IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS

Baby It’s Cold Outside… In Some Places, Outdoor Fireplace Time

DIY outdoor fireplace snow pima trees
Gotta dig a path to enjoy a fire!

Hey all you DIYer’s, are you looking forward to Christmas and the colder temps?  We sure are down here in Arizona.  We know we’re a bit spoiled though with the highs in the 60s still.  So much of the country is getting blanketed in snow and ice already, which makes us cringe at the thought of power losses and snow shoveling.  We came from that sort of weather so we know what some of you are experiencing.  You’ll get through it though, we’re confident of that.  Enter the DIY outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen possibility.  These are great Christmas ideas.

Douglas DIY outdoor fireplace snow pine patio backyard
Is this snow blanket going to keep the fireplace warm?

Your Christmas Ideas Wish List?

Christmas and the season of giving always brings about the challenges of traffic, shopping, and figuring out what to tell your loved ones to buy for you.  This year, when you sit on Santa’s lap at the mall, tell him you want to build your own DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen.  He’ll know what to do.

Pima DIY outdoor fireplace fire christmas decorate wreath vase
What a warm feeling we get from this fireplace. Crackling fire and warm toes.

Santa will go online and he’ll visit www.backyardflare.com for great outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen design ideas.  He’ll pick out the perfect design for your backyard and he’ll surprise you with your very own DIY construction plan.  You’ll be able to get started on your backyard renovation.

Douglas DIY outdoor fireplace fire Adirondack log wreath patio backyard
Anyone care for a blanket and a beverage?

If you are not planning on sitting on Santa’s lap, just tell that special someone in your life that you want a DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen in your backyard.  Tell them about Backyard Flare and that they are the only place to go for DIY construction plans.  What a gift for someone you love or to yourself for that matter!  Christmas ideas are everywhere but most don’t last a lifetime like an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen will.

DIY outdoor fireplace fire wreath christmas light flower vase candle
How welcoming is this fireplace? They are so pretty when they are decorated for the holidays.

Call Us

And did we say that you can always call and talk to Dan from Backyard Flare for FREE?  Yep, he loves to talk “masonry” and “backyards”.  He spends time each day talking with homeowners about design ideas for their outdoor space, and he helps them manage their masonry fears.

Thanks for making Backyard Flare the one stop shop for the best DIY outdoor fireplace and kitchen construction plans.  It’s DIYer’s like you that make us feel special.  Have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas.

We hope to hear from you and as always… happy building.

 

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor fireplace lighting fire LED veneer
Lighting was added to the hearth and inside the storage voids.

Killin’ Time

The other day, I had to drop my car at the tire shop and because I had a few minutes to spare, I walked across the busy street to some stores.  As always, I was drawn to one of my favorite stores, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and I found myself standing in the outdoor lighting aisle.  If I go to Lowe’s, I almost always want to at least walk down some of my favorite aisles to see if there is anything new on the shelf. This day was no exception.

I should back up a bit and say that whenever I build any type of structure in a backyard, whether it is an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen, I always look for ways to spice up the final look.  One of the things that I have written on in the past is my love for outdoor lighting.  It just makes a backyard, and specifically, outdoor structures, come alive at night.  The shadows created and the way things look in the dark with some light are just awesome.

Outdoor fireplace lighting fire LED veneer
Lighting was added above the firebox.

So, back to Lowe’s and the outdoor lighting aisle…  In the past, if I needed lighting, I have just gone to the store and picked up what I needed to complete the lighting project.  I have never shared with my audience how inexpensive it really is to add this great feature to your DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen.  Well, wait no more.  Here we go.

Outdoor fireplace lighting fire LED veneer
This DIYer added lighting to the hearth and the sides of the fireplace.

Outdoor Lighting Components Explained

With most outdoor lighting, there are three main components involved.  They are a power source, otherwise known as a power transformer, wire, and the lights.  The transformer is a heavy cube that plugs into an outlet.  Many of these transformers will turn on at dusk with photo eye technology and you simply tell it through a setting, how long you want the lights to stay on from that point.  Pretty cool!

Outdoor fireplace lighting fire LED veneer
Four lights were added to this curved hearth.

The neat part is the lights will come on automatically and shut off automatically; no work for you. They come in different wattage’s starting from around 60W to several hundred watts.  For powering a structure, the smallest will be completely sufficient, especially if you’re using LEDs.  A 60W transformer will sell for around $50.

The wire will hook into the transformer with screws and the wire will snake through your structure’s block work.  We’ll get into the install in a different post.  The wire will transfer (Direct Current – DC) low voltage as the transformer’s output to the lights, so it won’t shock you any more than holding on to a flashlight battery.  It’s nothing like the power from an outlet in your house.  A 50’ length of this outdoor lighting wire will cost around $20.

LED Lighting Is awesome

Lastly, the lights.  Today’s technology has put LED lighting at the forefront for efficiency, longevity, and amazing power savings.  LED stands for light emitting diode.  An LED is a small electronic component (diode) that will glow when power is applied.  No more changing incandescent bulbs, right?  Can I get an amen on that one?

