Concrete Outdoor Fireplace IdeasDesign ideas for enhancing outdoor rooms with fireplaces
Nothing does a better job of anchoring an outdoor living room than an authentic outdoor fireplace. In this article, Garden Artisan Scott Cohen shares design and construction insights from over 20 years of high-end residential experience.
Outdoor Fireplace Design
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Outdoor fireplaces continue to grow in popularity with the outdoor room boom fueling the fire. Magazines and web-publishers frequently post beautiful photos of large stone fireplaces and homeowners are now demanding fire places, not just fire pits in their outdoor living rooms.
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There is a certain romantic ambiance that surrounds an outdoor fireplace. The glow of the flickering flame invites guests to sit down, relax and enjoy life. Properly designed fire features encourage conversation and sooth the soul. Design and installation of these popular features can be lucrative, but be sure to educate yourself on the proper construction techniques beforehand to avoid costly mistakes.
TYPES OF OUTDOOR FIREPLACES & WHAT THEY COST
Kit Masonry Fireplaces
These can be ordered in a variety of firebox sizes. These versatile kits speed construction time and reduce the required skill level of the installation labor. The smoke shelf and flue sizing are all pre-determined so no math is required. Standard structural engineering is available and permits are easier to obtain than custom features. These boxes can be veneered with a variety of stone or brick façades.
Installed prices range from $8,250-$16,850 depending on size and veneer
Available in Southern California from The Green Scene.
Pre-Cast Concrete or Cast Limestone Fireplaces
These are designed primarily as gas burning and not wood burning. While it is often ok to burn small amounts of wood in these features, with the addition of a spark arrestor, most manufacturers advise against it. These features are easy to assemble and because of their portable design, usually do not require permits or structural engineering.
Custom Masonry Fireplaces
These require structural engineering and familiarity with local soils conditions. Some engineers require soils reports before beginning structural calculations. Custom features are built from the ground up, depending heavily on the skills of the installing mason. Firebox size, smoke shelf fabrication, flue sizing and chimney height are all important considerations (see Outdoor Fireplace Design Criteria). These features require 3 times more labor to construct, but can accommodate any weight veneer and allow the versatility to combine with water features, match existing architecture, provide large wind breaks, etc.
Do not discount the required structural engineering, permit process time, multiple inspections, enormous footings, and higher skilled labor costs when preparing your proposal.
Installed costs range from $14,850-$35,850 depending on size, veneer and styling.
Chimineas are all clay open fire garden heaters shaped like oversized vases with an opening in the belly for quaint garden areas and smaller fires.
Prices range from $85-$350 (available from landscape supply stores, or search "chimineas" online).
Outdoor Living Design Ideas