DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review – Georgia

Georgia On My Mind

Welcome back my 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 outdoor fireplace.  This one is awesome to say the least.

DIY outdoor fireplace veneer fire construction plan
John’s completed DIY Outdoor Fireplace in GA

Who is Our Contestant?

Let’s go to the southeast, beautiful Georgia to be precise, to introduce homeowner John.  John had a bare space out his backdoor that needed a little sprucing up.  After checking out the construction plans at www.backyardflare.com, John decided to build the Pima II outdoor fireplace, and he purchased the plans.

Getting Started

concrete diy slab foundation outdoor fireplace
Getting ready to pour a concrete slab for the outdoor fireplace.

John had to clear a grassy area to get ready for the footprint slab to be poured.  Once he mapped out the positioning of the fireplace, John excavated the area and did his ground prep.  John built a wooden frame and added gravel and steel beneath the concrete.  After pouring the concrete, he removed the wood, and he had his footprint slab ready for some mortar and block to be stacked.

 

 

concrete slab diy backyard grass wood
Concrete slab is ready for cinder block.

John spent the next few days building the cinder block structure, following the construction plans to a tee.  John paid attention to detail with the mortar gaps and even though he hadn’t done much block work, he built beautifully.

 

 

 

 

cinderblock concrete slab backyard grass diy outdoor fireplace
First row of cinder blocks are down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cinderblock concrete slab diy outdoor fireplace grass backyard
Firebox was established for John’s DIY outdoor fireplace.

When John was getting the cinder block structure finished he began thinking about his finish material.  John added his firebrick to the inside of the firebox without mortar gaps between them.  He took the recommendation of Backyard Flare and used high heat construction adhesive to adhere the firebrick to the firebox walls.

DIY outdoor fireplace backyard patio veneer construction cement mixer hearth chimney grass fence firebrick cornerstone
The work site was super busy with lots going on. Veneer was like a jigsaw puzzle, finding the perfect piece for each spot.

Finishing the DIY Fireplace

DIY outdoor fireplace planter grass fence mulch chimney hearth fire grate firewood backyard
John finished with his fireplace and he cleaned up the work site. Anticipation for the first fire!

John picked out a great veneer with a dark tone.  The chimney and hearth portions were covered first, with the keystone added just above the firebox, centered.  The seating material was adhered to the top of the hearth with matching grout, before the center section of the fireplace was covered with veneer.  The mantel was stuccoed for texture and the top of the chimney was adorned with a very cool cap stone.

Adding the Small Touches

DIY outdoor fireplace veneer backyard patio mulch chimney hearth flagstone grass trees
John added veneer to the whole structure giving it a really nice 360 degree look. It looks amazing from all angles.

Dark colored mulch was spread all the way around the fireplace and up to the edge of the very green grass.  Two planters were added to the sides of the structure, which will probably have great looking flowers in them someday.

 

 

 

DIY outdoor fireplace mulch backyard grass fire grate planter veneer flagstone chimney
John’s first fire in his DIY outdoor fireplace. He is so proud that he did it himself.
DIY outdoor fireplace veneer fire construction plan
John’s completed DIY Outdoor Fireplace in GA

John bought a very decorative fire grate and added a few logs to it in anticipation of his first burn.  Oh, and what a beautiful sight it was when John started his first blaze.  He was so excited to share these pictures because he wanted to show off his DIY labor and show that it was possible to build it yourself.

Want to Build A Fireplace of Your Own?

We sure hope you like John’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.  John believes that if he can do it, anyone can do 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 John’s, so you can do it too.  Visit Backyard Flare to learn more so you can begin your journey too.

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

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review (2) – AZ

Let’s Take a Trip to Visit a Gorgeous Outdoor Gas Fireplace

Hello all you 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 outdoor fireplace.  We’re going to see a stunning outdoor gas fireplace in this article.

