Outdoor living spaces are much more inviting with great landscaping and landscape features. However, many people don’t consider how wonderful using an outdoor fireplace is for their home. They can offer a great sense of community when gathering around an interesting fire feature, even in colder months. You may have hired an architect and home builder for a new home. You may simply be doing a remodel. Either way, it is never too early to start thinking about an outdoor fire element. If you hire an interior designer, they help with your interior design choices. Similarly, this guide will help with decorating ideas for your fire pit or outdoor fireplace. We will cover lava rocks for fire pit decoration, types of outdoor fireplaces, and more. Read on and enjoy.
Everything That You Are Going To Learn In This Guide:
What Are Some of the Common Varieties of Outdoor Fireplaces?
A few different options are available for outdoor fireplace use. Chimeneas, fire pits, fire tables, and more traditional looking fireplaces all have their place. The type you use will be dependent on your needs, preferences, and available space.
An outdoor fire pit, fire tables, or fire bowls, are a common backyard centerpiece. These fireplaces all need open air to release harmful emissions. Fireproof foundations such as stone or concrete should also be used. Installing one of these over a wood deck can be dangerous. Decks that are wooden are very flammable and can have tragic results.
More traditional looking fireplaces can also be used. These can range from electric fireplaces, to wood, to gas ones with a gas log in them. Each has their advantages and disadvantages for outdoor use. Any kind of fireplaces that use gas should typically be used in open areas unless you install ventilation. Various electric fireplace types can be used in more closed spaces. Not only are they safer in this way, but they are incredibly efficient in more enclosed spaces.
Which Type of Gas Should I Get For a Fire Pit?
Essentially, there are two choices: propane and natural gas. A propane fire pit is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, the downside is you have to change the tanks regularly. Meanwhile, a gas fire pit that uses natural gas doesn’t need tanks changed. Lines are hooked up directly. Each has their benefits, and it comes down to which is more important to you.
Are There Different Ways to Decorate a Fire Pit and Does It Matter What Kind of Fire Pit It Is?
Different ways to decorate fire pits include landscaping features around the pit, or even filler within the pit. People can use lava rock or lava pebbles as a base layer for a natural look. How much lava rock pieces required depend on the pit size and the size of the lava stones. Small lava rocks require many more. A layer of lava rock pieces that are small need quite a lot. Likewise, larger rocks, like large river rocks, need fewer.
Because they are heat resistant, lava rocks can handle high heat from the fire pit’s flames. By being able to handle high temperatures, you don’t need to worry about your lava rocks being destroyed.
Types of lava rocks include tumbled lava rock variations, wet lava rock variations, red lava rock variations, black lava rock variations, and more. Mixing lava rocks for your own custom look is also possible.
How Is Using Lava Rocks For Fire Pit Decoration Aesthetically Different Than Using Lava Glass?
Similar to lava rocks, you can use fire glass. A key difference with fire glass is that they are more about giving off a specific color and reflective quality. Differing from the natural color of lava rocks, fire glass offers a more modern look. Glass used in this way puts a lot more focus on the fire pit as a whole, rather than just the flames.
American Fireglass is a website where you can see many types. American Fireglass has reflective fire glass available in several different colors and varieties. Mixing fire glass types and colors is something you can do just like with lava rocks.
Is an Outdoor Electric Fireplace a Good Alternative To a Fire Pit?
Outdoor electric fireplaces are a fantastic alternative to fire pits. Electric fireplaces are very low maintenance. Other than some basic dusting, they don’t require a lot of the cleaning and washing that fire pits with glass or rocks need. As you use a fire pit with rocks or glass in the base, they become very dirty. These rocks and glass stones need to be washed quite regularly if you don’t want a dirty fire pit. On the opposite side, electric fireplaces stay quite clean, and only occasionally need to be dusted.
Because of the way their heating device works, they are extremely efficient and safe in more enclosed spaces. If you have a covered area, canopy, or covered patio, electric fireplaces will usually be a better choice. With outdoor fire pits, you can’t really use them in enclosed spaces at all. They are required to be open to the air. This is so harmful emissions have a chance to escape. Since electric fireplaces have no harmful emissions, they don’t suffer from the same limitations.
Another excellent benefit of electric fireplaces is the fact that they don’t have an exposed flame of any kind. Lacking the flame that a fire pit normally has, an electric fireplace can be placed on wood decks or near flammable materials without risk.
Do Electric Fireplaces Need Fire Glass or Lava Rock Decorations Like a Fire Pit?
