Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits rise in popularity – Orange County Register

As Southern California recovers from scorching heat, some of us may find it hard to believe that fall is only a week away. Others, however, already have their sights set on building or sprucing up outdoor fireplaces/fire pits in anticipation of entertaining and cooler days ahead.

Not only can these additions transform your backyard from drab to fab, but with summer unofficially over, bargains may be available for the taking.

“People are fascinated with outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, and rightly so,” said Donald Miller, showroom manager of Ferguson Enterprises and Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in San Diego. “They provide a focal point for the outdoor space that you can easily design around. In the case of fire pits, they are surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to other parts of hardscape outdoors, where outdoor space can be so large and difficult to design,’’

Expansive areas once dominated by grass now feature fireplaces, fire pits and fire tables. All take the idea of a campfire to a new level. While wood-burning fixtures add the smell of the outdoors, many homeowners opt for newer gas versions that are easier on the environment and meet local air quality restrictions.

Fire pits increasingly have become an easy and affordable way to heat things up outside. These pits – actually they resemble boxes or oversized stainless steel bowls –  seem to invite people to gather around them while adding an intriguing twist to outdoor lighting. And while fire elements are trending for backyards, they have also become popular additions to condominium complexes and other shared spaces.

“What we found is that fire features offer a third space for people,” said Duane Border, principal with Duane Border Design in downtown Los Angeles. “The first is home, the second is work and the third is the social space you find in multifamily projects. They let you get out of your smaller space so you can enjoy the outside. Just like moths, people are definitely drawn to a…

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