Introducing Our DIY Homeowner

We venture down the street and across the tracks from Backyard Flare headquarters to introduce homeowner Jim, who wanted a short in stature outdoor gas fireplace. Jim specifically wanted to burn natural gas.  Jim was restricted to natural gas and a short finished height by his homeowner’s association due to his home’s location on the golf course.  Jim’s backyard was on the 12th tee so there is quite a view.

Jim contacted Dan at Backyard Flare and explained his fireplace design and restrictions.  No sweat at all for the Backyard Flare team.  Dan did a couple site visits to Jim’s backyard and they came up with a plan of action. Dan was contracted to build the fireplace, but Jim was able to save a bit of money because he helped Dan through the process …and Jim learned a lot, very quickly.  It’s always a blast when homeowners can help because they learn and have a great sense of accomplishment.

Getting the Area Prepped

After the fireplace location and width was determined, a diamond blade was used to cut through the existing flagstone patio.  This area was excavated and framed for the concrete slab with rebar inside the pour.  An inexpensive Harbor Freight cement mixer was used which made this job relatively quick for two people.

saw cut flagstone concrete pad
Patio flagstone was cut to make way for the concrete slab.
wheelbarrow used to dump concrete slab rebar
Dan is using a wheelbarrow to dump concrete into the wood form for the concrete slab.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the concrete cured for a couple days, Dan and Jim started laying block in a running bond (staggered) pattern.

cinder block fireplace mortar DIY outdoor fireplace
The running bond pattern was used to build the structure.
diy outdoor fireplace with arched lintels
The firebox and storage voids were built with arched lintels made from concrete.

 

 

 

 

 

The firebox in the middle was sandwiched between two wood storage voids on either side.  An electrical line was routed through the blocks to install a 110v outlet. This outlet was used to plug in a power transformer for the structure and backyard ground low voltage lighting.

diy outdoor gas fireplace with stucco
The fireplace was covered in a stucco finish prior to the stone veneer being applied.
level measuring tape flagstone cutting with a diamond blade
A level was used as a straight edge to mark the cuts on the flagstone.

Lot’s of Finishing Options Were Added

When the structure block work was completed, firebrick was added to the inside of the firebox.

diy outdoor gas fireplace with flagstone and stucco golf course arizona
The flagstone was added to all horizontal surfaces of the fireplace.

The natural gas line was plumbed up the backside of the structure and a shutoff valve was added inline before it was installed into the back wall of the firebox.  This gas line stubbed out a few inches inside the lower right corner of the firebox.  Gas tubing was added to an H pipe and a few test burns were done before anything was solidified.

 

 

The wire for the structure lighting was routed to the front of the hearth and to the inside of the storage voids, figuring out where each light would be located.  The front face of the structure was adorned with a beautiful stacked stone, which was mortared in place.  The remainder of the structure was covered in a smooth coat troweled stucco, which was later painted.

Natural Stone Added So Much

The horizontal surfaces were covered in a gorgeous light tan flagstone which Dan and Jim cut with a chisel method for a rougher edge.  This was a bit time consuming and much slower than a saw cut front edge, but completely worth it in the end.

diy outdoor gas fireplace stacked stone golf course arizona
The finished fireplace sure makes a statement in this backyard.

With the leftover flagstone, Jim extended the flagstone patio to the far-right side of the structure and filled the joints with matching mortar.  After it was pressure washed, you can’t even tell where the old flagstone patio and the new came together. Totally amazing.

A vertical piece of flagstone was added to the front of the firebox after it was chiseled to resemble a mountain range in Jim’s home state of Colorado.  This piece of stone helped contain the local river rock that was added to the top of the H pipe.  This rock completely hid the pipe, making it look as if the flames “originated” from the rocks.

Tying the Structure to the House Decor

For continuity in the backyard, the fireplace stucco was painted to match the house.  New outdoor furniture was added to the patio and many nights have been spent eating, drinking, partying, and relaxing in the backyard.  So many golfers stopped to see the fireplace and to offer kind words, complementing Jim on his design.

