Between 2020 and 2021, there was a major shift in the housing market, according to the Homelight Agent Insights Survey for End of Year 2021, pushing people to really focus on their at-home comfort spaces rather than looking for entertainment outside in the community. As a result, backyard amenities from pools to gazebos flourished in the market, with many buyers shopping with an eye to how they could use their backyard for entertaining but also for daily life to unwind and enjoy themselves. According to the Homelight End of Year Insights Report, the feature that became a top-of-the-list addition to any home was an outdoor fireplace.
These fireplaces are no rusty campfire pit, but rather a hardscape element of the backyard, usually done in stone or concrete, with designated seating and often a special patio. Sometimes these fireplaces are even actually gas or wood-burning fireplaces behind glass, set into a patio column or wall to create a visual impression. Either way, outdoor fireplaces deliver on three key metrics when it comes to an outdoor entertaining plan.
There’s no denying that a flickering fire is a mesmerizing thing to see. An outdoor fireplace that has been carefully chosen to fit the decor of your patio will add to the look of the space, but it is also an asset for lighting, providing warm orange light rather than more sterile white-lightbulb looks. Choosing an outdoor fireplace and placing it strategically so that it adds a glow in a part of the backyard that didn’t already have sufficient lighting can transform the space and make a larger part of it suitable for entertaining.
Outdoor fireplaces in areas that get cold during the winter extend the usable timeframe for a backyard. Fireplaces cast off surprisingly large amounts of heat, and for the early spring and late fall months, this heat can be the difference between enjoying a cozy evening around the fire with friends and getting too chilly and needing to go inside. Many families were able to host more outdoor gatherings for longer into the year because of their outdoor fireplaces, even as indoor/outdoor parties and hosting became more and more common in 2021. Having this outdoor fireplace for warmth can be a major selling point as well, if you go to sell the home!
While many families envision a backyard party as boisterous and exciting, there are usually a few guests who enjoy a quiet spot for reflection or one-on-one conversation, and the outdoor fireplace provides this benefit in spades. By having a communal focal point, i.e. looking at the ever-moving flames, conversations can naturally ebb and flow. If you’ve ever gone camping and seen families spend literal hours tending the fire and chatting intermittently, you know about the power of the warmth and light of a fire for bringing people together. Modern outdoor fireplaces make it easy to start and maintain the fire with minimal upkeep and cleaning, but there are still a few little tasks to do, which can sometimes be a nice way to take a break from chatter.
No matter what you’re looking for in a backyard entertaining space, there’s a way to fit an outdoor fireplace into your plans that will boost beauty, warmth, and connection among your family and guests.