Fireplaces have existed in homes of all sizes and types for thousands of years and are an ingrained symbol of intimacy, warmth, and domestic tranquility. Few symbols in human consciousness convey such warm and comforting connotations as do fireplaces. Now, with outdoor fireplace design, you can bring one of the most treasured amenities of classic home interiors into the realm of outdoor living.
Outdoor fireplace design actually offers more aesthetic variety than its indoor equivalent. This is due to the absence of a large, primary wall surrounding the firebox and chimney. A fireplace that is built outside normally is often not part of a wall of any real size—if at all.
The firebox and chimney rise up from the ground into the night sky as unique and highly distinguishable architectural elements. Chimneys do not have to be straight for this reason. They can take any number of geometric forms that feature gentle, inwardly sweeping arcs that converge to create forms of elegant perspective.
This is not to say that all outside fireplaces are stand alone landscape elements. On the contrary, outdoor fireplace design is a major component of a number of hardscape designs. With the increasing popularity of outdoor rooms such as entertainment rooms and outdoor kitchens, a fireplace is a common center point for the back wall of the structure.
Again, however, such a wall is normally very different from the wall inside a house. The wall of a house must support the roof and adjoining walls. Outdoor rooms are almost always open-air structures that do not mandate the same structural support demands that houses require.
As a result, the rear wall of a summer kitchen living room area can actually be built around the aesthetic of the outdoor fireplace design. This makes an outdoor fireplace appear much more prominent than an indoor equivalent that was forced into the mold a rigid, linear indoor structure.
This gives the landscape architect a tremendous creative freedom that enables him or her to match the aesthetic of the firebox and chimney to the exterior architecture of the home and compliment the geometry of softscape elements.
Other hardscapes that often rely upon outdoor fireplace design to add an extra touch of elegance and ambiance are courtyards and entry gardens. Both of these areas often use a lighted fountain as a central focal point of design.
However, many of our clients prefer the look and warmth of a fireplace instead. This adds a vertical dimension to patio design that often helps complete the sense of enclosure established by low-level architectural walls and ground cover plant species.
Such patio-fireplace constructs again offer wide latitude for creative freedom so long as a few principles are followed. The architecture of the home must always be respected in both form and size. We do not want a chimney that is taller than the house or a firebox that completely eclipses the entirety of the house.
We also want to make certain that regardless of whether or not we use brick, stone, or decorative concrete that we remain consistent with other hardscape materials used to build surrounding patios and structures. Certain elements complement one another very well, while other elements cannot be used with certain residential architectural designs or landscape design themes.
One more thing to consider when deciding on whether or not to have your professional landscaping company include outdoor fireplace design in your master landscaping plan is the fact that you do not have to use fire itself to have a fireplace outside.
Just as many indoor fireplaces rely upon artificial logs and simulated fire to create the ambience and warmth of a wood-burning hearth, so too can outdoor fireplaces be constructed in such a way that they emulate burning wood with the use of special lighting fixtures that cause the firebox to glow during the warmer months of the year.
Most clients will remove these lights during the winter time and burn wood on the hearth when it is actually cold outside, then install them again in the springtime to enjoy the ambience and atmosphere of a fireside gathering for the majority of the warm Houston year.