With the ambiance of the lighting in the voids and quick start of the natural gas in the firebox, Jim and his wife have been able to say, “hey want to have a fire?”, and enjoy it in a matter of seconds.  Easy on and easy off is what Jim wanted and it turned out great.

diy outdoor gas fireplace stacked stone golf course arizona
This backyard was transformed with this fireplace overlooking the gorgeous golf course.

You Ready to Build One?

We sure hope you like it too, so let us know how this DIY fireplace inspired you?  Are you ready to build your masterpiece like Jim did?  Even though this outdoor gas fireplace included natural gas, low voltage lighting, and chiseled flagstone, it can all be done by you too.  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 Jim’s.  You can do it too. Visit Backyard Flare for more information and DIY construction plans.

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

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review – IL

Fireplace Review Time

Hello all you 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 outdoor fireplace.

Who is Our DIY Builder?

We venture to Illinois to introduce homeowner Mario, who decided to build the Douglas Mini design.  Mario reached out to Backyard Flare and ordered his DIY construction plan.

Douglas Mini DIY outdoor fireplace
Mario started with the footprint on his concrete slab.

Mario’s backyard has a great looking grassy area with a brick patio.  The corner of the patio needed a new addition though, so an outdoor fireplace was the obvious choice.   Mario started building his fireplace as per the construction plan and got to the top of the firebox lintel.

Modification Time

Mario elected to make some modifications to the chimney portion of the build to give the top an angled look.

Douglas Mini outdoor DIY fireplace angled chimney
Metal framework was added to create the angled chimney.

To achieve these angles, Mario used metal stud for the framework, using small self-tapping screws to tie the metal sections together.  It’s very important to make sure the angles are the same on each side.

 

 

 

 

Douglas Mini DIY outdoor fireplace with metal angled chimney
The metal framework was symmetrical on the front and back.

Finishing the Fireplace

Mario finished his fireplace with a beautiful stone veneer and natural stone horizontal surfaces.  The firebox was finished in a red firebrick, providing a cool look.  Mario bought a metal fire grate and it looks like a perfectly cut piece of aspen pine is laying there ready for a good burn.

The brick patio was laid back down to the front of the hearth, giving it an almost seamless look.  If you look closely, the angles of the chimney match the door on the shed behind it.  I really think Mario did this on purpose to tie the backyard together.  It really works, and we love it.

Douglas Mini DIY outdoor fireplaces backyard
Great Douglas Mini design outdoor fireplace built by a homeowner using a construction plan from Backyard Flare.

Are You Ready to Build?  Now is a Great Time

How has this DIY fireplace inspired you?  Are you ready to build your masterpiece like Mario did?  Backyard Flare can help you with any worries or concerns of the masonry word, and even with design help.  We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, and we can help you realize your potential to build a fireplace just like Mario’s.  You can do it too.

Check back on our blog page periodically and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for additional photographs and information.  We love to share great pictures and we really enjoy bragging about our customers, so we hope to hear from you.

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

Dan Heston

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review – AZ

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Review

Hello all you 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 outdoor fireplace.  They do it all by themselves with a little help from us here at Backyard Flare.

Let’s Go Down to Arizona

We venture not far from Backyard Flare headquarters in Arizona to introduce homeowner Jason.  A DIY guy who decided to build the popular Pima II fireplace design using the proven Backyard Flare outdoor fireplace construction plan.

Pima II outdoor fireplace stucco tile
Gorgeous Pima II outdoor fireplace built by Jason in AZ.

Jason has the traditional landscape rock in his yard as most of us do in southern Arizona.  A stunning tile patio was built with a perimeter tile of the same type.  The Pima II fireplace is built on a 45 degree angle to the patio.  The fireplace measuring just wider than eight feet is a perfect addition to this space and with wrap-around seating, lots of horizontal surface is available.

