When we talk about outdoor fireplaces, we’re talking about large, built-in structures. Nothing portable, and no chimineas. When designed and installed properly, an outdoor fireplace will last for years to come. It will also help enhance your outdoor living space well into the winter months.
It is best to leave the design and installation of your outdoor fireplace to the professionals. From choosing the right location, laying the foundation, ensuring proper ventilation, and installation, there are a lot of factors to consider. An experienced outdoor fireplace contractor will know how to do everything properly. They will not have to refer to a YouTube video or even call a manufacturer.
An outdoor wood-burning fireplace isn’t safe if it is not constructed properly. If you want an outdoor gas fireplace or propane fireplace, it’s especially important to hire professionals experienced with running gas lines.
Let’s go over some of the practical considerations of getting an outdoor fireplace installed.
Check with Your Local Jurisdiction and HOA Before Installation
Check with your county and city boards as well as your homeowner’s association (HOA) if you have one to make sure you are allowed to build an outdoor fireplace. They may require permits, or have restrictions on chimney height, etc. The last thing you want to do is build a fireplace that’s not up to code or in violation of HOA rules – either of those could force you to tear it down.
And if your area frequently has burn bans in place, you may want to consider a gas-burning fireplace rather than a wood-burning one.
Choose a Location
Obviously, your patio fireplace will be on the patio. But that might mean extending your patio to get the fireplace far enough away from your house. Building codes require your fireplace to be at least 10’ away from your home or combustible materials.
In addition, it’s a good idea to have the back of the fireplace, or at least the side, face the direction of prevailing winds. This can help reduce smoke from a wood-burning fireplace. If your fireplace will be in a partially enclosed outdoor living area such as a pavilion, you will need to ensure there is proper ventilation.
Choose an Outdoor Fireplace Contractor
When you decide to hire someone, skip the handyman listings. You want to hire an outdoor fireplace contractor who has installed many fireplaces and can give you references. Ask to see their portfolio if it’s not online, and contact some of those references.
You want to make sure your fireplace not only looks good but operates safely. Ask the references how satisfied they are with the contractor(s) you are considering. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few, get estimates and choose who to work with.
Choose a Design that Meets Your Aesthetics and Needs
You probably already know what you want your fireplace to look like – how big you want it, and what design and features you want. Most of our clients want a fireplace finished with stone from the same color palette as their patio. Whether you get an outdoor stone fireplace, brick fireplace, or fireplace with a stone façade depends on your tastes and budget.
Google “outdoor fireplace” and check out the images for inspiration. A reputable outdoor fireplace installation team will be able to take your ideas and turn them into reality.
You should also give consideration to what you will use your fireplace for. Will you use it to cook? Toast marshmallows? Or will it be mainly used as a heat source? Your answers to these questions will help determine what size opening you need.
Once your outdoor fireplace is installed, you’ll find yourself spending more time out on your patio in the fall (and even winter) than you thought possible. The warmth of a fire is conducive to outdoor entertaining year-round.
Be sure to follow basic safety precautions – keep pets and children away from the fireplace, and keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
Make It Exceptional. Make It Woodfield.
If the idea of curling up in front of an outdoor fireplace is appealing to you, we can help. We offer outdoor fireplace installation to homeowners throughout the Baltimore area, including Baltimore City and county, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County, and Howard County.
We can design and build a custom fireplace, or use one of the many kits available from suppliers such as E.P. Henry and others, which can be customized with a cast stone wall face shell. To set up a consultation, fill out the contact form, or call us at 443-299-6500.