Sunday, September 25

Guide to Outdoor Fireplaces

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Do you enjoy spending time in your garden, even when the temperature begins to drop? Then not only can an outdoor fireplace make your garden a more comfortable place to spend time, but they make fantastic focal points and can add to the value of your home. But, only if you buy the right one. To make sure you buy the best possible outdoor fireplace for your garden, read this guide from the Direct Stoves team now…

What is an outdoor fireplace?

Picture in your mind a traditional fireplace. The chances are, you’re picturing a brick and mortar fireplace, with a traditional hearth, opening and chimney breast. 

Now picture that sort of fireplace, but outside. 

That’s essentially what an outdoor fireplace is. Similar in construction to indoor fireplaces, outdoor fireplaces are typically made from materials such as pumice, brick and mortar. 

A good quality outdoor fireplace will feature a chimney, firebox and hearth and will usually be built on a stone, brick or concrete patio or paved surface.

Outdoor fireplaces serve the same function as indoor fireplaces. That is, as somewhere to build a fire for the purpose of providing heat. 

What are the benefits of an outdoor fireplace? 

Buying and installing an outdoor fireplace has multiple benefits from providing year round warmth to enhancing the value of your home.

Year-round-warmth

The first, and most obvious, benefit of an outdoor fireplace is that it allows you to enjoy your garden all-year-round, even on those days when you wouldn’t normally venture outside. 

Besides extending your garden ‘season’, an outdoor fireplace also allows you to enjoy your garden for longer during the summer – providing heat during those cooler mornings and evenings, meaning you truly can spend an entire’s summer day and evening in your garden.

Focal point

The addition of an outdoor fireplace to a garden creates a distinctive and entertaining focal point. 

Adding an outdoor fireplace to a garden is also used by many people as an opportunity to undertake a broader landscaping project, revamping and redesigning the rest of their garden at the same time as the installation of the fireplace.

An outdoor fireplace can also act as a great focal point for outdoor entertaining, creating a gathering point where family, friends and guests can mingle and socialise in comfort.

Cooking

If you install a grate within the firebox of your outdoor fireplace then you’ll be able to enjoy outdoor cooking!

With a grate, you’ll have a number of cooking styles open to you including grilling, an element of baking and frying (if you use an appropriate pan).

Added value

Whilst it’s difficult to provide an exact figure, you can expect an outdoor fireplace to add value to your home; especially if it’s matched with a wider landscaping and garden rejuvenation project.

Best Outdoor Fireplaces UK

How much do outdoor fireplaces cost? 

Given that outdoor fireplaces are solid, substantial, permanent structures, they are surprisingly affordable. 

Here at Direct Stoves you’ll find (at the time of writing, August 2022) large, high-quality outdoor fireplaces available from £1,099 up to £2,075.

Outdoor fireplace buying considerations

When it comes to buying an outdoor fireplace, there are a number of considerations you’ll need to take into account. As an outdoor fireplace is a permanent structure, you’ll want to make sure you’ve satisfied these considerations before you commit.

Below, you’ll find the key factors you’ll need to take into account when buying an outdoor fireplace.

Local bye laws

Before you do anything, you’ll want to make sure that you’re actually able to have a fireplace in your garden.

Whilst it’s generally legal to burn firewood in your garden, in some parts of the UK there are bye laws in place to prevent or restrict this activity.

These bye laws are usually found in what are called ‘Smoke Control Areas’.

Smoke Control Areas are defined by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) as, ‘an area where people and businesses must not emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney’.

Tip – if you’re not sure whether your home is located in a Smoke Control Area, we would recommend speaking to the Environmental Officer at your local authority.

Locating your outdoor fireplace

Once you’ve checked whether your home is subject to Smoke Control Area bye laws, it’s time to think about where you’ll locate your outdoor fireplace in your garden.

The majority of outdoor fireplaces are load bearing, and therefore can be independent of other structures (i.e. they don’t need to be placed against a wall). 

However, many people do choose to place their outdoor fireplaces against a wall. Before doing so though, you must give this some serious thought. For example, it’s not recommended that you place an outdoor fireplace against the wall of your home as this is a fire risk.

Equally, we’d recommend checking with your local authority before you place an outdoor fireplace against any of your boundary walls. After all, you don’t want to A) fall foul of planning laws and B) annoy your neighbours!