To keep continuity, Jason used the same tile for the patio to wrap up the hearth of the outdoor fireplace.  This tile then extends to the horizontal seating surface, which gives it a great finished and well thought-out look.  Jason added electrical line for low voltage lighting in the hearth, giving the fireplace a subtle look at night even when it’s not being used.  This outdoor fireplace is backyard furniture for sure, providing a great focal point.

Stucco Is a Cost Saving Veneer Choice

For the main vertical firebox and chimney sections, Jason elected to use stucco as the finish material.  In Arizona, as with many other states, this matches the home’s exterior, which also keeps the theme going throughout.  With the texture and darker earth tone paint, it blends really nice with the natural desert landscape seen behind Jason’s block wall.  The horizontal sections of the chimney and the top were covered with matching tile, which was saw cut with a diamond blade.  Super simple by the way.

Pima II outdoor fireplace with lights and fire
When the sun goes to sleep, the lights come on and the fire burns. how beautiful.

Jason wanted to add some pop, so he finished the front of his outdoor fireplace with a gorgeous piece of distressed wood for his mantel.  Wanting to match other elements, Jason used metal brackets underneath the wood.  These metal brackets match the metal fireplace tool set and the metal fire grate in the firebox.  Jason got ready and stacked a pile of pine in the firebox, ready for a great nighttime burn.  I’m sure the neighbors stare out their back doors at the glow from the chimney and they smell the sweet smell of burning pine.

Help is Available

How has this outdoor fireplace inspired you?  Are you ready to build your masterpiece like Jason did and transition your backyard space?  Backyard Flare can help you with any worries or concerns of the masonry world, and even with design help.  We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, realize their potential to build outdoor fireplaces just like Jason’s, and you can do it too.

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

Dan Heston

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Built for Cheap

CAN I BUILD MY OWN DIY OUTDOOR FIREPLACE?

DIY outdoor fireplace
Gorgeous light colored veneer and lighting make this a very cool DIY fireplace.

If you’ve gotten as far as thinking you want an outdoor backyard fireplace, then the next obvious thought should be on the construction method.  To lay it out as simply as possible, either you build it yourself or a contractor builds it for you.  And I’m not talking about a prefabricated fireplace where you stack a few pieces and have a fire an hour later.  I’m talking about a permanent cinderblock structure with all the amenities such as seating, shelving, lighting, veneer, firewood storage, etc…  Frankly a DIY outdoor fireplace can be built for cheap.

 

Realistic Contractor Concerns

DIY douglas outdoor fireplace decor
Great DIY corner designed fireplace all decorated and ready for a party.

When you elect to have someone else build your fireplace, you will pay for two specific things.  They are materials and labor, the latter of which will be most of your cost.  Is it easier to have someone else sweat while lifting block and splattering mortar?  Absolutely, but you must then step back and look at the alternative.  You!  Have you given much thought to building your own fireplace?  If the answer is no or even maybe, let me give you some things to mull over.  Just one of them may sway you or the entire list may persuade you that a DIY project may be the way to go.

First off, let’s look at the project as a whole.  Building on a large scale with construction plans can be very enjoyable and rewarding.  Think of it as stepping out on a new adventure with a lot of the guesswork taken out because of the plans you hold in your hand.

Some of us have a small perfectionist attitude making it difficult to sit back and watch someone build something for us, knowing we would do it differently.  I want to build to my taste; with my ideas in mind.  Contractors, many times, provide building crews that are only interested in getting done in order to move on to the next project.  In the end, it’s all about cash flow.  Do they care about the final look of something they may never see again, but that you will have to look at everyday for quite some time?  Maybe, however, I prefer complete control of my projects and how they’re built. That’s why I love DIY and that’s why I always try to persuade others to jump on the DIY train.  It’s a fun train.

It may seem small, but you also need to consider whether you will want contractor building crews in your backyard all day for the duration of your project.  They always seem to show up too early or not at all.  Then there’s the problem with the mess that is always left each day.

