Secrets to creating the perfect fireplace


How lovely it is to sit outside on an early spring or fall evening, the breeze blowing softly, the sun setting slowly and the fire crackling in the fire pit below, providing just enough heat to warm up the seasonal chill? The picture painted here is loveliest because of that warm, inviting fire, and without it, the ambience created on these pleasant, cool evenings wouldn’t be the same.

The indoor/outdoor lifestyle is one we celebrate here in Arizona, so a beautiful outdoor fireplace that fits exactly into your backyard’s decor is well worth the investment. Today, outdoor fireplaces or pits no longer have to be the messy, thrown together arrangements of the past. The types of fireplaces available today are endless, as well as are the design schemes that surround them. Clear a spot in your backyard and take a look below at the ideas you can now incorporate into the architecture of your home.

Fire Glass: From building the pit to buying wood, replenishing the wood as fires burn and keeping the hands of little ones away from the heat, maintaining a traditional firepit takes time and energy. For those of us tired of the same procedures, fire glass is a great option. Fire glass is tempered glass designed for natural or propane gas fire pits and fireplaces that can get to high temperatures without melting, burning or creating fumes, smoke or ash. Replacing logs, fire glass can be a pretty blue, almost appearing like water underneath the flames, though you can opt for other colors like clear, gold or copper, too. It is an aesthetic choice as well as a practical one, and the glass is tumbled to remove sharp edges. However, when installing fire glass fireplaces, remember which type of gas you choose to use so you can get the correct burner pan.

Chiminea fireplaces: Chiminea styles are rustic, great for the outdoors and natural-appearing in many shapes and sizes. They are heavy, but portable, and can be adjusted to accommodate the amount of seating areas surrounding them. Chiminea fireplaces are usually larger than small bowl-type firepits that can be installed on top of a table, so they can provide more heat for larger spaces. Chiminea fireplaces need cleaning on the outside as well as inside, but fit well into more rustic and traditional, Mexican-inspired settings.

Two-sided fireplaces: Two-sided fireplaces are perfect for the entertainer. They provide warmth on seating areas facing each side, and can create conversation in the middle of a backyard as opposed to somewhere near the edge of the yard or house. Spanish-style two-sided fireplaces are made of stucco and brick and fit pleasantly into a large outdoor area, extending the feel and look of warmth and gathering and also creating a focal point for other decor.

Sand: In this instance, sand firepits refers to sand inside the firepit, not around it. Sand fires are somewhat different than fire glass, usually in color, texture and size. There are different types of sand that create a flat look similar to the fire glass in that the fire appears to be floating off of the texture. Some sands are even designed to turn flames blue. This sand comes in different colors like black, white or green, and creates a very ethereal fireplace perfect for conversation, late night gatherings and romantic evenings.

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