Build Your Own Outdoor Fireplace – Part 1

You sit in your backyard in a comfortable chair with your feet propped up on the flagstone seating of your own outdoor fireplace. The crackle of the burning wood and the kids trying to obtain the perfect roast on their marshmallows brings you back to your childhood at the campground. The flickering flame produces a warmth not allowing your feet to feel the chill of the evening. This can be a reality if you ever thought about building your very own outdoor fireplace. If you are a handy person and feel like you are capable of building it yourself, you could be enjoying your very own outdoor fireplace soon. Whether you’ve given a fireplace much thought or not, there are lots of decisions to be made. So many things need to be thought of so the following paragraphs will guide you through a few of the things that need to be addressed.

Where in your backyard do you want to construct your fireplace? Before you answer that question with certainty, step back and take a good look at your entire yard. By doing this you may eliminate many areas quickly for fire danger reasons. Think about which way the wind blows most of the time and imagine embers leaving your chimney in that direction. What is in the direct path? The biggest concern will be shrubs, grass, and trees that may be dry in different seasons. You probably don’t want the fireplace to be within 10-15 feet of a mature tree with lots of dry leaves still on it.

Do you have a place that will offer plenty of seating? This fireplace may become the congregation point for parties and you will want enough room for your guests. Search online for outdoor fireplace pictures and you’ll see that most have lots of vacant space in front of them. You may want to make sure there are no utility lines such as electrical, water, gas, irrigation, or sewer buried where you anticipate building. The last thing you want to worry about is having to destroy your fireplace to repair damaged utility lines down the road.

Do you have the tools necessary for building your own fireplace? The right tools will definitely bring a bit of ease to your building project. You will need various tools such as a trowel, buckets, a hose, block cutting tools, a level and it seems the list keeps going. If you don’t own these tools and others not listed above, don’t worry. Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors for the possibility of borrowing them. If you still need some tools afterwards don’t buy the expensive ones as even the cheap tools should survive the fireplace build. Some tools such as block cutting saws can be rented from your local tool rent shop or home improvement as well if they’re needed. They tend to be very expensive to purchase and most people don’t town them because they are specialize tools.

Many neighborhoods around the country as well as local building codes prohibit outdoor fireplaces or they require submitting plans before construction. This has almost become the norm in newer neighborhoods with home owner associations. Many times if your plans and/or sketches show that you have given some thought to the fireplace structure with regard to the final look, to include dimensions and whether it will match the existing décor, the plans will be approved. Home owner associations will look more at the aesthetics of the fireplace and local building codes will deal more with safety concerns such as structure height and the fire within.

If you plan your outdoor fireplace accordingly and don’t rush into it, you will be able to build a beautiful structure that will be the talk to the neighborhood.

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