Think About a DIY Project

Pima DIY outdoor fireplace LG Green Egg kitchen grill
DIY Pima II fireplace with a great outdoor kitchen attached.

When you build yourself, you control the pace of the project.  Some DIY warriors can complete a fireplace project in as few as 9-10 days while still holding down a job.  Others will spend a few weeks to construct their fireplace working only a couple hours here and there.  When you build, it’s up to you how you structure your timeline.

If the previous reasons haven’t convinced you to build your own fireplace then think about the money you could save by not soliciting the services of a contractor.  As mentioned before, most of your cost with a contractor will be for labor.  It is estimated that you can take the total cost of your materials and multiply it by 5-6 to give you an approximate labor cost.  With this example, if you were to spend a total of $1,000 for materials, then the labor could cost as much as $5,000-$6,000, for a grand total of $6,000-$7,000 for a completed fireplace.  That’s expensive!

Not only are you paying for labor, but at times the contractor will make money on materials too. In other words, they will charge you more for each block than what it will cost for you to go to your own home improvement store to buy them.  You’ll only know that though if they provide you with an itemized list of materials and labor broken down.

Nothing is set in stone with how fireplaces have to be built, or even how much you have to pay.  The truth is, however, that you will save money if you step out on faith and build your own outdoor fireplace.  Think about how you’ll feel when you finish your own DIY outdoor fireplace project, knowing that you could have spent so much more.

Look No Further Than Backyard Flare

If you’re looking for assistance in the form of DIY outdoor fireplace construction plans, please visit Backyard Flare, LLC at www.backyardflare.com.  We have many fireplace designs that we’re sure would look great in your outdoor living space.  We would love the opportunity to work with you to make your backyard the talk of the neighborhood.  We’ll give you the knowledge needed and be there for you along the way.  Thank you for reading and we hope to hear from you.

As we always say …happy building.

Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook, as we have lots of cool DIY outdoor fireplace photos and videos added almost every day.  Contact Dan with any questions.

Dan Heston
Backyard Flare, LLC
Tucson, Arizona
dan@backyardflare.com
www.backyardflare.com
www.diyoutdoorfireplaces.com
520-269-9740

DIY Fireplace Reviews – FL and UT

It Started in Florida

Let’s talk about two beautiful DIY fireplaces built by the same people, years apart, in two different states.  These fireplaces transformed their backyards into such welcoming areas.  But first, let’s meet our player

outdoor fireplace pizza oven DIY
Combo fireplace and pizza oven DIY

s.  Husband and wife team, Marko and Kelly, were customers of Backyard Flare years ago and they built a stunning DIY outdoor fireplace and pizza oven combo when they lived in sunny Florida.  They used a Backyard Flare construction plan and the backyard was positively changed forever.  The structure drew lots of accolades from Backyard Flare followers and it was definitely a beautiful, one of a kind, fireplace.  It’s easy to see why so many people were raving about it.  It was so different than most.

DIY outdoor fireplace pizza oven
The red color on the oven adds so much to this design.

I have seen lots of pizza ovens and most are earth tone colors.  Marko and Kelly decided that a bold and deep reddish color would look great on their oven instead of keeping it like everyone else’s ovens.  I have to say, I was impressed with the color choice. It worked so well with the surrounding area and it brought a pop of color not seen anywhere else in their yard.  Coupled with the dark tones of the accent tile and the light color stucco, it was a hit.  I’m sure it made a huge impact in the sale of their home, bringing in more money on the sale, than they would have had with a plain Jane backyard.

And then They Moved

Now fast forward a few years, with Marko and Kelly relocated to the great state of Utah.  They bought a new home and needed to bring the backyard up to a standard they were used to.  The new fireplace structure, although smaller than the Florida fireplace, is no less impressive.

