The newest trend nowadays is to take what's inside out – that includes a traditionally indoor fireplace. It may seem odd to think of an indoor hearth outside, but the newest generation of outdoor fireplaces today is exactly that. Outdoor hearths can increase the value of your home, improve your backyard's décor and extend the summer season well into the colder months. It makes it comfortable to sit outside in crisp, fall temperatures or even in the snow if that's your pleasure.
Hearths embody a broad spectrum of outdoor heaters. Smaller designs include:
These can be quite ornate to match any patio décor – few things are more beautiful than dancing flames lighting up cut-out figures on a fire ring or the warm light of a patio heater. Small propane hearths can also be purchased for $200-$600. These are mobile heaters that look like a real log-burning fireplace.
Bigger-scale patio hearths include free-standing or built-in structures that can be erected out of elaborate stonework, colored brick or tile, or extremely strong stainless-steel. These can have unique and intricate designs and provide a warm haven on your patio year-round as well as a conversation piece.
A popular choice for patio heating is a traditional wood-burning fireplace designed with a chimney. All outdoor hearths can come in electric or gas models if you don't want to spend time chopping wood. Typically, the price ranges from $160 to $400 for these models.
Building an Outdoor Fireplace
You don't have to buy a fireplace if you don't want to – you can make your own. Many homeowners have found ways to build unique patio hearths out of raw materials they find or purchase themselves. Outdoor fireplace plans range from simple chimneys to elaborate outdoor kitchens, so you are limited only by your imagination and your building skills. Another option is the do-it-yourself hearth kit, priced at around $6000, which comes with everything you need to assemble a hearth in your backyard. However, the most popular choice remains to contract a manufacturer to install the hearth. This costs most people around $10,000.
You can add a hearth to your outdoor kitchen by purchasing add-ons like rotisseries, baking ovens and grillers. Why not include a charcoal barbecue or a gas grill right into your hearth for a double-duty of grilling and heating?