Over the last decade, outdoor fireplaces have continued to be a rising trend in outdoor living design. A fireplace provides an elegant focal point that visually transforms a patio into an outdoor living room, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. When planning an outdoor fireplace, there are a number of options to consider.
Custom-Build versus modular units
Custom outdoor fireplaces can be built using a variety of masonry products, including nearly any Belgard retaining wall product. The benefit to a custom-built fireplace is that you have the design flexibility to create any size or style that suits you. Belgard also offers the Belgard Elements™ line of modular fireplaces that are pre-built in a factory setting, shipped in sections and installed with a pallet loader. The benefits are lower installation costs and a shorter construction window.
USE interior design principles
To enhance the “outdoor living room” feel, employ interior design techniques when designing your outdoor fireplace and surrounding patio. Examples include accessorizing the room or creating a faux rug in the paver design.
Research Local building codes
Codes will vary by municipality, but in general terms, gas-burning fireplaces have fewer restrictions and can typically be placed anywhere in a design, including directly against another structure. Wood-burning fireplaces typically need to be placed at least 10 feet from another structure. Some building codes require additional safety measures or restrict the use of wood-burning units altogether.
Built-in outdoor gas fireplaceS
An economical option that can typically be installed anywhere is a built-in gas fireplace, which can be built on the exterior of the home, on a porch or under a pavilion.
Think outside the box
When creating a custom build, consider how you want to use the space and work with your contractor to come with with creative solutions and ideas.
Consider built-in seating
Built-in seating is one of the leading trends in outdoor design and makes an excellent addition to an outdoor fireplace, adding both form and function to an outdoor room.
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Next week: If your yard is sloped, come back to theOutdoor Living by Belgardblog for ideas on using terraced design to create more usable space.
The Morgan Hill Homeowners Association of Temecula, California, takes pride in its impressive community amenity areas, and they should. In addition to the well-appointed community pool, the development includes an expansive clubhouse with pool tables, ping pong tables, tennis courts and an ample lounge area for watching sporting events.
When the homeowners association decided to upgrade the decking of the community pool, they meticulously perused the products, styles and color selections of multiple paver manufacturers, but ultimately settled on a selection of Belgard pavers at the recommendation of the installer, Modern Paving, of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
The group selected the “bishop hat” shape of Moduline Series™ pavers in the Toscana color blend for the primary paver field, accented with 6″x6″ squares of Moduline in the Sahara color. A total of 12,000 square feet of pavers were installed in a castle parquet pattern, creating an contemporary look that complements the elegant development’s modern architecture while blending well with the natural landscape. The project was installed during the colder months of the year so that use of the pool was not disturbed.
According to annual national surveys conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, built-in seating has regularly been among the top 10 trends in outdoor living design in recent years. The reason for this is simple…people are spending a lot more time in their outdoor living spaces, and they’re bringing friends. Plus, there’s only so much you can do with traditional furniture, and it typically needs to be replaced periodically due to exposure to sun, rain and critters. Whereas, built-in seating provides a more permanent solution and can perform multiple roles within the design. In addition to providing a place to sit, a seat wall can act as a functional design element to define the space itself. Whether you need to control the slope of your yard, or are just looking for a way to define the transition from one outdoor room to the next, a seat wall may be the design solution to your seating needs.
Fire pit seating
Seat walls provide an excellent design solution for fire pit patios. The wall itself helps to reflect the heat to provide a cozier environment. In addition, the bench-style seating can accommodate more people than traditional chairs. For additional comfort, add pillows or cushions.
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ADDING FORM AND FUNCTION
A retaining wall or perimeter wall can easily be embellished and converted into built-in seating to create a more functional space.
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Incorporating Natural Elements
When using manufactured stone to build seat walls, natural materials can be incorporated into the design to add visual interest.
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Terraced design lends itself well to the addition of seat walls, as a retaining wall is already being used to create the terrace and needs only to be embellished with a seat ledge.
Nextweek: The holidays are just around the corner! Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog for holiday backyard entertaining ideas.
Landscaping walls add dimension and definition to your outdoor living spaces. Whether utilizing a retaining wall to control the slope of your yard, or simply to add dimensional embellishments to an outdoor living space, landscape wall products represent an important element of contemporary outdoor living design.
Retaining walls present a way to convert a sloped yard into usable space through the creation of terraces. Terraced design can also be used to create a raised or sunken outdoor room.
A rising trend in outdoor design, vertical gardens take landscaping to new heights and add a tremendous amount of visual interest and dimension to an outdoor living area.
Defining a Room
Landscaping and seating walls can help define an outdoor living area or create a transition from one outdoor room to the next.
