When safely contained, ventilated, and monitored, an outdoor fireplace is a great addition to a porch. Here's some advice.
- Find the right place in your yard, preferably a spot that's either secluded or near something of interest, such as a rock outcropping or water feature. Denote that area with different paving materials, such as slate or smooth flagstone.
- For brick and stone chimneys, building codes dictate a host of guidelines. Unless you're well-versed with masonry, such structures are best left to a professional builder. Also, check with your local fireplace dealer for prefabricated outdoor units.
- Freestanding metal fireplaces or earthen chimineas are handy for small outdoor fires. Just don't place them on wooden decks or other flammable surfaces.
"Comfortable Outdoor Porch" is from the September 2003 issue of Southern Living.