There’s nothing like gathering by an outdoor fireplace and warming up with family and friends on a chilly evening. Many homeowners are opting to include a fireplace in their outdoor living spaces for that very reason—but finding one to match the home’s decor and the homeowner’s personal style can be a challenge. Here are tips to finding the right fireplace to match modern styled outdoor living areas in York, PA.
Understanding Modern Style
Modern style is characterized by simplicity: clean lines, lack of ornate accents and decorations, and, sometimes, industrial materials. Unlike traditional outdoor fireplaces, there is often no sloping or narrowing at the chimney, resulting in a cube-like or monolithic look. The firebox is typically rectangular or square. Some modern fireplaces don’t have a mantel and if they do, it is often minimal in keeping with the fireplace’s overall simplicity—or it makes a bold statement with oversized reclaimed timbers, steel, stone slabs, or concrete. Color schemes tend to be monochromatic or utilize no more than two contrasting or complementary colors.
(Image Source - Unilock)
Choosing the Right Outdoor Fireplace
When choosing your outdoor fireplace, there are many things to consider that will influence your choices.
Fuel type: While many people love the crackle and smell of a wood fire, many are turning to natural gas or propane as a way to enjoy a fire without the mess, the expense of buying firewood, and the potential fire hazard. Gas fireplaces also allow you to add visual interest with the use of colored stones, and you can quickly adjust the flames at the touch of a button. Gas fireplaces are also usually more affordable since they don’t require special heat-resistant fireboxes and chimneys.
Uses: Will your fireplace be a stand-alone feature on the patio? Will it be adjacent to an outdoor kitchen or grill area? A double-sided fireplace is a wonderful way to define spaces while letting people enjoy a fire from two distinct living spaces.
Style: Unless the fireplace and home are being built at the same time, it may be difficult to build a fireplace that uses or perfectly matches the home’s materials. And that’s okay! The inherent simplicity of modern designs lets you create a strong statement that makes the fireplace its own entity—its own focal point—rather than trying to create a little mini-version of the home.
Materials: If you are aiming to re-create the look of an outdoor fireplace that looks weathered and soot-stained over time, then choose lighter-colored materials (like poured concrete or concrete blocks) or materials that oxidize (like iron). If there is a preference to keep the fireplace looking pristine through the years, be sure to choose a material that can be sealed. It should be scrubbed often to remove stubborn soot marks.
Because of the versatility of modern design—essentially, rules are out the window and there is flexibility in the final aesthetic (especially with gas fireplaces)—you can be creative. A tour of modern fireplace designs in magazines and landscaping sites will yield fireplaces that feature open “chimneys” (essentially a chute, often in a contrasting color to the face material); angular shapes such as triangles; or even a fire ring placed up against a steel or masonry wall, which over time becomes charred and stained for a well-used look. One very popular look involves a stone veneer of very thin (1-3”) stones stacked in such a way as to create texture (as opposed to a flat brick face that was popular in years past). This is a good way to incorporate local stone into a landscape, and make the fireplace you build fit in like it’s been there forever.