Fire Features: What to Consider before Deciding on a Final Design
When trying to introduce a fire feature into an outdoor living space, a number of issues need to be considered to ensure the end result is exactly what you’re looking for. From personal lifestyle preferences to the intended functionality of the fire feature, think through the following factors before you come to any final decision.
1. Consider Your Lifestyle
There is no blanket answer for what makes an effective fire feature. Rather, it’s what’s going to be most effective for your lifestyle. If you’re an outdoorsy person who loves burning wood, a natural burning fire pit or fireplace is going to make most sense than a gas or even bioethanol option. If you prefer minimal maintenance and convenience, a natural burning fireplace will probably sit unused, but a gas fireplace could be an excellent choice.
Whatever you end up choosing, it must fit with these lifestyle preferences to ensure you get the most value from your feature.
2. Consider the Function of the Fire Feature
Closely linked to lifestyle considerations is how you actually want to use this fire feature. What will its main purpose be?
Do you love to entertain and want this feature for nighttime s’mores? Do you want to cook even more intense meals that will necessitate an incorporated grill or pizza oven?
If the fire’s main purpose is warmth instead, you’ll want a way to trap that heat inside, which means an enclosed area with design considerations for proper ventilation.
If you’re interested mainly in ambiance and aesthetics, gas or bioethanol is a good choice because you have more control over the flame. There also tends to be more design options with these styles, ranging from traditional to modern. The style of a natural burning fireplace, on the other hand, tends to be very traditional. You’ll have to decide the relative importance of these design choices when selecting a fire feature for your home.
Remember, when it comes to fire features and what style or type you select, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution. The project should always be custom to your needs and individualized to your lifestyle.
3. Consider the Location of the Fire Feature
The main inclination of many people when positioning a fire feature is to place it directly in the middle of the outdoor living space. However, professional build and design teams tend to prefer a fire feature to one side. This avoids the feature dominating the entire area. Especially if you’re working with a typically sized deck or patio, a fire pit in the middle will be all that space allows for.
That being said, if you strongly prefer a centered fire feature, there are ways to maximize the space. You can, for example, have a fire feature that has a tabletop conversion.
Also, if the outdoor space is large enough to accommodate several different living spaces (generally about 1,000 square feet or more), you can have one section specifically for the fire feature. In that scenario, it would make sense to add it in the middle.
Generally speaking, though, if you are working within space constraints, try to avoid placing this fixed or heavy structure right in the center of the area.
Don’t forget to also take into consideration your views and surrounding environment. Whether you’re looking out onto mountains, the seaside, a lake, or anything else, you don’t want your fire feature to impede this view. It should never be in the way or detract from the natural setting.
In terms of location, there are also logistics to consider. If it’s a natural burning fireplace, how easy or convenient will it be to get wood to the structure? If your property is quite large, will it be cumbersome to get wood to the fire fit? If you’re on the fourth floor of a city building, is it practical to haul wood to the fire feature?
4. Consider the Cost
When incorporating a fire feature, price will always need to be a consideration. Remember, though, it’s not just the price for the initial install. If you’re putting in a bioethanol or gas unit, you’re paying to burn the gas itself, but you’re also paying for a number of people to be involved in that install: a plumber, an electrician, a county inspector, and so on. Even a natural burning fireplace under a roof will need additional features, such as a flue to manage the smoke.
In this way, the most cost-effective fire feature is an exterior, open-air natural burning fire pit.
Like any other consideration, price will need to play into that final decision.
For more information about which fire feature is right for you and what factors to take into account when making that decision, please feel free to contact a representative of Design Builders, Inc., today!
Images in this article used with permission from EcoSmart Fire