Utah outdoor fireplace diy pergola
Utah backyard with DIY fireplace and pergola

The fireplace sports a square topped firebox and an equally wide firewood storage void under the hearth.  Natural stone is on the horizontal surfaces, including the top of the fireplace.  Keeping with the earth tone feel, Marko and Kelly added a wood mantel and a beautiful faux stone veneer.

outdoor fireplace diy wood mantel storage
This fireplace sports a wood mantel and a firewood storage void.

It’s not just the fireplace that brings the total feel to the backyard.  The natural flagstone table in front of the fireplace draws the earth tones to the patio. A huge pergola with a large outdoor table is the perfect place to have an outdoor dinner or just a place to sit and really relax. The white picket fence in the background with the bold green grass, adds contrast to the whole picture.  The large boulder wall behind the fireplace and the slight hill with natural vegetation adds to the rustic look as compared to the veneer on the fireplace.  The bold color on the pots to the sides of the fireplace make the structure appear to be wider than it is.

DIY outdoor fireplace fire
In action with a raging fire.

This is such a beautiful fireplace and I am sure this backyard will create lots of great memories.  Great job Marko and Kelly.  We are sure you will continue to enjoy your backyard paradise and we hope you will continue to share your fireplace with us.

Kudos Go Out

Special thanks to Marko and Kelly for sharing these great photos with us and allowing us to share them with the world. Also, thank you to all our faithful readers out there and to those who just found us.  We can help you with your outdoor fireplace dream.  Visit our website at www.backyardflare.com for some great inspiration and fireplace ideas.

Check us Out on Social Media

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of cool info and fun pics and video.  Thanks for reading and as I always say…happy building.

-Dan

The Perfect S’more

The Perfect S’more

Is there a day that goes by where you don’t contemplate the perfect S’more or the ingredients that it takes to construct one?  I don’t think so, as these quandaries are what keep lots of people up at night.  I often lie there for hours at a time, beads of sweat collecting on my forehead, while I count marshmallows and small squares of chocolate.  Did I break the graham cracker perfectly, so the two sides are equal? Is the marshmallow gooey enough?  The perfect S’more…oh my…so much to consider.

Funny to think about, and “no” I really don’t drive myself into crazed sleeplessness over something as simple as a S’more.  Having said that, I thought this would be an amusing blog post to write about how to build the perfect S’more and to get some feedback on what constitutes your perfect S’more.

So Many Questions

What is the perfect roast level of the marshmallow?  How much chocolate is necessary for these tasty and crunchy dessert sandwiches?  These seem like crazy questions and an over analyzation of a simple sweet snack, but really think about what you do when you build the perfect S’more.  You make a lot of micro decisions when you are in the S’more frame of mind.

Marshmallow on a stick
Marshmallow on a Stick

You will usually impale a helpless marshmallow on a skewer or metal stick and hold it over the open flame without mercy.  The question lies; however, do you hold it just outside the flame or catch it on fire?  Do you require a golden brown slow roast, or do you prefer the stick mounted flaming marshmallow ball like a torch used by Indiana Jones?  How long do you let the marshmallow burn before you blow out the flame?  Is there a point when too much burn is too much, and intending to start over, you resort to flinging the sticky mess off the stick for the dog to devour?

Chocolate
Perfect Milk Chocolate

Do you prepare your graham cracker and chocolate before the marshmallow torture or do you yell at others in panic to get your cracker and chocolate ready?  If you’re like most, you do the latter.  You were so focused on the marshmallow torture and open flame that you “tunnel-visioned” yourself out of paying attention to the chocolatey crunchy portions of the sweet treat. Remember that your failure to prepare the cracker and chocolate should not constitute an emergency on the part of your family and friends.

S’more (Some More) Questions

Do you forget and leave the graham crackers open, so the dog gets into them, “Pavlov Dog Style”?  Do you viciously eat a good portion of the chocolate beforehand, and then realize that there may not be enough to go around?  Are you the one that puts the hot and sticky marshmallow skewer down on the chair in haste not realizing that it will glue itself to the seat cushion?

