Does an outdoor fireplace need a chimney? 

An outdoor fireplace has a chimney as opposed to a firepit.  An outdoor fireplace requires effort to construct and build in order for smoke to funnel up and out through the chimney, and people can only sit on one side of it.  A fire pit has no chimney so smoke drifts, but you are able to seat guests all around it.

Can I put a fire pit or outdoor fireplace in my backyard?

If you are interested in constructing an outdoor fire pit or fireplace in your backyard landscaping, contact Solkor Landscaping and Design to discuss how a fireplace can fit in your outdoor design.  When installing an outdoor fireplace or fire pit you should think about how large it will be, how to design the landscaping surrounding it, and make sure there is adequate drainage.

How safe are fire pits? 

Fire pits have open flames so they can be dangerous if basic safety precautions are not taken.  However, when built and maintained properly, fire pits can be safely enjoyed in your backyard.

Safety tips for outdoor fireplaces or fire pits 

In order to enjoy your outdoor fireplace or fire pit safely, they should be constructed on a level plane, and at least 20 feet away from any combustible material including plants, wooden flooring, buildings, or overhangs.  Burn only natural woods and do not use lighter fluid. Be prepared to put out fires with a water bucket, sand, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets. Consider adding safety features like built in chairs so guests aren’t tempted to inch ever closer, a fire screen, and fire gloves.

Keeping your outdoor fireplace clean 

Maintaining a clean outdoor fireplace is key to the safe enjoyment of the fireplace.  You should clean debris from the surrounding area regularly to decrease the chances of sparks catching on any overgrown plants or leaves.  You should sweep out any debris from in or on the fireplace and use a shopvac to remove soot and ash. The outside of the fireplace can be cleaned using a stiff-bristled brush with warm and soapy water.  The inside of a wood-burning fireplace should be cleaned by professionals who have the right cleaners and experience to remove build-up of soot and ash. This should be done once or twice a year depending on the frequency of use.  A gas-burning fireplace can be cleaned with a soft bristled brush for gas burner holes and fake logs. Gas burners should be cleaned with a soft cloth.