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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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DESIGN Paul Hendershot Design, Ojai, CA (paulhendershotdesign.com 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 (eldoradostone.com or 800/925-1491) and Cultured Stone (culturedstone.com 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.
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:390
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