The Perfect S'more
Building the Perfect S’more

With so many things to consider, should we as humans even be stepping into the tough decisions necessary to build the perfect S’more?  Is it better done as a team event?  This blog post has not done anything except make me hungry for a S’more and nervously anxious at the thought of building one.  I hope the next time you decide to make the perfect S’mores that you talk it over first with your guests.  Think about logistics and have a game plan before indulging in such glorious delicacies.

S'more
S’more Time Anyone?

Or just have fun.  S’mores are a great way to share memories with family and friends.  Leave a comment and let us know some of your S’more memories or thoughts.  We’d love to hear them.

Build Your Own Marshmallow Fireplace

Please visit www.backyardflare.com if you are interested in a DIY fireplace or outdoor kitchen construction plan.  They are perfect places to build a fire necessary for your marshmallow torture.  Thanks for reading, and as always…happy building.

Dan

Vintage and New Outdoor Fireplaces – They’re Everywhere

outdoor stone fireplace, house is gone
What stories can this AZ fireplace tell?

Outdoor Fireplaces – What History Can They Tell?

I have been traveling quite a bit lately.  Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to have gone to some really neat locations.  Just a few visited in the past few months are Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Winterpark, Colorado, El Paso, Texas, and the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona.  When I go to a new place, I love the opportunity to walk around and explore the old and new.

One thing that seems timeless is the fireplace built in an old house lot.  They still stand, absent the house or an old cabin.   I love walking around these towns and noticing great outdoor fireplaces built in new areas, at shopping malls, at apartment complexes, and even outdoor patios of fancy bars and restaurants.

Vintage Fireplace
Old fireplace in a WV city park

The old vintage stone fireplaces through their cracks and stains can sometimes tell a silent story, letting your mind wander at how much they have seen and been witness to over the passing years.  Who graced the hearth and seating around these graceful structures?  What conversations and decisions took place in front of the fire?

Imagine the fireplaces in the homes and parks of West Virginia that kept home owners and those fighting in the civil war warm.  They used them every day during the harsh winters.  Imagine the fireplaces in the Grand Canyon lodges that kept tourists warm during the 1930s when the park was really becoming a destination.  Now those are old fireplaces with stories too abundant for us to even imagine.

How About the New?

Shopping center outdoor fireplace
Fireplace spotted in an AZ shopping center

But let’s think about how we can create our own memories and stories around an outdoor fireplace.  When you spot an outdoor fireplace at an outdoor shopping center, stop and check it out.  Sit on the hearth and if it is providing heat, enjoy it for a few minutes.  Relax and even grab a drink if you have time.  Become the history that can be told by that fireplace 100 years from now.

Pay attention to where you are and if you see an old or even a new fireplace that needs to be in a photograph, take a pic and send it to us at, dan@backyardflare.com.  Let us know where and how you found it.

Thanks and as always, happy building!

Outdoor Fireplaces and Draft Problems

 

Outdoor Fireplace Draft

#outdoorfireplace, #backyardflare, #outdoorfireplacedesign
Gorgeous corner fireplace built along a custom patio. No soot stains means it was built correctly.

I was surfing the web the other day as I do quite often and I noticed differences between good and bad drafting structures.  If you know what to look for, it’s very apparent, an it almost always has to do with the outdoor fireplace draft.  Some of the best looking fireplaces seemed to be the dirtiest.  I started paying attention to the fireboxes of some of these fireplaces.

Gas Fireplaces – The Good and Bad

A lot of fireplaces are designed and plumbed to burn natural gas or propane.  Gas fireplaces are easily controlled and can be turned on and off quickly.  This can also be problematic if the structure isn’t built correctly.

