It’s easy to enjoy a beautiful outdoor area during the long, hazy days of summer, but how can you continue make the most of your garden once the nights start to draw in?
One answer could be to add a stylish outdoor fireplace. By keeping your family and guests alike cosy and adding an outdoor focal point for entertaining, they can be a distinctive way to bring the social heart of your home outside. They’re surprisingly versatile in design and function, and could even add value to your property.
A beautiful garden is an asset to any home, but if you create a distinct social space within it, it’s almost like adding a new room to your home. So the first step in adding an outdoor fireplace is to select your spot with care.
Terraces or patios are often a sound choice because they’re close to the house, which means flat foundations already in place and some shelter from the elements. If you go further into the garden, make sure your spot has no roofing or tree limbs overhead. The centre of the lawn can be ideal, allowing you to create a visual as well as social focal point, and giving you the room to shape a defined space.
When deciding on a fireplace, there are several main aspects to consider:
Fuel: Wood and coal burners will need a chimney to channel smoke away, while gas burners will need a space incorporated to protect and conceal their fuel.
Material: Stone or brick fireplaces are sturdy and hard-wearing, gain a characterful patina over the years and require little maintenance. Metal is versatile, mobile, easier to install and can come in designs ranging from rustic to modern, but will need protecting over winter.
Design: Fireplaces don’t need to be the mirror image of their indoor counterpart. If you’re keen on hosting dinner parties, you might consider a pizza oven for hearth-baked delights. To help add light and warmth to large events, think about choosing an open design.
You don’t have to limit yourself to a sturdy backyard fireplace, however. If you have a balcony or rooftop garden, you might opt for a small, stainless-steel fire pit that runs on natural gas. They’re clean, odourless and rarely need fresh fuel. With the right choice, you’ll be able to enjoy winter barbecues on the terrace too.
Meanwhile, more rustic properties with larger gardens will benefit from traditional or open fires. Chimineas, for example, are perfect for providing a focal point in open spaces. Guests can gather round to toast marshmallows or simply enjoy the smell of burning aromatic woods like cherry or eucalyptus.
Although the best outdoor fireplaces speak for themselves, it’s the details that create a truly special social environment. Outdoor features like wooden decking, directional lighting and furnishings with matched textiles can all create a sense of space and add value, both experiential and financial.
Many landscaping projects now involve upgrading entertainment systems so that music, video and charge points can all extend into outdoor areas. With these changes, your parties can extend seamlessly into your freshly firelit space.