Outdoor Chimineas, Fire Pits and Fireplaces
There is nothing quite like the experience of sitting by a wood-burning bonfire and roasting hot dogs and making s’mores. Most of us don’t have a site that we can use for an open bonfire; however, we can still enjoy a nice fire outdoors by having a chiminea, fire pit or outdoor fireplace.
The traditional design of a chiminea can be traced to Spain and Mexico where they were made from clay and used for heating and cooking. They were typically used indoors in the center of a hut or home, with an opening in the roof to allow smoke to escape. Today, the chiminea is used outdoors, mainly for entertainment purposes. Because of the exposure to elements, clay no longer serves as the material of choice for chimineas, having been replaced with a safer and longer-lasting material such as cast iron or aluminum. They are small enough to fit in almost any backyard and provide a cozy and simple way to enjoy the warmth of a fire.
Fire pits can be simple or elaborate. You can purchase fire pits that are made from metal or stone and resemble shallow bowls or you can purchase a small fire pit as part of an entertainment set. As we look to entertaining more outside, manufacturers have started placing small fire pits into coffee tables and surrounding them with tile to create a simple, portable, multi-use fire pit. The beauty of these small fire pits is you can move them around in your landscape and store them when they are not in use.
A more elaborate and permanent fire pit can be made from stone or brick and built to whatever size or shape you want. Whether you are thinking of building your own fire pit or buying a pre-made one, you will want to make sure to start with a no-burn zone beneath and around the fire pit. Position the fire pit away from furniture, railings or plants that could catch fire. And you will want to install some kind of a flame-resistant surface to hold the fire pit and catch sparks.
As our backyards become more of an extension of our homes, outdoor fireplaces are becoming more common. Having an outdoor fireplace will allow you to take advantage of your backyard year round. It radiates warmth and heat during colder temperatures and is definitely a focal point for your landscape. However, the cost of an outdoor fireplace is definitely something to keep in mind as they can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars for materials and labor. Not all fire pits or fireplaces are wood burning. There are several different brands that can be hooked to gas or use a propane tank, similar to an outdoor grill. If you decide to install an outdoor fireplace, make sure to follow all building codes in your area.
Chimineas, fire pits and fireplaces all have something in common. They create a cozy and warm place to gather with family and friends, for cocktails, meals or just to sit and talk. Create a warm space for yourself and your family this fall and build a fire outdoors!