From the glow of dancing flames to its signature snap and sizzle, there’s nothing quite like a fire to add warmth to special moments. So when planning your outdoor living space, get fired up! Choosing a fire feature for your deck, porch or patio will elevate the look and create and focal point for fun and relaxation. Choose a deck with fireplace, a porch with fire bowl or a patio with firepit — there are options for every taste, budget and style. Let’s take a look!
Choosing Gas or Wood
Your first order of business is deciding whether you want your fire feature to be gas- or wood-burning. Our advice: Think about how you will use it. For example, if you like roasting marshmallows, wood is the only way to go! But there are other factors like budget, space, convenience and personal preference to consider.
Generally speaking for similarly sized units, wood-burning units are more affordable to install because you don’t need to worry about gas lines. That also tends to make them faster projects to complete. If you don’t already have access to propane or natural gas at your home that can be hooked into, time and costs for installing a gas unit go up even more. A professional can also advise whether a pellet or gel fuel fire feature could be right for you.
Space-wise, such a wide range of options are available you can easily find or design a fire feature to fit your square footage and layout — like for a deck with fireplace or patio with firepit. Keep in mind gas fire features tend to take up less space than wood, because of the size of the firebox needed to burn wood. The more heat you want from your fire, the larger it will need to be, regardless which fuel source you choose. And lastly, placement-related safety restrictions may make one better than the other in your space.
Don’t forget about planning space for your fuel source, too. If you choose wood for your deck with fireplace, you’ll need a spot nearby to store the wood and keep it dry — but not too close to your home, because of the risk of termites. If you go with gas and need to install a propane tank, you’ll have to accommodate a safely distanced space for that as well.
Finally, from a lifestyle perspective, wood and gas are completely different. Wood does not burn clean. Wood fires make ash and smoke, and your firebox area will require regular clean-up. Wood fires also take more effort to start and to keep burning. But on the plus side, there’s really nothing like their natural look, sound and even smell. If you prefer a clean-burning, low-maintenance, easy-peasy option with a controlled flame, gas simply can’t be beat — just flip a switch or press a button and you have fire! Which sounds more like you?
Designing Your Fire Feature
Seeking advice from a professional is always recommended when you’re designing any fire feature for your deck, porch or patio — primarily because they’re in-the-know about safety. Whether it’s proper ventilation, safe placement or the skinny on codes and permits, a pro knows best and can give you the right advice.
That said, there are tons of cool design options to compliment your personal style and heat up your outdoor living area with a fire feature:
• Placement: situate your fire feature at a corner, along a side, or right in the middle of your space, or create a stand-alone area in your yard where the fire takes center stage
• Material: brick, metal and stone are popular for firepits, while fireplaces can be faced with brick, stone, tile, plaster, shiplap, marble and more
• Roofing: your fire feature can be placed in a fully or partially covered area, or a spot with nothing but sky above — to choose the best fire feature for your space, do your safety homework or, better yet, let a pro be your guide
• Height: fireplaces and firepits can be raised, floated or wall-mounted to improve the view, or can be sunk-in to create more privacy
• Permanence: if built-in isn’t part of your plan, try a freestanding unit
• Hearth: for a fireplace, go traditional with a raised hearth that can also serve as seating, try a low-profile slab hearth, or go with no hearth at all, so long as safety is not an issue
• Mantel: match your mantel to your style, or opt to go without
Selecting Your Fire Feature
Select a fire feature that fits your space, your style and how you want to use your outdoor living area. Make it your own! Design a deck with fireplace and create an inviting spot for making new memories. Put a firepit off your patio for late-night gatherings. Or think outside the firebox with another fire feature that fits you to a T.
Here’s a list of fire features to think about:
- Traditional fireplace
- Wall-mounted fireplace
- Floating fireplace
- Kiva fireplace
- Two- or three-sided fireplace
- Fire table
- Fire column
- Fire urn
- Fire bowl
- Fire fountain
Are you ready to get fired up? Choosing a fire feature for your deck, porch or patio will set the tone for your outdoor lifestyle and create a unique area to enjoy everything from family fun to quiet moments.
At Archadeck, count on our design experts to help you customize your deck, porch or patio to your lifestyle and budget and create an outdoor living area that’s uniquely you. Our local owners use only premium products and trained, licensed contractors, and are backed by Archadeck’s exacting standards, professional code of conduct and three decades of proven experience as North America’s largest deck, porch and patio builder. Contact your local Archadeck today to get started.