Q. What questions should consumers pose to themselves before having outdoor fireplaces or outdoor fire pits installed, especially as relates to cost?
A. One of the main considerations is to think about usage needs and wishes. Ask: How do I want to use this living space in my yard and its outdoor fire pit or outdoor fireplace? Will it be for quiet, cozy evenings with the family, or will it be used for large parties, etc.?
What is the intended purpose of the feature? How high am I willing to go in terms of cost? How much ongoing maintenance do I want? Do I want to use natural wood or faux logs? If I have kids, would I be using it for family time? How much time will I really spend out there? What style am I the most attracted to?
I would highly recommend looking in magazines for ideas.
Q. Provide us with some idea of the costs of typical outdoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits, both low-end and high-end.
A. After determining the use of the space, decide what price is feasible to pay. A built-in outdoor fire pit can reach $5000 and higher in cost, while a portable type may only cost $150. Consider a more permanent option with high-design, given the fact that it will add value to the home.
- Retail fire pit - $200 - 3,000.00
- Custom created fire pit - $1,000 - $15,000
- Retail fireplace $3,500 - $7,500
- Custom created fireplace - $6,000 - $35,000
Q. Do you consider the installation of outdoor fireplaces or outdoor fire pits to be viable DIY projects for those who are handy?
A. A basic outdoor fire pit can be created by someone that is a minimally capable do-it yourselfer. A higher-end type or an outdoor fireplace would require someone with almost contractor-like ability, and the desire to do a very labor-intensive, heavy-lifting project. Anything that requires natural gas must be done by a licensed professional. We recommend having the larger scale projects or higher-end jobs done by a professional -– for both your sanity and your wallet!
Q. OK, then what should consumers look for in hiring professionals to install outdoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits?
A. Consulting a landscape professional or design / build contractor is always recommended. Make sure the landscape professional or contractor’s qualifications match your goals. Ask for photos of similar projects. Expect the chosen professional to walk the site with you prior to concept development and work with them to provide solid answers to their pre-installation questions about you, your family and the site.
And we can't discuss hiring professionals to install outdoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits without mentioning three words: referrals, referrals, referrals! Some more things to look for are:
- Good standing with the Better Business Bureau
- Evidence of lots of experience and excellent masonry skills
- Photos or actual jobs you can go see, so you can observe their quality first hand
The professional landscape company should clearly describe the entire design and installation process to help the homeowner come to a full understanding. They should mention fireproof products and a licensed professional for the gas connections!