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Tag Archives: Outdoor Fireplace

How to Take Care of Your Backyard Outdoor Fireplace in Milton, MA

A backyard fireplace is probably one of the most rewarding investments for your Milton, MA home. Not only does it add to the opulence of your property, but also makes your yard a comfortable gathering place for friends and family. However, keeping a fireplace safe and functional requires some care, and knowing what to look out for can help you enjoy your fireplace to the utmost.

Related: 5 Designs for a Perfect Summer Backyard in Walpole MA

Rechecking the location

Safety is paramount with any fire feature, which is why it is important to revisit the placement of your fireplace. Ensure that plants remain a safe distance from the fireplace, especially after spring summer when most plants go through a growth spurt. Ask your landscaper to trim back branches and ensure that the fireplace’s location is still optimal. Moreover, try to keep the fireplace away from flammable structures and consider relocating it if you have carried out an extension or renovations.

Check for defective parts

Regular use, high working temperatures and exposure to the elements can take their toll on the various parts of your fireplace. Gas fireplaces, in particular, have to be checked more often, given they have a more complex design. It is important to ensure none of the gas lines, fixtures or valves are leaking. This can be done by your landscaper. Similarly, the burners and pilot light should also be examined for corrosion, given their exposure to the elements, as problems with them can result in trouble with lighting up and maintaining a flame.

Related: Five Important Design Trends that are Shaping Landscaping in Scituate MA

Inspect the chimney

A clean and free-flowing chimney is an integral part of any fireplace. A quick inspection of the chimney should be carried out by the homeowner before every use to ensure that it is free of serious blockages. Typically, fireplaces with clogged chimneys experience back puffing, emitting smoke through the opening rather than through the chimney. This can be caused by leaves or debris accumulating, especially during the fall, as well as due to the build-up of soot and creosote. In either case, a clogged chimney is a significant fire hazard and a professional should be consulted, especially after a prolonged period of disuse. Creosote build-up, in particular, is quite dangerous given its inflammable nature. No fireplace should be used if the build up is thick and tar-like, as this is more susceptible to catching fire. Lastly, consider investing in a chimney cover or grill to prevent debris from falling in.

Issues with the masonry

Fireplaces are constructed from a wide variety of materials. Some are more susceptible to degradation over time than others. This is partly due to the high temperature variation, as well as constant exposure to the elements that an outdoor fireplace is subject to. Check the fireplace for cracks and consult a professional over the proper repair procedure. Filling in a crack with the wrong material can cause excessive expansion and exacerbate the crack over time. Similarly, exposure to the rain can result in crumbling masonry, especially inside the chimney, which is often less protected. Coating the entire fireplace with a sealant after repairs is one excellent way to mitigate any potential disasters. Lastly, fireplaces tend to be heavy structures that can cause the soil underneath them to compact. This can result is the ground settling under the structure, potentially causing it to become unstable and a safety hazard. In any of these scenarios, contacting a professional is the best option, given the high-risk nature of structural problems with fireplaces.

Image courtesy of Unilock.

5 Features to Match your Stone Patio in Walpole, MA

If you’re looking to expand your landscaping beyond a patio, there are many ways to incorporate new features. Working with your already existing patio surface is the best way to make new elements feel like part of the original design. Add some of these features to match your stone patio in Walpole, MA.

Walkways

Walkways add form and structure to your landscape. They also help define the flow of traffic, while guiding visitors to focal points or outdoor rooms. For a cohesive look, opt for walkways that match your existing patio design. To match a classic brick patio, manufactured concrete pavers can offer the same look as natural clay bricks, and are even more durable.

Related: How to Create a Romantic Paver Walkway that Doubles as a Destination

Limestone and flagstone make beautiful walkways that complement a natural landscape. To continue a country garden feel throughout your yard, add paths in a coordinating stone. If you prefer walkways that look a bit more formal, concrete pavers are available to match the look of bluestone.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Steps

The transition from your backyard to your home should be seamless. Extending the same material from your patio to your doorway will create a staircase that blends with your landscape. Whether you have a casual landscape or a classic formal design, there are brick, flagstone, or limestone options to complement it.

To get the look of high-end stone for less, concrete pavers offer an extremely wide variety of design options. There are many stone and brick patterns that look like real stone and will match your existing patio.

Stone Walls

Garden walls and retaining walls can completely change the look of your landscape. If you want to convert a steep grade into terraced sections, retaining walls that match your existing hardscaping will create a unified look. Low walls are an excellent way to help define an outdoor room and can also provide extra seating. Raised planting beds can also be designed to match your patio.

Related: Dry vs Wet Masonry for your Stone Wall in Hanover, MA

Manufactured wall units are ideal for wall construction, and are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and styles. Manufactured units are also less expensive and easier to work with than natural stone. To soften the look of a stone wall, add curves by incorporating tapered units into the design.

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular ways to transform your yard into an outdoor living space. The ability to cook and dine outside extends your living area and allows you to make more use of your backyard. To add an outdoor kitchen that blends with your current design, choose stones that match the appearance of your patio. To get the look of natural stone for a fraction of the price, stone veneers are available in a wide variety of finishes. Stone veneer is also durable and heat resistant so it’s a popular choice for outdoor kitchens.

