As a San Francisco girl, I sometimes miss hot summer nights. My family and friends love spending time in our garden, but we’re often chased out by the fog rolling in around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We started having “brunch-b-ques” because we’ll frequently have a warm morning and early afternoon that turns cold by traditional barbeque time.
Then we installed a firepit. It absolutely changes the garden experience even in the chilliest garden retreat. Firepits and outdoor fireplaces can be fueled by wood, propane or a natural gas connection from your home. There are pros and cons to each of the alternatives.
If you’re considering wood burning, you may need to make sure it’s allowed in your city and county due to environmental codes. Wood burning firepits can be very affordable – but remember that you have to move a lot of wood. Also be ready for a smoky experience – and the sparks that go with it. Make sure you locate your firepit or fireplace away from structures and low-hanging branches. If you’re considering an outdoor wood-burning fireplace, careful attention must be paid during the design process to ensure proper draw from the chimney and adequate chimney height. While a wood-burning fire is rustic and evocative of campfire getaways, you need to mindful of the time it takes for it to burn. You should also have an ash bin handy.
Check out the wide variety of styles of firepit styles here.
Propane firepits, like many wood burning firepits are handy because they are portable. They’re also easy to turn on and off. Propane is relatively inexpensive, but you do need to make sure to have a spare tank handy. It’s a real bummer when the fire dies before the party! I’ve also found that the heat from a propane firepit never seems as inviting as a natural gas or wood-burning firepit. Designs are improving, but some prefab models aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing.
Natural gas firepits and fireplaces are generally more expensive at the onset than the other options because you have to install a gas line and build a structure to support it. This typically requires a permit for the gas and sometimes the structure if you’re building a fireplace. Once installed, they’re the most convenient and affordable. Because they are stationary, natural gas firepits also provide an opportunity to create a beautiful “outdoor room” in your garden that enriches the space and ties in with the architecture of your home. There is also the constant ease and convenience of being able to turn the fire on and off at will.
Whichever fire element you choose, firepit or fireplace; wood-burning, propane or natural gas, you can be sure that it will add much more time and enjoyment to your outdoor experience.