When it comes to choosing an outdoor fireplace, you might be surprised how many different options there are and what’s involved in the process. To help you out, we caught up with Stoke Wellington Director Jason Hague-Smith and found out everything you need to know about choosing and installing an outdoor fireplace.
Hi Jason! What are the key things to consider when it comes to choosing an outdoor fire?
For our customers creating an entertaining area and outdoor experience is usually most important, alongside heat output and looks. Cooking capabilities are often a secondary consideration but one that becomes quite important once they know it’s a possibility!
The size of the fireplace is also important as it needs to suit the space, layout and proportions of the backyard too. If a home has an existing structure or fireplace surround, you’ll need to make sure the fireplace fits into the existing cavity. If you’re installing brand new, the type, size and installation type is completely up to you.
Another important thing to consider is whether the customer wants a wood or gas fireplace. An outdoor wood fireplace generates fantastic heat but requires more preparation and maintenance. A gas fireplace however operates by the touch of a button which makes it a great choice for busy urban families or couples who don’t have much time or room for wood storage.
Can you talk us through the process you go through with a customer when deciding on which outdoor fireplace to choose?
It’s all about listening to our customers to find an option that suits them, their lifestyles, budget and style of their home. We generally always visit the site to get a feel for the space, scale and scope of work involved – from then, the fire choice often becomes obvious.
We often suggest in-built installations as it’s the best way to make a fireplace feel like part of the home and connects the indoors with the out.
What about installing an outdoor fireplace – what’s involved?
Outdoor fireplaces are quite different to install than indoor fireplaces. Because the fireplace is usually installed on a lawn, deck or paved area we firstly need to create a foundation, piles or concrete pads for the fireplace and surrounding structure to sit on (and be attached to).
A builder or bricklayer would then usually build the surrounding structure on this, followed by the firebox and flue.
When it comes to consent, the local council will have their own set of rules and regulations, so it pays to always check with them before any work begins. Consent is not usually required but if the new outdoor space is attached to the home, you will require council consent.
In regards to installation types, in-built is the most popular request as home-owners often want to extend their indoor living area and an outdoor fireplace and entertaining area is a great way to do this.
At Stoke, we project mange the whole process so you don’t need to worry about organising trades and installation yourself.
What trends are you noticing in outdoor fireplaces at the moment?
We’ve noticed the popularity of outdoor fireplaces is steadily rising. More specifically, people are creating sheltered areas in their backyards to provide a warm spot for year-round entertaining. In situations like this, we often look to supplement an outdoor fireplace with an additional heating source such as an electric overhead heater.
In regards to fireplace surrounds, we’ve noticed lots of built-in wood storage and bench seating integrated into the surround design (which is especially popular for homes with small backyards).
What do you think an outdoor fireplace adds to a home?
An outdoor fireplace can add a completely new dimension to a property.
Portions of a backyard that have been underused (or not used at all), can be transformed into a functional outdoor living area suitable for year-round lounging and entertaining. It can also create greater indoor-outdoor flow and provide a seamless transition from the inside living areas to out, making the home feel larger and more spacious than it actually is.
An outdoor fireplace can also increase your property value but most of all, they create ambience and bring people together. People are just generally happier when they’re around a fireplace!
Explore the full range of outdoor wood and gas fireplaces at Stoke.