The trend isn't limited to the coasts or to moderate climates either. In areas that experience long, cold winters, an outdoor room with a fireplace can be a way to experience the pleasure of a late fall evening, or to take advantage of a clear, crisp spring evening.
Homeowners have discovered the allure of comfortable outdoor "rooms" that serve alternately as retreats or as gathering spaces for crowds. Features of these rooms include comfortable seating, dining areas, grilling stations, music and television, fountains and ponds, art and play spaces, as well as firepits and fireplaces.
Sometimes designed in tandem with pools, hot tubs or sports courts, outdoor living rooms often begin as simple patios or decks. Personal choice dictates how to transform, finish and furnish an outdoor room. They can be simple or elaborate, fully roofed or partially shaded, protected from winds or screened to keep the bugs out. Designers will beautify an outdoor room with art and sculpture; gardeners will want pots of herbs and seasonal blooms.
If you envision an outdoor room that becomes a multi-season gathering spot for family and friends, a fireplace is a great focal point, blurring the lines between indoor rooms and the natural environment.
It can be a romantic retreat for a late night glass of wine, or the hub of an informal kids' cookout complete with hot dogs on a stick. And who wouldn't love a chance to have s'mores at home? Chances are that your outdoor fireplace will be used more often that an indoor one.
Any exterior and landscaping improvements will add value to your property, and an outdoor fireplace is considered a premium amenity. There are many options available, for both gas logs and wood-burning fireplaces. Just be sure to check on local codes and secure the proper permits before you begin.