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Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits let you enjoy the outdoors all year long
The outdoor display at J&C Stoneworks in Cumming also has a sink and other outdoor grills. - photo by Tom Reed

Imagine enjoying the cool night air in late winter or early spring nestled snugly in front of your outdoor fire.

Whether it’s adding a small fire pit to your patio or installing a massive outdoor fireplace, there are many options perfect for any outdoor room.

It’s a home trend that stems from vacations , said Jim Blume of Athens Pool and Spa, and an experience people later want to replicate.

"People are seeing them a lot at resort areas as they get out, and they like to bring a little piece of that home," said Blume, the company’s owner. "So if they’ve just got back from a place that has this real nice amenity area, and beside the pool there’s somebody out there grilling and there’s a fireplace you can sit by and a hot tub you can get it in, I think that they are just trying to recreate a bit of paradise in their own backyard."

Plus, the outdoor fire pit or fireplace just makes the outdoors more fun.

"I have a little chimenea at my house and we have a blast," he said. "I have grandkids, so when they come over ... they all love to get around it and roast marshmallows.

"There’s enough time of the year here where it’s comfortable enough to sit around a fire. There’s a pretty long season for that kind of thing."

But there are a few things you need to think about before deciding on your outdoor fireplace. Like choosing gas or wood-burning, constructing a fireplace or a fire pit, using brick or stone — the options for the structure seem endless.

"The main thing to think about is what kind of outdoor fireplace that you want," said Dan Rosenbaum, a mason in Athens for 20 years. "Do you want a real masonry outdoor fireplace or do you want an insert that burns gas? That’s the No. 1 thing right there.

"Then how much do you want to spend? They go anywhere. Typically for an outdoor fireplace — a regular fireplace, not a fire pit — will usually start at $4,000 to $5,000 and the sky’s the limit from there."

The outdoor fireplace, Rosenbaum said, is a beautiful and useful addition to an outdoor room — which also is functional.

"It does depend on how much you plan on using it, but it does function as something to look at. Or are you using it actually for a source of heat when you get out of the pool or to stand by and stay warm," he said.

"The longest lasting is the masonry fireplace, where you do everything — real brick and all and the inside of it has no metal — it is all concrete brick, block or stone."

George Cano of J&C Stoneworks in Cumming said he has been getting frequent calls for outdoor fireplaces and grills. His business specializes in stone and brick fireplaces and other outdoor amenities.

"In the last five years we started building a lot and selling a lot. Every day we get calls about a chimney and the grill," said Cano, who designs, builds and sells the stone and brick at his company. "Just the fire pit, 20 inches high, 5 feet radial, is about $1,600 with stone on the sides, stone on the top and fire bricks inside."

The fire pit is even equipped with a grill top for grilling meals outdoors.

Choices like rock, stone or brick are popular now to cover the fireplace. Stone varieties include Tennessee stack stone, flagstone, brick and river rock.

"I tell people to look in magazines and find a fireplace that you like, and we’ll try to duplicate it by the picture," Rosenbaum said. "We can do virtually anything if you want to spend the money."