With a high quality fireplace, they are completely stand alone. You don’t need to place any rocks or glass in them for decoration. In fact, many electric fireplaces have things like physical log sets within them. Physical log sets are often over a simulated glowing ember bed. It is this combination of aesthetics that allow them to look more realistic and traditional. That being said, some electric fireplaces do have less traditional looks, although these are often cheaper, tacky models.
Even If an Electric Fireplace Doesn’t Need Fire Glass or Lava Rock Arrangements Inside of it Like a Fire Pit, How Can You Still Incorporate Fire Glass and Lava Rock Decorations Around an Electric Fireplace?
Incorporating fire glass or lava rocks into your decorations is still completely possible when it comes to using outdoor electric fireplaces. One example would be to fill glass bowls or jars with these items and place them near or on top of the fireplace. The warm glow of the electric fireplace can reflect colored light from the glass that you choose to go with.
Another fun way to use lava rocks or fire glass is to use a thin layer of them over the soil in your planters to prevent weeds from popping up. Rocks and glass used in this way not only looks fun, but also blocks sun from drying out your soil too quickly. Consider the exact types of plants you are growing and see if it is recommended to do something like this. Not all plants are the same, so adding these to some planters might actually cause some issues. That being said, it is safe in most cases if you take good care of your plants.
Can a Fire Pit Be Used Indoors or For an Indoor Patio?
Fire pits should never be used in any sort of indoor area or enclosed spaces. Using a fire pit indoors is a huge fire hazard. Exposed flames can easily start a house fire if you aren’t careful. In many cases, these can be just as dangerous as traditional wood fireplaces.
On top of this, it allows harmful emissions to quickly fill your home without proper fireplace ventilation. Ventilation is key for many fire based heating devices. Gas fire pits put out carbon monoxide from incomplete burning of the gas. Carbon monoxide can easily fill your home. It is extremely toxic and can even be deadly.
For indoor use, you are much better off going with something like an electric fireplace. Even with enclosed patios, electric fireplaces will still be a better choice. Enclosed patios, covered decks, canopies, and more shouldn’t ever be using a fire pit. You should instead opt for an electric fireplace solution. This is also true if you have a lot of tree covering in your backyard. Leaves and trees can fall into the flames of a fire pit. This can result in an unwanted fire spreading throughout your yard and home. Electric fireplaces don’t really have this same issue you need to worry about.
When It Comes To Safety, Efficiency, and Aesthetics, Why Are Electric Fireplaces Usually Chosen Over a Wood or Gas Fireplace?
Indoors, wood fireplaces have quite a lot of issues many people don’t know about:
- Fire safety is a concern.
- Harmful emissions are released like smoke and carbon monoxide.
- They are a hassle to use.
- Heat is lost through the ventilation.
- A smoke smell gets everywhere.
- Stains can be expected due to smoke.
- TVs are damaged if you hang them above the fireplace.
- Wood storage becomes an issue during colder months.
- Fireplaces that burn wood are very expensive to build.
Indoor gas fireplaces aren’t much better than their wood counterparts:
- An exposed flame can still cause a house fire.
- Carbon monoxide is still released from them.
- The color of the flame tends to be rather ugly with gas fireplaces.
- Flames are also very weak and have no real flicker or life to them.
- A costly installation can be expected and professionals will likely be needed.
Conversely, electric fireplaces have a lot of wonderful benefits:
As Far As Electric Fireplaces Go, How Many Types Are There?
- There is no added fire risk like wood or gas fireplaces.
- No harmful emissions are released from electric fireplaces. They only release clean, warm air.
- Stains and smells aren’t a concern either because of the lack of smoke.
- Using electric fireplaces is incredibly easy compared to a wood fireplace. Turn it on. Choose a temperature. Go about your day. That is it.
- Installation is completely effortless. Most of the time you are just choosing a spot and plugging it in.
- Install an electric fireplace into any room in your home. You aren’t limited to just the main room. Dining room, family room, bedroom, and more are all options. You can even install them in some outdoor settings.
- Electric fireplaces are TV safe. When you install a fireplace above one, you don’t need to worry about smoke or rising heat messing it up. There is no smoke and heat is blown towards the center of the room.
- They are much more heat efficient than traditional alternatives.
- Supplemental zone heating allows you to save money even in larger settings.
- Remote controls are usually included with them.
- True fireplace ambiance is captured by a high quality flame effect.
