Oh my…the Christmas season is in full swing and decorations are being added to everything indoors. Why not add some spice to the outdoors too? Add some small things or even some big things to your fireplace and make it spectacular. Some people add great decor to their structures and turn them into a “Christmas Fireplace”. We have seen some spectacular outdoor fireplaces this 2017 Christmas season that we just have to share.
Does it get much better than a decorated outdoor structure with signs of noel and joy? I don’t think so. Check out the mantel covered in red berries and a green pine wreath above it. With the vases full of flowers, this fireplace makes me want a warm glass of cider or some hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
It doesn’t take much to turn an already gorgeous outdoor fireplace into a seasonal masterpiece. Another wreath makes this fireplace step right into the Christmas season and the lighting overhead adds a lot too. By adding reds and greens, as well as lighting and images of Christmas, you will turn a nice space into an even more welcoming space.
What are some of your holiday decorating ideas? Write a comment and let us know and even share a picture of how you designed. Thanks and we hope you have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Care to add a DIY fireplace to your backyard? Visit us at www.backyardflare.com for great information and ideas for your next project.
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.
After building your outdoor fireplace, outdoor kitchen, or other outdoor structure, there are endless ways to finish the look. You will have to consider options for both your horizontal and vertical surfaces as well as extra bling such as lighting.
This article isn’t long enough to possibly explain or list the seemingly endless combinations of veneer and seating options so we’ll just briefly talk about a few of the more popular looks. There are a lot of manufacturers that make and deal in different types of products but they all effectively do the same thing. They add a beauty to the outside surface of your outdoor fireplace. Faux stone, tile, stacked real stone, and stucco are among the most popular looks.
The basic purpose of these vertical veneers is to cover the drab gray cinder block. Let’s go through them one by one. Faux stone looks very realistic and it can add a rustic look like the fireplace was built entirely out of rock. Lots of different looks are available. Tile veneers can expand into regular ceramics or even a natural travertine stone. These tile veneers will give you a more modern look most of the time.
Stacked stone is a real stone that has been milled and shaped so the pieces fit together nicely. Some of the better products will look seamless. The small size of the stone allows for several different colors and stone variations to be used in conjunction with each other. Very elegant. The final veneer that offers a great look is stucco. Stucco can be textured or applied as a smoother surface. The beauty of stucco is that it weathers well and it can be painted to match other items in your backyard.
When it comes to the horizontal surfaces of the outdoor fireplace, look to natural stone for a smorgasbord of different textures and colors. Most of this stone is very easy to work with. You will cut the sections of stone with the same diamond blade you used to build your cinder block structure.
If you decide on the color of the vertical veneer and the horizontal surface material at the same time, you can pick great matching elements. Certain colors and textures really complement each other but there is definitely no “one way” to complete the finish work of the structure. As far as veneer and horizontal surface material is concerned you have more options than you can imagine.
Lighting is a great way to add that special flair to any outdoor fireplace. It brings a certain elegance to the fireplace and if used along the bottom of the hearth, it will frame it nicely. Low voltage lighting is the way to go for this look and the addition of this lighting is relatively inexpensive.
Comment on this article with your thoughts. Share your favorite final look and/or what you did to make your fireplace a one of a kind.
Visit us at www.backyardflare.com for great content and ideas for your outdoor fireplace.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Cinder block sizes vary and many different shapes are available for your outdoor projects. There are short ones, tall ones, solid ones and some are made with holes/voids. Not only are they different sizes, but some that are classified with the same dimensions can be slightly different allowing them to be used in a different manner.
You can build outdoor structures such as fireplaces, kitchen, and pizza ovens using primarily the blocks that are described in this article. Just for a bit of clarification, most people will call them cinder blocks but there is a slightly more technical term for them. They are sometimes referred to as concrete masonry units (CMU) by the folks that make them and sell them. When shopping for these blocks, you only need to call them cinder blocks though and know a little about how they are sized. The cinder blocks sold in the United States are sized in inches.
Cinder Blocks and Sizes Explained
The most common cinder block is an 8x8x16 as seen in the adjacent picture. These measurements are the depth, height, and width respectively. Most construction projects, needing any structural integrity, will be built using this size block. These blocks have voids, designed to be filled with concrete, which provides great strength.
These 8x8x8 cinder blocks are perfect cubes that are widely used in conjunction with the 8x8x16 cinder blocks. These blocks also have voids which allow them to be filled with concrete.
Some have notches manufactured into them for rebar, but the notch will not be used most of the time. When you are building using a running bond/staggered pattern, these will certainly be useful.
An 8x4x16 cinder block is half as tall as standard 8x8x16 cinder blocks, so they are very good to incorporate into your structure. These cinder blocks are used as a transition block when only a little bit of height is needed as they are only 4” tall. These blocks also have voids.
Occasionally, you will need a cinder block that is only 4” in depth. These cinder blocks are measured 4x8x16. They have much smaller voids in them which makes them harder to fill with concrete.
A lot of cinder block walls are constructed using these blocks.
8x2x16 cap block
One of the last widely used cinder blocks is an 8x2x16 cap block. When you only need to add a couple inches to your structure or to close off a section, you will use these blocks. These cinder blocks are solid and are also used when a flat surface is needed for finish work.
If you are interested in building an outdoor fireplace or kitchen there are great ways of building them. Cinder blocks are just one way of constructing them, but it’s a fantastic way to build a structure with great integrity and strength. Visit www.backyardflare.com for great outdoor fireplace designs, ideas, and DIY construction plans.