Outdoor Fireplace Plans

Extend Your Home’s Living Area by Bringing it Outdoors with an Outdoor Fireplace

By Mark J. Donovan

An outdoor fireplace is a wonderful way to enjoy your home’s backyard on a cool fall evening. In its most rudimentary form an outdoor fireplace can simply be a fire pit. All that’s required is to dig a hole, and build up the sides of it with stones to dress it up a bit and contain the fire. Other fireplace plans, however, can be much more complex and consist of masonry and steel.

Large outdoor fireplaces are often an extensive focal point in the backyard. Thus it is important when planning a large outdoor fireplace to look around to see what’s out there for options and to carefully consider the overall size and location of it in your backyard.

Building an outdoor fireplace can be fairly expensive, particularly when you’re thinking big. Masonry labor rates are not cheap and masonry stone can be quite expensive. Also, you need to keep in mind that a large masonry outdoor fireplace plan means nearly a permanent feature of your backyard. So again, consider wisely when developing your outdoor fireplace plans.

Besides the size of the outdoor fireplace, the next most important aspect of your fireplace is where to locate it in your backyard. Ideally you want it located so that it is not a safety hazard to your home or your neighbors. On the other hand you want it located where you can easily use it. Often people plan outdoor fireplaces near their pools or waterfront, if they are so fortunate to have one of these luxuries. They are also frequently located near patios and decks. Your best bet is to talk to your local building code officer and fire chief to see what the legal requirements are for locating and operating an outdoor fireplace to help in your decision process.

Another important aspect of planning the location of your outdoor fireplace is how it will sit in relationship to your house, and will the outdoor fireplace plans actually complement your home. As part of this, consider the type of materials used in your outdoor fireplace plans and make sure they complement your home’s exterior décor.
Fuel selection is another key element in your outdoor fireplace plans. A wood fireplace is cheaper to operate but much less convenient to use than a gas fired fireplace.

Also, a wood fireplace will require a chimney of sufficient dimensions to ensure a good draft to allow a fire to burn nicely. A gas outdoor fireplace, on the other hand, requires venting. So depending upon what fuel you choose to use, consider the look of the chimney, or the lack of one, in your outdoor fireplace plans.

Material selection is another key element in your outdoor fireplace plans. Most outdoor fireplaces are constructed out of masonry brick or stone and include cast iron or an aluminum alloy in the interior of it. Visit a local masonry store to get some ideas on what type of building materials are right for your outdoor fireplace plans.

Also, be sure to check out magazines and brochures from the masonry store, and online, to see various types of outdoor fireplace designs. Often plans can be purchased from these magazines or online locations.

After coming up with a solid outdoor fireplace plan you can then begin construction. If planned properly you should be able to achieve the beauty and functionality of the outdoor fireplace you initially envisioned.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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