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Fall’s crisp arrival means sweater weather and lots of cozy cuddles by the fire — both inside and out. Outdoor fireplaces may not get as much attention when it comes to hanging stockings for jolly old delivery men, but these architectural features can really enhance an exterior space. Plus, they can extend a homeowner’s design aesthetic into the backyard, offering another space to host friends and family.
As the temperatures drop and social distancing remains constant, an outdoor fireplace creates the perfect ambiance to safely socialize with family, friends and neighbors. Complement the area with stylish outdoor furniture for an alfresco dinner, add a cornhole set and twinkle lights for a laid-back game night, or just lounge with a bottle of wine to appreciate mild Southern winters.
This outdoor space in Nashville, designed by Page | Duke Landscape Architects, offers a gorgeous juxtaposition of nature with fire and water. The warmth of the outdoor fireplace beautifully complements the cool water feature. Image: Reed Brown Photography
“The allure of gathering around a fire with friends and family goes back as far as time and fire itself,” says Andrew Harris, manager at paver manufacturer Belgard. “An outdoor fireplace is the natural destination for brisk fall evenings to roast a marshmallow or share a toast with friends.”
Outdoor fireplaces have year-round appeal because they serve as focal points for any landscape, whether or not a fire is roaring within. Like water features, outdoor fireplaces create a pleasing spot for the eye and a way to enhance a space beyond colorful foliage and clever use of green space.
String lights are a wonderful way to enhance the romance of an outdoor fireplace and living space, like this space created by Page | Duke Landscape Architects. The multiple seating offers options for an intimate setting or one that celebrates a party vibe. Image: Reed Brown Photography
A daytime view of the same Nashville home shows how versatile outdoor fireplaces can be. Image: Reed Brown Photography
Both gas- and wood-powered outdoor fireplaces add a dynamic level of style and more entertaining space, regardless of the surrounding home’s size. That’s why if you are short on space under the roof, an outdoor fireplace is a great way to transform potentially unused square footage into a welcoming destination for guests.
Though outdoor fireplace prices range greatly (based on customization level, materials, installation, etc.), they make a good investment for our region of the country. In the South, fire features have the added benefit of longer seasons because we don’t get the extreme cold temperatures that homeowners in the North and Midwest must contend with; therefore, outdoor fireplaces can be used well into winter.
There are many ways to make an outdoor fireplace the standout feature of any backyard or patio. The easiest way to attack this design space is to add comfortable, durable outdoor furniture that can withstand Mother Nature and complement the connecting home’s design aesthetic. Lots of pillows and cozy chairs that can move closer to the fire are always a great way to start, and adding clever accessories and lovely outdoor fabrics can set the mood and entice those likely to hang out. Delineate this crowd-happy space by using patterned tiles or an outdoor rug to make the outdoor fireplace the backyard showstopper.
For those who have a tough homeowner’s association, strict city ordinances, a small, non-existent outdoor space, a tight budget, or just don’t want the commitment, firepits are also easy ways to add a crackling fire feature with a lot of charm.
“Fire’s allure is almost primal as we subconsciously gather around its warmth and light,” says Andrew.
Outdoor fireplaces can exude luxe and classic beauty, like this Nashville space designed by Page | Duke, with careful attention to finishes and details. Image: Reed Brown Photography
These fireplaces inspire us to make the most of our outdoor living spaces. We hope they inspire you as well!