The backyard entertainment of summer is ushered out as cooler winds coming off Lake Erie. But what if you could extend the use of your outdoor real estate? What if the falling leaves and threat of lake effect snow meant more reason to be outdoors?
Fireplaces and fire pits offer this possibility to your Northeast Ohio backyard.
Imagine sharing a glass of wine with friends around a new fire feature. Roasting marshmallows over a fire pit on cool fall evenings after an Avon Eagles football game. Or, enjoying hot cocoa near your outdoor fireplace upon returning from ice skating and sledding at Northgate Park.
But how do you choose the right feature for you? Answer these questions to get started.
In general, fireplaces require more space than fire pits. At the small end of the scale, these features stand three-feet wide by two-feet deep by four-feet wide. Include a mantle, hearth, storage areas and seating and you might be looking at 15-feet wide by four feet deep by 150-feet tall. Fire pits range from three-feet to six-feet wide.
While fireplaces take up more space, they tend to seat fewer people, approximately one to four guests. Fire pits offer 360 degrees of heat which raise guest numbers to five or more. For these reasons, fireplaces create more intimate, even romantic moods. The open nature of the fire pit and its welcome to more guests encourage livelier, larger gatherings.
The low profile of a fire pit makes lighting the flame and enjoying it difficult if the winds whip around your backyard. Fireplaces, on the other hand, enclose flames and offer a windbreak for guests. This also lends to less flying sparks and smoke directed away from guests which is not true of the fire pit.
The low-lying nature of the fire pit means less privacy. If this is important to you, choose a fireplace. With its heft and chimney, this feature creates privacy for you and your guests. On the other hand, at 12 to 20 inches tall, the fire pit lets scenery take center stage. If you have a breathtaking woods or lake view from your patio, deck or yard, a fireplace interrupts your enjoyment of it.
Fire features extend backyard entertaining into the fall. And, when the temperatures warm next spring and summer, your outdoor fire pit or fireplace amps up the ambiance for neighborhood and family gatherings.