The UK summer is never as long or as warm as we hope it might be. It seems like we have perhaps a month of the year where we can comfortably spend the evening in the garden and even then a cardigan or a jumper is required.
A fireplace in the garden can be the perfect antidote to a chilly summer evening and can even be used throughout the year for those of us who like to brave the elements. Add to this the fact that they are an attractive feature for a garden or decking area. Both stylish and practical must be the perfect combination for any purchase for the home.
Things to consider before you buy
- Think about where your fireplace will sit and how much space you have. Remember that it is important to keep children well away, so having it in the middle of the garden might not be the best idea. Consider the direction of the smoke, so avoid having to sit downwind.
- Wood will also need to be cut to the size of your fireplace which can add extra cost or extra effort for your wood chopper. For this reason, the size of your fireplace should be considered carefully.
- A large firebox is almost always the best option. You can make a small fire in a large fire bowl, but not vice versa.
- Some fireboxes are very heavy. Consider the ground it will sit on.
Types of fireboxes
- Aluminium, will be easy to maintain and lighter to move. It can be stored out of the way during the winter and brought out when needed.
- Steel or copper need more maintenance and will not last as long as aluminium or cast iron.
- Clay fireplaces are very attractive, but they are not very sturdy. The bottoms of clay chimneas are known to simply fall apart without warning. For this reason they must be placed on a tiled or concrete surface.
- Cast iron will last a long time, but is very heavy and it may not be practical to move around.
- Surround view fireboxes are usually round, easy to move and easy to tip over. For this reason precautions should be taken.
- For a more permanent structure, choose a firebowl which can be placed into the ground. These often come with a lid to prevent raining from building up. They are safer when it comes to children, but a guard should be used if in any doubt.
- All metals will require regular cleaning and painting to ensure they do not rust. Most will need replacing once rust has set in.
- Copper in particular will turn green very quickly. This is hard to remove and should be accepted as part of the look.
- Aluminium will not warp or rust and therefore has a good long lifespan. It simply requires a quick clean to keep it looking attractive.
- Clay fireplaces should be checked often for cracks and loose bottoms.