Ever since humans learned to control fire, it has served to heat, cook and luminate the darkness. Its benefits and dangers fascinate people while its brilliance gives rise to the art of fireworks. The domestic hearth is an image of comfort on a frigid evening, with fire ablaze and stockings hung on the mantle. Likewise, the campfire represents a place to gather and escape the harshness of the elements around. This is perhaps the attraction of a fire pit in the backyard — an alfresco setting with all the comforts of home. Outdoor fireplaces achieve this bliss, too, offering their own costs and benefits.
Is There a Difference?
A fire pit is almost fully described by its name, i.e. a hole in the ground — with raised walls — in which to build a fire. Yet the fire pit interior is lined by dense materials that can withstand the effects of fire and high heat. These may include fire-grade brick, concrete or lava rocks. Frequently, the pit is round in design but not necessarily so. Since the pit is not connected to a chimney, it can be located virtually anywhere in the yard. In many local jurisdictions, a fire pit represents a property improvement, requiring conformity to local ordinances and inspection by municipal inspectors. Moreover, use of the pit is subject to fire codes as those in Allen are to Collin County, Texas.
An outdoor fireplace, on the other hand, can be appended to the house or alternatively fixed on a separate deck or patio. At its most basic, the outdoor fireplace consists of a firebox — where the fire is built and containes — and a chimney to ventilate the attendant smoke. The firebox is also available in varying shapes although rectangular is often the default design. Meanwhile, the exterior can be made from stack stone, limestone, concrete or brick, to name a few materials. Chimneys can be tall or squat while the fireplace accommodates a wide array of decorative ornamentation.
Pros and Cons
Calling certain features pros and cons can be misleading. It is more a matter of personal and household preference. A fire pit has the character of a campfire. People can gather around it from every angle, allowing for greater interaction and larger gathering. The outdoor fireplace, like its indoor counterpart, invites you to sit in front of the contained blaze. This might be a drawback to some but more intimate gatherings are preferable to others. Furthermore, the fireplace is subject to architectural variations and adornments that are harder to highlight with a fire pit. Another advantage of the outdoor fireplace is the chimney, directing annoying smoke up and away from those enjoying the fire’s glow.
Scott Design & Landscaping serves the homeowners of Allen and other Texas communities by creating attractive patios and outdoor components like fireplaces, fire pits and kitchens, among other enhancements. A wide range of designs is available from Scott Landscaping – Outdoor Fireplaces when you visit scottlandscape.com.