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Heat up your patio: an outdoor fire is an invitation to linger outside long after dusk. Choose one of these three looks, from colorful and contemporary to subtle and sustainable.

THE STRONG GEOMETRY of this L-shaped fireplace and grill in Los Angeles becomes even more graphic in vivid tangerine. Architect Alejandro Ortiz based his family's natural ember grill on South American barbecues.


DESIGN Alejandro Ortiz Architects, Los Angeles (310/313-4611)

Courtyard enclosure

The 6-foot-long firebox, with its cantilevered chimney top, shields the master bedroom from the kitchen patio and creates an intimate space just off the kitchen.

Sectional-style seating

A 5-foot-long built-in bench abuts a corner of the fireplace base, with throw pillows to soften the dramatic lines.

Grill two ways

The gas-fired barbecue next to the bench is the perfect solution for busy weeknights. For more leisurely cooking outdoors, the firebox's low-slung grate rests atop hot embers and has a V-shaped profile to catch grease.


A DESERT ARROYO was the inspiration for this gas-fed firepit, which Scottsdale homeowner and architect Perry Becker converted from a concrete planter.


FIREPIT DESIGN Perry Becker, Perlman Architects, Scottsdale, AZ (480/951-5900)

LANDSCAPE DESIGN Michael Dollin, Urban Earth Design, Phoenix (602/285-0214)

Native stone wall

This feature provides a handy perch and helps maintain the open feel. Broad steps act as amphitheater-like seating.


Eco-friendly option

Natural gas is far cleaner than burning wood, and is a great option in areas with concerns about air quality or for fireplaces that function primarily as visual elements.

ELEMENTAL MATERIALS like river stone lend a weathered, time-less look to what is actually new construction. This design in Santa Ynez, California, screens an in-ground hot tub from view.


DESIGN Paul Hendershot Design, Ojai, CA ( or 805/646-7199)

Living-room layout

The traditional furniture and formal arrangement create a sheltered nook in the vast outdoors.

Manufactured stone

Manmade stone is easier to work with (it bonds easily to a frame of concrete blocks) and is less expensive than real stone. Eldorado Stone ( or 800/925-1491) and Cultured Stone ( or 800/255-1727) both make realistic veneers.

Burn smart

Wood-burning fireplaces are slowly being legislated out of existence because of air quality and wildfire concerns. Be sure to use only well-seasoned hardwood or wax-and-sawdust logs, and screen the chimney to prevent sparks.

Burn clean

For a more eco-conscious alternative, consider building or retrofitting with natural gas and a ceramic or cement log setup.

Evoke a traditional hearth.
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Title Annotation:At home outdoors
Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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