Apr 24, 2017

Outdoor Fireplaces and Firepits Do More Than Add Warmth to Your Backyard

Spring is passing us by at a rapid clip, and the sweltering heat of summer will soon be beating down upon our homes and landscape.

With cool nights and chilly temps all but a memory for time being, homeowners throughout the Mid-Atlantic might think that outdoor fireplaces and firepits should take a breather until the leaves begin to change again.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Outdoor fireplaces and firepits do far more than just generate heat. In fact, they have become an essential visual element for today’s garden and outdoor living environment design.

Whether serving as an architectural feature that enriches the subtlety of a garden vista, or enhancing one’s view from a dining room or kitchen window, the outdoor fireplace has become a mainstay of the overall structure of a home.

If you are looking to stoke some flames, but are uncertain which structure is best for your landscape, consider the following.


Visually, an outdoor fireplace provides a strong focal point, and is an ideal choice when your design calls for elevation. Functionally, however, fireplaces are equipped for smaller parties of two to four individuals, and are designed to draw attention to the firebox, itself.

Additionally, gas log sets have come a long, long way with effects that are incredibly realistic. A roaring fire and flickering flames cast off heat with the flip of a switch. The incorporation of a gas ignitor in the firebox can provide an easy way to ignite natural logs for those who long for the familiar crackle and smells that we all remember from childhood campfires.


Firepits, on the other hand, are generally intended for larger parties, and for gathering groups of friends around the hearth for camaraderie and cookouts. While the norm, for some time, was circular pits, landscape designers are more frequently installing square and rectangular pits if complementary to the surrounding aesthetic. If the landscape is formal, for instance, then the firepit should follow suit. For loose and rustic surroundings, the design should feature big boulders and steppers, evoking the image of a campground.

Firepits are also adaptable. Because they are not necessarily central to your landscape, they can be located on a patio or deck, and can range in size to fit as many as 12 people, providing plenty of opportunities for group interaction. Their purpose is to entertain and to elicit conversation from those gathered around the perimeter.

Forget the old-fashioned image of a plain, black iron bin, too. Firepits come in all shapes and varieties, from a bowl urn with stainless steel gas manifold covered with lava or glass rock to a sugar kettle repurposed as a fire pit.

Occasionally, the thought of sitting in front of a fireplace in 90 degree weather loses its luster. McHale Landscape Design once built a rectangular firepit that sat 18 inches off the ground for a client. Our team fashioned an inlay that transformed the firepit into a coffee table, providing an innovative and functional area for serving, while also being instantaneously adaptable.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

To Every Season, There is a Place for Outdoor Fireplaces and Firepits

Of course, fall and winter are definitely firepit and fireplace mainstays. The fall is an incredibly popular time thanks to football season, while Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are times of togetherness and get-togethers. After the holidays, cabin fever begins to settle in for many people. A firepit is a surefire way to eliminate those cooped up feelings in early January.

But while firepits and fireplaces are primarily known for their warm demeanor, today’s design trends have also made them a functional focal point of outdoor living. With the help of the professional craftsmen at McHale Landscape Design, outdoor fireplaces and firepits can prove to be a permanent fixture for your home environment throughout the year.

Contact us today to find out how to get started.