From a more practical point of view, you’ll also need to make sure you place your outdoor fireplace on solid, level ground. You’ll need to find a location where you can build solid foundations. Some outdoor fireplaces can weigh north of 950kg, so they are exceptionally heavy and will need to sit on a solid concrete base.

Note – here at Direct Stoves, our outdoor fireplaces require at least a 100mm thick concrete base.

Garden size

The size of your garden can also affect what type and size of outdoor fireplace you can buy and install.

In general, most UK gardens and yards will be able to accommodate an outside fireplace, but give some thought as to how you’ll be using your fireplace, how much space you’ll need to socialise around it and the distance to any potential combustibles nearby (e.g. overhanging branches or parts of your home).

You should also think about how windy and gusty your garden can be. If it does tend to be windy, then ensure that your outdoor fireplace isn’t going to send smoke and embers into your neighbours’ gardens.

Assembly

Depending on what type of outdoor fireplace you buy, you’ll need to ensure you’re prepared to assemble it. 

At Direct Stoves, our range of Schiedel outdoor fireplaces are easy to build and are very much geared towards DIYers who want to build their fireplace themselves rather than paying for builders.

Our outdoor fireplaces include all materials that you need including the chimney blocks, firebox, lip glue, firebrick and firebrick mortar as well as a render which allows you to either seal the joints between the different sections of the fireplace, or to render the entire fireplace.

Outdoor fireplace for garden

Seating

If you’re going to buy and install an outside fireplace in your garden, then you’re going to want to enjoy it!

That’s why we strongly recommend investing in high-quality outdoor garden furniture at the same time. 

As we mentioned earlier, an outdoor fireplace will allow you to spend much more time outside, so whether you want to create a relaxed seating area, or create an al fresco dining area, your fireplace can act as the central focal point.

Firewood

You’re going to want to make sure you’ve got plenty of firewood so that you can fire up your outdoor fireplace as and when the whim takes you. 

However, it’s important that you have somewhere appropriate to store it. 

Firewood must be seasoned – and therefore sufficiently free of moisture – which means you can’t just store it on the ground. 

Ideally, the firewood for your outdoor fireplace should be stored in a well-ventilated area that’s elevated off the ground.

You can either buy/build a dedicated log store, or it can be more convenient to buy an outdoor fireplace which has an incorporated log store

These types of outdoor fireplaces are highly practical and allow you to keep your firewood tucked away in a neat and tidy fashion.

Safety

Whilst outdoor fireplaces are as safe as any other type of fire or heating appliance, you should always take sensible precautions when using one. 

When using an outdoor fireplace, the sort of safety precautions you should take include: 

  • Clearance – make sure that anything that is potentially flammable, such as wooden garden furniture or parasols are put at a safe distance from the fire.
  • Debris – leaves, twigs and other similar flammable items can easily build up around the entrance to your outdoor fire. Make sure these are cleared away before lighting a fire.
  • Lighting the fire – always light fires in a safe and proper fashion. Whilst it might be tempting to use accelerants such as lighter fluid or petrol, this can be extremely dangerous.
  • Children and pets – as you would with any open flame, ensure that any children and pets are kept a safe distance from the fire at all times.
  • Downwind – it’s always a good idea to check the area that’s immediately downwind from an outdoor fireplace. For example, if you find that the land that is downwind of your fireplace is filled with dead leaves, it’s a good idea to clear them away before lighting the fire. Failure to do so could result in a stray ember causing an outbreak of fire.
  • Extinguishing the fire – always make sure that when you’ve extinguished the fire in your outdoor fireplace, it really is extinguished! You don’t want hot embers blowing out of the firebox to cause a fire. Once the fire is properly extinguished, you should also safely dispose of the ashes (once they’ve cooled down).

Maintenance

If you’ve investing in an outdoor fireplace then you’re going to want to keep it in tip top condition for as long as possible. That’s why regular maintenance and cleaning is so important.

Ideally, you should remove the ashes that have accumulated following every fire. This will help to keep the inside of the firebox in good condition. It’ll also make your life far easier when it comes to lighting your next fire!

It’s important that you also periodically inspect and clean the flue within the fireplace’s chimney. This is because combustible materials such as creosote can build up, which can pose a fire risk.

As your fireplace is going to be situated outside all year round, you should also consider weather-proofing the outside of your fire. 

If you purchase one of our Schiedel outdoor fireplaces, you’ll find that they’re already weather proofed thanks to their insulation and the ability to render the entire outer skin of the fireplace.