Fire & Water Features
Walls can be used to incorporate the elements of fire or water into an outdoor design in a variety of creative ways. These types of features become a visual anchor point and add to the ambiance of a design.
Outdoor kitchens are one of the fastest growing segments of the outdoor living industry, and for good reason. An outdoor kitchen exponentially improves the functionality of an outdoor space, as well as the aesthetics.
Landscaping and retaining walls can be used to add any number of coordinating embellishments to an outdoor design — including columns, planters, mailboxes and more — which can help tie an outdoor design together.
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, built-in seating has been one of the top 10 trends for the last few years. In addition to providing permanent seating, a seat wall can also help to define an outdoor living space.
Next week: Come back to the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog for more seat wall design and placement ideas.
Various paver patterns can be used as an accent to accomplish a number of outdoor living design goals. From simple borders to elaborate inlaid designs, incorporating an accent of a differing paver style, texture, shape or color can add a creative touch to your outdoor spaces to improve both the form and function.
Whether an outer border or an inlaid border, bordering a paver field with a contrasting shape, color and/or texture can really make your pavers pop.
Old World Paver™, Mega-Lafitt®
Urbana Stone®, clay brick
Lafitt® Rustic Slab, Old York™, Cambridge Cobble®
Several Belgard paver styles have coordinating circle kits that can be used to create simple or complex designs.
Cambridge Cobble® Circle, installed in a fan design
Cambridge Cobble® and Circles
Cambridge Cobble® and Circle
Dublin Cobble®, Bergerac® Circle Kit
Create a dramatic entrance to your home through the use of design accents. You can do this by using multiple paver styles, or simply by using contrasting colors, shapes and/or laying patterns of the same paver style.
Mega-Lafitt®, Mega-Arbel®, Old World Paver™
Inlaid Paver Rug Designs
Creating an inlaid faux rug design reinforces the outdoor room concept and helps define the space.
Lafitt® Rustic Slab, Mega-Arbel®, Bergerac®, Old World™
Bergerac®, Dublin Cobble®
Mega-Arbel®, Lafitt® Rustic Slab, Urbana Stone®
Paver patterns and borders can be used to indicate the transition from one outdoor room to another.
Lafitt® Rustic Slab, Old World Paver™, Mega-Arbel®
Urbana Stone®, Old World Paver™
Mega-Arbel®, Urbana Stone®
Borders and varying patterns can be used to interject creative touches here and there, which can add visual interest to a hardscape design.
Cambridge Cobble®, Dublin Cobble®
Urbana Stone®, Old World Paver™
Mega-Lafitt®, Mega-Arbel®, Old World™
Paver patterns can also be used to create intricate and creative designs. Keep in mind, however, that these types of designs require additional cutting and a highly skilled contractor.
Cambridge Cobble®, Dublin Cobble®
Lafitt® Rustic Slab, Bergerac®, Old World™, Mega-Arbel®
Since ancient times, the column has long been an architectural element used for both decorative and structural purposes. Usage of this ancient design technique continues to evolve in the world of modern outdoor living design. Whether a freestanding or a structural element, columns of varying sizes, textures and designs can add a dimensional aspect or a finished look to an outdoor living space.
Freestanding columns are a distinctive way to indicate the entrance to a terrace, porch, walkway or driveway. They can also mark the transition from one outdoor room to the next. By incorporating lights on the tops or sides of columns, you can add both ambiance and a safety element.
Weston Stone® & Bullnose Coping
Arbors, pavilions and outdoor kitchens
Masonry columns make an excellent decorative structural element to support a pavilion or the covering for an outdoor kitchen. When utilizing a masonry column to support a post, using the same masonry material to construct the outdoor kitchen will create a cohesive look, as well as a durable outdoor living space that can withstand the elements.
Weston Stone® & Bullnose
Using a column for an endcap adds a finished look to a retaining wall, landscape wall or seat wall. Finishing touches can include a light fixture, low voltage hardscape lighting, or a built-in planter.
Weston Stone® Seat Wall
Country Manor® Wall
Columns can enhance the look of a porch and add curb appeal to a home. Retaining wall block or other masonry materials can even be used to wrap existing posts to create the look of an architectural column or coordinate with other hardscape design elements.
Weston Stone® and Bullnose Coping
sTEPS AND STAIRS
Whether simple or elaborate, columns can add an elegant touch to steps and stairways. Options can include placing the columns at the top, the base, or both.
Anchor® Highland Wall
Tandem® Column and Wall
Fences and gates
Columns make an attractive addition to fences and gates and can work either as a structural or decorative element with masonry, wooden or iron fencing.
AB Courtyard Collection
Columns can be used to define an outdoor space or as integrated elements of an outdoor living feature. The masonry column’s use as a decorative element is only limited by the imagination.