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Get cracklin’: Tips, suggestions for outdoor fireplaces and pits in Arizona

(AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com, Chris Clark)

Outdoor fire pits and fireplaces are the perfect setting for mild autumn evenings in your backyard or patio. Here are some suggestions for each option, plus tips on staying safe when you light them up:

Outdoor fireplaces

Have a quality contractor build a fireplace into an existing wall, then add benches and a mantel. Homeowners can also build fireplaces from scratch or by using kits, including some that have stone masonry.

  • To get fire into the fireplace, extend a gas line from your house under the patio or build a cabinet near the fireplace that holds a propane canister. Some homeowners even have small propane tanks underground to fuel the flames.
  • With any fire pit or a fireplace, you want to be sure that all the work – the gas line or propane tank – is done according to the building code in your city or county. Only a licensed professional – fireplace installer or plumber – can work with gas lines.
  • With fireplaces as with any source of flames, be especially careful with children. You wouldn’t leave a youngster alone around a pool; don’t leave children alone around a fireplace or fire pit.

Outdoor fire pits

Fire pits are a great low-cost alternative. Build one yourself with a kit or have a landscaper design one for you. You can buy portable models as well.

  • Make sure the site for the fire pit is level, especially for portable units. Keep fires at least 10 to 20 feet away from plants.
  • Fire pits topped off with glass beads or stones, manufactured to withstand the heat of fire, are very popular. Don’t substitute glass beads from a craft store they aren’t fire-treated and will create a big mess and safety hazard.
  • These pits can be fired up with natural gas or via a propane tank – just like a fireplace. Be sure to build to code. If you use gas or propane, you need a shut-off key for safety purposes just as with a fireplace.

For inspiration, visit Rosie-Certified Partner Belgard Hardscape Pavers’ website for some great examples of both outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.

For more tips, help and information for your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at RosieontheHouse.com.

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com, Arizona’s most trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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