style of your outdoor area. For example, if your fire pit has a round bowl design and black coloring, look for chairs in a similar style and color. The matching aesthetic will elevate the look of your outdoor space.
- Rocks - Yes, rocks. If you want a tribal, camp, and earthy feel to your space, look at rocks. Enclose your fire pit or fireplace with rocks to set your fire apart from the rest of your space and make it a special place. Rocks also include gravel. If you're tired of the upkeep around your fireplace, think about laying out gravel for that rustic aesthetic.
- Pavers or Brick -Placing pavers under your fire pit or fire table is a smart idea to give your space a great look without breaking the bank. You can also lay a brick or paver path to your fireplace that will look great too. Pavers and brick are versatile decorations. You can do so much using these components and really change the way your whole outdoor area looks and feels.
STEP 4: Manage Your Expenses
When it comes to renovation and remodeling, it's easy to get consumed by all the glitz and glam of the process and forget about the most important part - the budget. Many people focus more on the "what's" for the project and don't consider the "who's." But, when it comes to outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, you'll likely need some professional helpers. In this section, we'll cover some of the unconscious expenses that can take a serious toll on the overall cost of your project.
- Contractor installing outdoor equipment
A remote control installation can be relatively easy. Most remotes come with instructions that are simple to follow. But, if you want a wall switch, you may want to think about hiring a professional electrician, depending on how complicated the process can be. For example, if your switch involves an electrical outlet, it's best to hire an electrician to install that.
TV and Media Installation and Protection
This is possible to do on your own, but if you have a tricky situation, a professional should be able to get the job done. Also, you need to make sure your TV and media systems are protected from the elements. That extra protection, as well as installation, may cost you in time and money.
Gas Line Installations
If you do not have a gas line leading to your gas-fueled fireplace, you need to hire a professional to install it. This is not a task to take on yourself. When you run a gas line you get into local codes and regulations that are best handled by a professional. Depending on your situation, this installation could be costly, so keep that in mind.
Other Important Considerations
- Yellow hard hat with safety first label
- Local Codes - If you are in the first steps of creating your outdoor space, one thing you must do is contact your local city planning office. How close your fireplace can be to other structures is determined by zoning regulations. As a general rule of thumb make sure the area you install your appliance doesn't have any low hanging trees and is 15-20 feet away from any combustible structures.
- Privacy - Fireplaces can create a beautiful buffer zone between you and your neighbors. If you're looking for some extra privacy, think about placing the back of your fireplace toward your neighbor. But, remember to try and not block their view of the great outdoors, just your home.
- Wind Direction - Lastly, be sure to take wind direction into account. It's best if your fireplace can act as a windbreak. This way, you have a nice relaxing spot in front of your fireplace. Otherwise, you'll have smoke billowing into your face as you try to decompress after work. That's no fun.
- Outdoor fireplace with wind guard
There you have it, some excellent practical ideas on fireplace layout and decorative choices. Your outdoor space is a blank canvas. Ultimately it's up to you what you do with it. We hope we could help with some initial ideas and help make the road ahead a little easier. If you're just starting your journey into outdoor fireplaces, check out our buyer's guide on the subject. We also have a huge selection of Fire Pits to look through. And if you have questions or concerns, feel free to call any of our NFI Certified specialists at 1-800-203-1642.