Even with a gas fireplace, burning either natural gas or propane, which are very popular, soot build up can still be a problem.  This occurs if the fireplace does not vent well.  Heat rise in a fireplace is most often referred to as the draft.  The single most important aspect of any fireplace, inside or outside, is its functionality and whether the smoke rises effectively.  This will be either through the chimney or out the front of the firebox and up the front of the structure.

Now some may think that because a gas fireplace doesn’t produce smoke that it shouldn’t matter.  The truth is that gas fireplaces are sometimes dirtier than a wood burning fireplace when it comes to soot discoloration of the structure.

Pay attention to the inside of outdoor fireplaces that you see around your town.  Stick your head inside and look up.  Do you see a tiny chimney opening, or a large opening that will collect the smoke before allowing it to evacuate upward?  Most of the time, there will be very apparent issues with regard to the path of least resistance.  When a firebox height in is equal to the chimney opening, you will have problems with a bad draft.

Importance of a Good Fireplace Draft

The smoke or invisible soot from a gas burn will exit the structure through the front when draft is affected.  This smoke and/or soot will travel right up the front of the structure and the front will turn black.  A wet rag and some dish soap can easily remove the soot from a fireplace.  It’s just a hassle to deal with.

If you’re interested in building a beautiful outdoor fireplace in your backyard or if you just want to explore the possibility and learn more about them, please visit us at www.backyardflare.com.  Thanks for reading.

 

Three Phases to Plan Your Backyard

Building Your Backyard

If you have ever wondered how to go about building your backyard to perfection, then keep reading.  We hope this article will give you a bit of guidance.

Great Patio

For many, their backyard area is an eyesore.  Others just need a bit of spicing up.  If you are in either category, you can achieve the perfect backyard if you adhere to the right phases in the right order.

Building your backyard
Phase One
planning

The first phase is planning the layout.  Step back and really look at what you have.  This will be a great time to brainstorm with a tablet of paper and pencil to sketch out different scenarios.  By drawing different layouts on a piece of paper, you can compare the different possibilities and see what works the best for your space.  You may find that certain layouts will make better sense than others.  Talk your ideas over with family and friends and take in their ideas.  You never know, you may not have thought of everything.

Building your backyard
PHASE TWO
gathering

Building Your Backyard
Custom Pima Design with added wood storage voids.

The second phase is gathering what you will need to get the job done.  This includes everything from a construction plan, the tools necessary, and the materials needed to build your project.  If you are wanting to build a masonry structure, have the vendor deliver the blocks, mortar, and cement on a pallet to as close to the work site as possible.

The tools needed are sometimes specialized so you won’t have too many other opportunities to use them again.  These will be trowels, masonry cutting blades, etc.  Borrow what you can and don’t buy them if you don’t have to.  If you must buy a tool, buy cheap, and even if you must buy two, it still may not be as expensive as one professional grade tool.

Building your backyard
PHASE THREE

Building Your Backyard
Modified Pima Design with wider chimney stack.

The third phase is the best part, the building of the project.  A solid foundation is paramount for many masonry structures due to their weight.  A lack of stability under a masonry structure could result in shifting and cracking.  The building phase is a great time to get help from family and friends.  Sometimes a pizza and beverages go a long way.

The building phase will be the part everyone will see so definitely take your time and pay attention to the small stuff, the detail, the minutia.  It’s the attention to detail that will make your project a stand-out backyard.

When you get to lighting and irrigation make sure you don’t have too much of the project finished.  This is especially irritating if you have to rip out some of the progress to add electrical and water lines.

While building your backyard, pay attention to the phases and your project will turn out to be the talk of the town thus your neighbors and family will be in awe.  Be careful because you will then be the go-to for the how to.

If you need any assistance on a masonry structure like a fireplace, kitchen, pizza oven, and want a DIY construction plan, visit www.backyardflare.com.  Building your backyard does not have to be a chore or burden.  We’ll help you along the way and give you the insight you’ll need to get it done and on a budget.  Happy building.

Natural stone was used for the seating surface, shelves, and top.