Outdoor fireplace lighting fire LED veneer catalina
This Catalina fireplace had lighting added to the hearth for a great look.

LED lighting fixtures are sold individually, and they can run anywhere from a few dollars on clearance to around $20 for each fixture.  I add at least two LED fixtures to any structure, so it is aesthetically pleasing. Two is really all you need for a structure width of only six to eight feet.  The LED fixtures will have power cord on them.  This cord will connect to the wire and the connectors will pierce the wire to be powered.  The best part is that each LED is around 2W to 4W so you could hook up to 30 of these 2W LEDs to a 60W transformer.  Do you see the math? This is turning into an electronics training course now.

Outdoor kitchen with lighting refrigerator and bar
This DIY Tucson Grill design had lighting added around it for a finished look.

How Cheap is It Really?

If you were to add two LED lighting fixtures to a fireplace, you would be able to spend as little as $110.  Now that’s a bargain when you consider the look you’ll achieve.  I hope this post helped you understand how simple outdoor lighting is and how inexpensive the components are.  It’s really not that complicated.

Check out Backyard Flare, LLC to learn more about building your own DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen and peruse our gallery for great ideas in design.  See what other homeowners have done.

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know.  I am always excited to hear from a fellow DIYer, or someone wanting to learn more about how to beautify their backyard space.  I can be reached at dan@backyardflare.com and as I always say, “Happy Building”.

Dan

 

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review – PA

We Love DIY Outdoor Fireplaces

Hello again all you fellow DIY’ers and welcome to this edition of, “That Awesome DIY Fireplace” where we introduce a DIY homeowner, tell you what state they reside in, and show you how awesome they were at building their own DIY outdoor fireplace.

diy outdoor fireplace kits phoenix backyard masonry firebrick
Finished backyard party area complete with a DIY outdoor fireplace and outdoor pavilion, kitchen and bar.

Let’s go to the northeast, beautiful Pennsylvania, to introduce homeowner Mike.  Mike had a very cool outdoor pavilion space with a long entertainment bar, bar stools, outdoor kitchen; and it was party central.  To the side of that space, Mike had a bare corner concrete spot that begged for something like a fire structure.  In April 2018, Mike visited www.backyardflare.com, and picked his favorite design, the Phoenix fireplace.  He wanted a smaller footprint for the fireplace structure but something big enough to not feel dwarfed by the surrounding features, which were trees and a wrought iron fence just outside the corner of the concrete slab.

Construction Starts

diy outdoor fireplace kits phoenix backyard masonry firebrick
Rough build of Phoenix design DIY outdoor fireplace is done.

Mike started laying block, paying attention to the block layout and instructions of the construction plan. Before he knew it, Mike was a DIY mason who had never really tried to do a project of this caliber.  Mike stated that he just needed a little bit of help and that the construction plan was what he needed to give him the confidence to start.

Mike kept a super clean work site and made sure he didn’t let the mortar remain on his concrete pad for very long.  This made the final cleanup easier than it would have been, saving time and aggravation in the end.

Adding the Final Touches – Detail Work

When Mike was finished with the rough build, he started the lining of the firebox with firebrick.  This process was pretty quick and before he knew it, Mike was ready for the final veneer material.

diy outdoor fireplace kits phoenix backyard masonry firebrick metal art firebrick
Mike finished his DIY outdoor Phoenix design fireplace. Getting ready for a party.

Mike chose to cover his outdoor fireplace with a stucco finish.  Mike’s technique was to go with a smoother final finish.  The seating was covered with dark stone material giving a great contrast to the white color of the structure.

Mike added a smoke arrestor to the top of the chimney to catch and extinguish embers that tried to escape from the top.  With the fireplace facing right into the entryway of the outdoor pavilion, Mike’s party central area became even more stunning.

Mike added a very cool fire grate in the firebox and a piece of chain suspended metal art to the front of the fireplace.  With a raging fire, behind the fire screen, it is just gorgeous.

metal art fire screen DIY outdoor fireplace kits phoenix backyard masonry firebrick
Nighttime fire in Mike’s outdoor fireplace.

We Know Mike is Now a Mason

Mike told Backyard Flare, “your plans were fantastic”, and that he wasn’t a mason.  We beg to differ and debate that last statement.  We see what Mike did and with no previous masonry experience.  Mike, you’re a mason now and we’re very proud to include you into the Backyard Flare DIY family.

We sure hope you like Mike’s fireplace and that it inspires you to think about one of these fireplaces in your backyard as well.  It’s really not out of reach to achieve a stunning outdoor living space.  Mike said he wasn’t a mason, but we know it’s just the unknown.  We’ll help you through it.  If you have the DIY mindset, we can help you achieve greatness.  We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, realize their potential to build fireplaces just like Mike’s.  You can do it too.

Thanks so much for reading about another great DIY fireplace build.   We’ll bring you more soon, and as always …happy building.

Dan Heston
520-269-9740