Variations of electric fireplaces are for different situations. If you are using these for outdoor use, there are some that work well. Others may not work as well. Let’s cover them here:
- Flat Wall Mantel Package Fireplace – For people that want a fireplace that looks the most traditional, these are perfect for them. These mantel packages can be installed up against a flat wall of a home, or even a flat walled area outdoors. These are also great for indoor patios. Keep in mind that the mantel usually comes unattached. You attach it during installation. This is so more mantel varieties are available from manufacturers.
- Electric Corner Fireplace – If you have an indoor area or outdoor area with a strong corner focus, these are what you want. Functionally, these are no different than a flat wall fireplace. They just happen to be shaped to fit into a corner instead of against a flat wall.
- TV Stand Fireplace – These are fireplaces built into standard TV stands. These aren’t always the highest quality. They also aren’t ideal for outdoor use since it is unlikely you’d use a TV outdoors.
- Corner TV Stand Fireplace – Same as the normal TV stand fireplace, these are built for a corner. TV stand fireplaces built for the corner have the same issues and also aren’t ideal for outdoor use.
- Wall Mount Electric Fireplace – Wall mount fireplaces are able to be mounted on a wall with special brackets. A wall mounted electric fireplace can also be installed into a recessed wall. If you have a covered area in your backyard with a nice wall, these could work for you. However, often a flat wall mantel package will be a more flexible solution.
- Holoflame Fireplace Insert – These are great for open hearth wood fireplaces if you want to convert them to electric. Insert these into the opening. You can also use these for outdoor use if you want to build a custom housing for it.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – These portable space heaters should usually be avoided, indoors or outdoors. Normal ones tend to already have issues heating an area reliably. Adding fire effects to them doesn’t help. The fire effects tend to be very tacky on these models.
- Electric Fireplace Stove – If you want to simulate a wood stove in a log cabin, that’s what these are for. For most home decor styles, these just look out of place.
Regarding Electric Fireplace Purchases, Are Generic Fireplaces On Amazon a Good Choice?
People tend to always be disappointed with generic fireplace options. While the prices can be tempting, the quality of the fireplace, heating performance, and fire effects, all leave you wanting. In fact, it is usually a much cheaper decision to invest in a pricier, high end fireplace brand. This can be attributed to the fact that a generic fireplace is going to cost you more in the long run.
Generic fireplaces don’t have powerful or efficient enough heaters in them. They work incredibly hard while never quite warming your home to your preferred temperature. When these heating devices work at maximum capacity and don’t reach the required temperature settings, they start having problems sooner. After some time, they tend to just stop working at all and need repairs frequently.
Additionally, generic fireplaces just look bad. Tackiness and cheap effects is really all that you can expect from them. Homeowners that wisely invest in higher end fireplaces are always happier. Flame effects are more realistic. The fireplace lasts much longer.
For People Who Prefer Electric Fireplaces With Great Flame Effects, What Brand Is The Most Realistic?
MagikFlame electric fireplaces are the brand with the most realistic fireplaces. If you are someone that truly loves a traditional wood fireplace look, these are the right one for you. Here is what you are going to get with any MagikFlame fireplace:
- Ultra-realistic Fire Effects – 30 different flame styles are available to cycle between. These holographic flames are 3D projected over the physical log inside. Realistic 3D projected flames help add an authentic fireplace ambiance. Flames inside of MagikFlame fireplaces dance and flicker just like the real thing.
- Crackling Log Sounds – Adding to the already impressive visuals are the sounds of crackling logs. By implementing realistic audio, it enhances the visuals and further helps with the realistic atmosphere MagikFlame provides. Equally relaxing are the optional nature sounds that you can play through a MagikFlame electric fireplace.
- 5,200 BTU Heater – Infrared quartz is how MagikFlame electric fireplaces efficiently heat a home or outdoor area. As cool air is pulled into the MagikFlame fireplace, it is almost instantly heated. Warm air is gently pushed back into the room. The 5,200 BTUs of heat that MagikFlame puts out is enough to cover up to 1,000 sq. ft. of space. Larger homes or outdoor areas can benefit from an additional heating device for a zone heating strategy.
- Smartphone App – To control a MagikFlame fireplace, you have access to an intuitive smartphone app. With this app you can set the temperature, change the fire effects, control the audio, and more. Control your fireplace from anywhere within your home. You don’t even need a direct line of sight.
Are you interested in more about MagikFlame? Look at some of these other helpful resources:
- Read the story of how MagikFlame got its start.
- Customer reviews that are both informative and insightful.
- Checkout this best fireplace electric guide to learn more about electric fireplaces in general.
- Payment Plans and Peruse these fantastic financing options.
- MagikFlame fireplaces come with a full warranty.