Human beings have been gathering around fire since time immemorial. While it was once an essential means of warmth and cooking fire for our ancient ancestor, fire pits and fireplaces have evolved to become something more for us today.

These days more and more homeowners who are developing new landscaping concepts or who are updating their existing hardscape are interested in adding a fire feature. There are several different options and materials to consider. CM’s design team can walk you through all your various options to find the one that best matches your vision as well as your budget.

Outdoor Fire Pits

In the past, most fire pits were little more than a circle of stones meant to hold a few burning logs. Most towns and counties had general laws regulating how big a fire pit could be. Today, fire pits have taken on several different forms. Exploring your options can help you understand which one is right for your hardscape concepts and entertainment space.

Ornamental braziers often sit on metal tables, some are rated to sit on a deck. However, most apartments and other multifamily housing facilities have rules prohibiting even the safest of ornamental braziers. The advantage of this type of fire feature is that it is often relatively inexpensive and may even be portable enough that you can move it from one location to the next when it’s not lit.

Brick fire pits have become increasingly popular in recent years. CM’s uses fire rated bricks for added safety. Non-fire rated bricks can trap water in their pores. Then when heated by the fire they can crack. Some of these incidents have even caused harm to people sitting around the fire.

Even a basic fire pit that amounts to being little more than a circle of natural stones or a metal ring will still benefit from some hardscape enhancements. These outdoor entertainment areas tend to be places where people and their chairs meet to share conversation and perhaps roast the occasional hot dog.

As time goes by foot traffic, stray embers that escape the fire, and the feet chairs moving around can wear down and even kill the grass. Surrounding a fire pit with a brick, or stone patio helps maintain the areas visual appeal. Even something like a simple fire ring might benefit from some tamped sand or gravel surrounding it.

Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor fireplaces can sometimes share a lot in common with outdoor firepits. Yet there are many variations that really are their own sort of animal. CM’s design team can help you understand your options to choose the one that works best for your outdoor entertainment space.

Ornamental fireplaces tend to be more like visual accent pieces that happen to use fire. While some are electric most run on either propane or a municipal source of natural gas. Some are designed with a pane of glass or a protective grate, and the heat they generate is vented elsewhere. They can be a great way to accent an outdoor entertainment area adding to its ambiance, without the excess maintenance of having to clean up ash and lingering embers.

Wood burning outdoor fireplaces are also very popular. Some people will prefer them over a fire pit made from natural stones, a ring or bricks, or a metal enclosure. The exterior of the fireplace can then be finished in different styles to match the rest of your hardscape features. Things like stucco, stone, an ornate brick veneer, decorative concrete, or even custom laid tile can significantly enhance the fireplace’s external appearance without having any appreciable impact on its functionality.

Wood burning outdoor fireplaces can sometimes have a functional appeal for roasting hot dogs or melting the occasional marshmallow destined for a forced marriage with a piece of chocolate and some graham crackers. Though most of the time they are ornamental fire features that also provide some warmth.

Outdoor ovens are a new class of outdoor fire feature that has started to grow in popularity in recent years. They are often incorporated with some sort of outdoor kitchen arrangement for people who want to do things like grill a wood-fired pizza or bake with high, intense heat. This type of outdoor fire feature is more functional than ornamental. Though the exterior can easily be clad in things like decorative brick, stucco, or tile to ensure that it matches the same visual feel as the rest of the outdoor entertainment space.