Fire pits vs. fireplace – a Hot Topic for your Inland Empire area home

When setting up the perfect backyard design for your Inland Empire area home there are many main features to consider: landscaping, drainage, water features, seating areas, swimming pool layout and more; but the one feature that can really help establish a focal point is a fire feature. From the moment man discovered fire we have benefited from its many functionalities, providing us with warmth on a nice cool night is definitely one of them. But a well designed and crafted fire feature will help provide the opportunity to socialize around an open fire with friends and family; making it a “must have” for our professionally designed and landscaped yards.

When considering fire features for your backyard or garden layout it really comes down to two choices: Fire pits or fireplaces.

Fire Pits = Fellowship

Of the two options fire pits are the less expensive, and in my professional opinion, the more functional choice for your Inland Empire area home. Fire pits are typically round, although they are available in many shapes, but the key feature of a fire pit is that it allows more people to to be able to sit around it, enjoying the warmth and fellowship.

When laying out a proper fire pit it’s important to note that fire pits are our best when they are lower or at ground level so that they can provide more heat by design. Ideally the lower to the ground the better for maximum warmth. For safety purposes fire pits should be anywhere from 12” to 18” tall. Taking into consideration that most outdoor chairs and seating are typically 18”-20” tall, we recommend keeping a fire pit at 12”-14” tall so that it is not only safe but functional as well. This allows you to place your feet on the fire pit edge without the heat feeling too uncomfortable.

Fire pits can be constructed to operate on either gas or wood. The gas option, of course, will be the cleaner choice and easier to maintain but, burning wood will provide the crackle and the great smells we enjoy when camping.

Gas fire pits offer many choices for the top material to cover the fire ring. Most utilize lava rock, as it is inexpensive and functional, others might choose decorative glass as it is beautiful and very common as well.

A wood fire pit will constitute more work and clean up. They can be as simple as a ring made up of concrete or metal or can be more elaborate with a decorative stone veneered show piece with a nice finished cap.

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Fire Places = Elegance and Style

Fire places can be a gorgeous focal piece to our Inland Empire area home’s yard. They can be an element that we place under a patio cover or a center piece to a destination away from the house in an area open to the stars above. As with fire pits they can be either gas or wood as well. Both fuel sources will provide warmth but, the wood option will provide will be warmer.

An outdoor fireplace is typically built out of block and concrete then veneered with a decorative rock or stone. There are prefabricated units available as well that are made from aluminum framing and are sold with a multitude of finish materials.

The prefab option is much lighter in weight but, in my opinion, do not look or feel as substantial. Prices of course will vary but, both options should be similar in cost. They can have a seating hearth and a decorative mantle as finishing pieces.

Conclusion – Both are winners

Both fire features provide heat with the esthetical advantage to work with your particular landscape design for your Inland Empire area home. Because fire places are built unidirectional, less people will be able to sit in front or near the fire which will make for a more intimate setting. Fire pits are fantastic for larger gatherings as it allows for more people to sit around its perimeter.      

A fire place will always provide a more majestic feel as a focal element while the fire pit will be a simpler and less expensive option; but provide more functionality for large groups. Both are great options and a must have for any family that enjoy the outdoors at night.

The Right Look Starts with the Right Design

At Bella Terra Landscape Design, we utilize our years of design experience to produce a landscape design plan that exceeds your expectations. Beginning with a tour and discussion of the Inland Empire area yard we can create, in detail, a landscape design that will transform your backyard into an extension of your Inland Empire home. When choosing to have professional landscape services done, be sure to start with a competent design by a design team that has a methodical mindset. This mindset will provide the path to perfection for your Inland Empire area home.

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