When it’s time to add a fire feature to your outdoor living space, Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake is ready to assist you. Each year, we have designed and built more outdoor fireplaces and fire pits than the year before. With our design experience and technical expertise, we are the right partner to help you add the fire feature that will best meet your needs.
Location: Where Will You Place Your Outdoor Fireplace?
When designing an outdoor fireplace for your Northeast Dallas or Southlake home, your first consideration is context. Where will it “go”? At the most basic end of the spectrum is a stand-alone fireplace on an open patio. Most of our fireplace projects, however, are part of a complete “outdoor room,” usually a covered porch or patio with a fireplace as focal point.
Many of our clients want to add a fireplace in combination with a new outdoor kitchen. These two elements work well together as part of a covered, multi-functional outdoor space for entertaining, cooking, dining, relaxing and watching TV.
Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake won an Archadeck Design Excellence Award for this covered patio featuring an outdoor fireplace and an outdoor kitchen with bar seating. Read more about this project: Poolside Cabana Completes This Ultimate Backyard Getaway Spot in Heath, TX.
If you have a pool, the ideal location for your fireplace and outdoor kitchen might be poolside!
We replaced this Dallas homeowner’s pool house with a covered pergola, outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen combination. Read more about this project: Dallas Outdoor Living Oasis Goes Iced Platinum Thanks To Archadeck Of Northeast Dallas-Southlake!
While most of the outdoor fireplaces we’ve built were designed to stand at one end or side of a porch or patio, we can get creative! We have designed some fireplaces to stand in a corner and face the patio or porch interior at an angle. There is no one “right” way to design an outdoor living space around a fireplace. At Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake, our design goal is to meet your needs for the custom outdoor space you want.
Outdoor Fireplace Design Options: Shape and Size
Your fireplace opening can be square, rectangular or arched. The fireplace pictured below has three full arched openings, one for the fire itself and one on each side for storage of wood. Some designs incorporate a semi-arch with vertical sides instead of a full arch over the opening.
When we talk about fireplace size, you may think at first about the width of the fireplace surround, the opening and the hearth. But what about height? When we design a wood-burning fireplace for a covered patio, we have to follow certain specifications known as the 10-2 rule. A wood-burning fireplace must be 10 feet away from anything combustible, and its height must rise above the ridge of the roof by 2 feet. If the roofline of your covered patio reaches 14 feet, then the chimney must be 16 feet tall. A gas-burning fireplace does not have to meet these codes, which is one reason most of our clients choose gas over wood.
More Fireplace Design Options: Materials
One of the primary design considerations for an outdoor fireplace is materials. The first word that comes to mind is stone, and you have plenty of options for specific types of manufactured stone and natural stone. Most fireplaces come in a chopped stone design. There are many colors to select from.
We help clients select fireplace materials that work in harmony with the space as a whole, especially the floor. In the poolside project pictured above, we created the fireplace surround in white stucco to complement the new patio floor of Platinum Ice Travertine. Additional hardscapes in the space, including the outdoor kitchen, are brick painted a pale shade of gray to match the brickwork on the client’s home.
If you decide to have a mantel on your outdoor fireplace, the next question is what material do you want to use for the mantel? A popular choice in our area, for a rustic, woodsy look, is cedar. Often, a cedar mantel is stained to match other cedar elements in the space such as posts and beams. However, we frequently build mantels using Lueders limestone with a beautiful, smooth surface.
Will your outdoor fireplace have a hearth? Like mantels, hearths are optional. We build most of our outdoor fireplace hearths with Lueders stone tops. It comes in several colors, and its incredibly smooth surface makes it the perfect topper for other hardscapes like seating walls and outdoor kitchen counters.
Outdoor Fireplace Amenities
At Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake, we can integrate custom amenities into our outdoor fireplaces. Outdoor kitchens are quite popular in larger projects featuring an outdoor fireplace. A mantel and space for a TV mount above it are the design features our clients request most often. A mantel for a wood-burning fireplace is usually installed 10-12" above the fireplace opening. Other amenities include fireboxes, adjoining retaining walls, and seating walls. We can build the firebox with masonry materials or we can use a prefabricated metal firebox.
If you haven’t thought of retaining walls or seating walls as amenities/components in outdoor fireplace design, we have several examples below.
Here we used Granbury chopped stone to build the fireplace and we used the same stone to extend seating walls from each side of it. Read more about this project: This Rockwall, TX, Covered Patio and Seating Wall — Celebration Central — Is Just the Beginning
The white stucco fireplace shown here also incorporates seating walls that extend out from each side of the fireplace. The base of the fireplace, beneath the raised hearth, is brick, and that brick construction extends in both directions as bench seating. It also continues around the corner as the base of the client’s outdoor kitchen.
Here an outdoor kitchen flanks the fireplace on both sides, built with the same Granbury chopped stone.
Read more about this project: This Dallas Backyard Serves as a Blank Canvas for Outdoor Entertaining Artistry!
When your outdoor fireplace is one component of a larger project – typically a cabana, pavilion or covered porch – the space usually features additional amenities. Outdoor lighting, ceiling fans, and space heaters are popular amenities in these settings.
Are you wondering why a space that features a fireplace would need additional heaters? A fireplace will not produce enough heat to keep an outdoor room comfortable in cooler weather! A fireplace is a powerful design element that provides ambiance and determines the “feel” of an outdoor room, and that is its primary purpose. Of course, the usefulness of an outdoor fireplace for warmth is relative to the occasion and time of year. Here are two examples. If you are hosting a party outside on the porch or covered patio in October, in 55-degree weather, a fireplace can help keep everyone warm. On the other hand, if you have just a few people and it’s 25 degrees outside, the heat from an outdoor fireplace will not be sufficient. We recommend other options for reliably heating the space, including infrared heaters and space heaters.
Fire Pits are Great Fun!
If your goal is to gather a small group around a fire to cook s’mores, you may prefer a fire pit. The cost of a fire pit is about 75% less than an outdoor fireplace. While a fire pit will generate more heat than a fireplace, most of our clients who choose a fire pit do so for social purposes. Fire pits are fun! It’s easier to gather around a fire pit because the entire circumference is accessible.
Don’t assume all fire pits are round, though. This 5-foot rectangular fire pit proves otherwise! Our Sunnyvale TX clients revamped their outdoor living space and replaced a round fire pit with this rectangular one. In terms of materials, most of our fire pit customers go with a chopped stone base and Lueders stone top surface like you see here. Read more about this project: Sunnyvale TX Outdoor Kitchen and Fire Pit: Where Function Meets Fun
Are you interested in adding an outdoor living space with a fireplace or fire pit at your home? Archadeck of Northeast Dallas-Southlake would love to work with you! Contact us today to schedule your design consultation.
Agustin & Amanda Garza, Owners of Archadeck of NE Dallas-Southlake.