Fireplace or Fire Pit

A fireplace adds warmth and creates a beautiful focal point for your patio. A large fireplace will also provide an extra wall to create shelter or privacy. Having your new fireplace finished with the same stone as your patio will make it seem like part of the original plan.  If your patio doesn’t have room for a full fireplace, a fire pit can have a much smaller footprint. Either style will create a cozy and inviting ambiance and can be designed to coordinate with your patio.

Related: Is It Too Late to Start on Your Stone Patio Project in Milton, MA?

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Why Fall is the Best Time of Year for an Outdoor Fireplace in MA

Days are getting shorter, nights cooler – a sure sign that fall is approaching in Milton, MA. If you’re looking forward to staying toasty, now is the best time of the year to install a fireplace, before winter arrives in full. Winters here can be frigid, making temperatures and flurries of snow the norm – a good reason to start construction on any project now.

Contractors are Available

Fall is a great time of the year to enjoy mild weather and blooming fall flowers. It’s also a great time to add a supplemental heat source to your outdoor living area. It’s wise to get a headstart by having an outdoor fireplace installed now while contractors are more available. With spring and summer projects out of the way, contractors are freer with their schedules and will be able to slot you in for the construction of a new outdoor fireplace. They’ll also be able to give more attention to the choosing of materials and construction while completing the project faster with the deadline of winter just around the corner – just in time to invite family, friends and guests to take advantage of the fireplace in the cooler weather.

Related: What to Expect From a Professional Design Build Company

Convenience for the Homeowner

Fall is also a convenient time of the year for homeowners that want to remodel an outdoor space, since summer can often be a busy time in the yard with family gatherings and kids on break. But with schedules returning to normal in the fall, construction in the yard poses little inconvenience, particularly with such a easy-to-install feature as an outdoor fireplace.

An Outdoor Fireplace in Fall Extends the Summer

If you’re loathe to see the end of the sunny days and warm nights of summer, an outdoor fireplace can help you extend that summery feeling that little bit longer. Keep the season of outdoor socializing going by having an outdoor fireplace installed and firing it up for warmth and evening enjoyment.

Related: 4 Design Tips for An Eye-Catching Outdoor Fireplace

Ambience

The sounds of a crackling fire in the fall is sure to bring back the memories of childhood camp outs, nights around a grill roasting marshmallows, and other enjoyable experiences. There’s no doubt that the sound of a crackling fire creates an environment of peace, relaxation and nostalgia. Because the summer heat is now past, a fireplace is essential for enjoying a fall evening outdoors.

Comforting and Relaxing Warmth

The warmth a fireplace produces is both comforting and relaxing – a definite benefit of having an outdoor fireplace in the fall. Because of the drop in temperatures, a patio can become unusable unless additional heating is installed. The heat of a fireplace is often all that is needed to beat back the bite in the air, particularly if your patio has additional wind protection or covering. In fact, enclosing a patio with a permanent roof structure and vinyl or glass siding can be a great way to continue to enjoy the space through winter.

Related: 5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Image courtesy of Unilock

4 Design Tips for An Eye-Catching Outdoor Fireplace

Let’s face it: from December to February, nobody wants to stay outdoors for too long in Milton, MA. But that’s only a quarter of the year and you have no reason not to enjoy the outdoors during the months remaining – especially if you have an outdoor fireplace.

Regardless of the style of fireplace you opt for, a crackling fire not only gives your landscape a luxurious look, it also brings feelings of comfort and coziness. Fire features are a key element in keeping alfresco activities going even after the temperature drops. So, get ready to transform your outside space and check out the ideas we have gathered to give you some inspiration.

Level up your existing patio

Chances are you already have some sort of hardscaped area in your backyard. Fortunately, an outdoor fireplace can easily be added to an existing patio or paved surface, provided it rests on a strong foundation. A fireplace made of either natural stone, or concrete units designed to replicate the coloring and texture of natural stone, can give a huge boost to the aesthetic of an existing patio, adding character and a stunning focal point. Whatever building material you select, adding accents to your fireplace design to reflect the colors of your surrounding elements can help tie the patio and outdoor fireplace together. This can help make it seem as if the fireplace has been standing since the initial construction of your patio.

Related: Paver Patterns for Imaginative Patios in Milton, MA

Pools are a great match

There’s no reason to have to choose between an outdoor fireplace or a pool. Not only can you have both, the two are perfect complements to one another, allowing an extension of time by the pool and the enjoyment that comes with the ambience of both. As a warm day slips into a chilly evening, you can go from an afternoon at the pool into a warm evening around the outdoor fireplace. Consider adding futons or other comfortable and inviting seating options to smooth the transition from one outdoor space to another. Permanent seating is also a great option, providing ample space and a place to dry off around the fire after a swim.

Related: 5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Unconventional shapes

Who said that a fireplace has to have the traditional look? The benefit of a custom outdoor fireplace design is that your fireplace can have basically any shape you want within safety and regulatory parameters. Modern fire features are often integrated into walls or vertical structures and follow straight, clean lines with a horizontal emphasis. The design of a custom outdoor fireplace can also be adapted for accessible firewood storage and incorporate personally selected materials to match the style theme of your outdoor spaces.

Fireplace kits

If you’d rather go for something simple, a fireplace kit can do the job. A common misconception is that kits look cheap and mass produced. However, there are a variety of kit options out there from trusted brands. Kits can also offer some room for customization and have the advantage of a guarantee and quick installation.

Related: Why Fall is the Best Time of Year for an Outdoor Fireplace in MA