As the days get shorter and nights get cooler, sitting by a fire outside sounds perfect. What are the latest outdoor fireplace trends? We asked the experts at Bromwell’s to give us an update.
Gas Beats Out Wood
It used to be that outdoor fireplaces and fire pits all burned wood. And, if you live on a lot that gives you easy access to firewood and kindling, wood can be the way to go. Still, today most custom homeowners prefer to fuel their outdoor fireplaces or fire pits with natural gas.
During construction a gas line is run to the fireplace or fire pit, explains Todd Glacken, general manager of Bromwell’s, a centuries-old Cincinnati fireplace retailer. Then, it’s as easy as pushing an “ignite” button to start a fire. And putting it out is just as easy. No worrying about sparks or hot coals that never seem to cool off.
In addition, if you’d like to have a gas grill outdoors the natural gas line can be split and run to two appliances.
Even though gas is one of the top outdoor fireplace trends, if you like the sight, sound and fragrance of a wood fire, you can always choose to go that route in your outdoor living space.
Whatever fuel you choose, an outdoor hearth is a crowd pleaser. “To me it’s the focal point of the outdoor living space,” Glacken says. “Everything is usually designed around that one spot. And I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like an outdoor fireplace.”
Taking the Indoors Out
Bigger selection is one of the hottest outdoor fireplace trends, Glacken says. “Anything you can do inside, you can have outside.” Direct-vent and vent-free fireplaces are now available outdoors, just like those widely used indoors. In fact, if you’re looking for a fireplace you can put anywhere outside, a vent-free unit is perfect. You don’t need a chimney or a place to run a vent, Glacken explains. And the spent gasses produced by combustion can safely dissipate outdoors.
In terms of aesthetics, many of Bromwell’s customers choose to wrap their outdoor fireplaces or fire pits in stone or brick. Often, the outdoor hearth is a place to mix things up: If a home has a traditional looking fireplace inside, the outdoor hearth might have a more contemporary, linear look.
One trendy item that Glacken hasn’t seen take off in Cincinnati is the gas-fueled torch. Whether they’re tiki-style or something more traditional, torches can provide a nice ambiance, he says.
Among the fireplace brands Bromwell’s carries are Town & Country, Mendota, Valor and Enviro. Each of these suppliers offers units that can help extend the season for Cincinnati outdoor living spaces. A hearth can warm up chilly nights in spring or fall.
Planning is not one of the outdoor fireplace trends–in fact, it’s something that never goes out of style. If you’re building a new home, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for your outdoor fireplace or fire pit. At the very least, Glacken says, having gas lines run before patios are complete. Taking that step will make it far easier to install a gas appliance at a later date.