The best outdoor fireplaces UK

Now that you’ve read about all the things you need to know when buying an outdoor fireplace, it’s time to take a look at some of the best outdoor fireplace options available to you. 

Schiedel Isokern Garden 500 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 500 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 500 Outdoor Fireplace

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Schiedel has over 75 years of experience designing and manufacturing fireplaces and related heating products, and this experience certainly shows in the Isokern Garden 500. 

Made from natural volcanic pumice that’s sourced from the Hekla Volcano in Iceland, the Isokern Garden 500 is an outdoor fireplace that’ll look spectacular in any outdoor setting.

What’s more, the Isokern Garden 500 has a compact footprint, making it ideal for smaller, tighter gardens and yards. 

This particular fireplace also comes with a log retainer, providing you with a space to safely store logs. It also includes a barbecue grill, making cooking over the fire simple.

Assembly of the Isokern Garden 500 is easy thanks to the fact that it includes everything you need for installation in a single package, including the chimney blocks, firebricks, firebrick mortar and render. If you wish, you can also add extra chimney blocks in order to increase the height of the chimney.

The Isokern Garden 500 is also the perfect option if you want to create a truly unique and original fireplace. Why? Because it can be painted in any decorative pattern you desire.

Finally, this outdoor fireplace is available with optional extra log storage (which sits either side of the firebox), and an optional rain cap.

Schiedel Isokern Garden 950 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 950 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 950 Outdoor Fireplace

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Featuring a large, panoramic firebox, the Schiedel Isokern Garden 950 is the perfect choice if you want an outdoor fireplace that’ll act as a focal point within your garden whilst also providing plenty of heat.

Thanks to the Isokern pumice that is used in the construction of the Isokern Garden 950, this fireplace will quickly reach its optimum operating temperature. The pumice also acts as a fantastic insulation, meaning the fire will retain its heat and radiate warmth long after the fire has been extinguished.

Despite having a large opening on the firebox, the Isokern Garden 950 retains a relatively small overall footprint, meaning it’ll fit even in small gardens or yards. 

Easily assembled, the Isokern Garden 950 can be installed in a freestanding, raised or built against a wall configuration as it is fully load bearing and doesn’t require external support.

The Isokern Garden 950 also comes complete with optional log storage and an optional BBQ grill and rain cap, increasing the functionality and practicality of this highly desirable outdoor fireplace.

Schiedel Isokern Garden 1200 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 1200 Outdoor Fireplace

Schiedel Isokern Garden 1200 Outdoor Fireplace

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If you want Schiedel’s top-of-the-range outdoor fireplace, the Isokern Garden 1200 is it.

The largest of all of the Isokern Garden outdoor fireplaces, the Isokern Garden 1200 features a ‘widescreen’ firebox opening, providing an unparalleled fire viewing experience. 

With a large and imposing presence, this is the fireplace to choose if you want an outdoor fireplace that’ll command attention and create a central point for socialising and mingling in your garden.

Like Schiedel’s other outdoor fireplaces, the Isokern Garden 1200 is made from natural volcanic pumice, meaning it has excellent insulation properties, being quick to light a fire and retaining heat over long periods of time.

Easily assembled, the Isokern Garden 1200 can be purchased with a number of optional extras including a log store, rain cap, and BBQ grill.

Direct Stoves: the home of home heating

If you want to transform your garden and add a spectacular fireplace, then explore the range of outdoor fireplaces we have here at Direct Stoves. 

As the home of home heating, Direct Stoves has one of the largest selection of outdoor heating appliances on the web. 

But, that’s not all.

We also make it easy to buy the outdoor fireplace of your dreams thanks to free mainland UK delivery, 14-day no hassle returns, and a range of finance options to help you spread the cost of your new outdoor fireplace. 

Plus, we know that for many people, buying an outdoor fireplace is a big investment, so if you have any questions or require advice, our expert, friendly sales team is happy to help. 

You can reach our sales team by telephone on 0161 516 5139 or by email at: [email protected]

Shop outdoor fireplaces and other outdoor heating appliances at Direct Stoves now

For more home heating advice, buying guides and information, read the Direct Stoves blog

The Best Log Burners to Use In Your Garden | Why You Should Choose a Premium Fire Pit for Your Garden | Why Burn Kiln Dried Firewood? 

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