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Transform Your Backyard with Hardscape Fire Pits and Fireplace Installation

I'm Kevin Runyon

…and I’ve been the owner of Custom Creations for over 20 years.

I work with clients around Southwest Missouri to create their outdoor vision, while taking into consideration natural limitations like water flow, topography, and long-term functionality.

People ask why I haven’t expanded my business to run multiple crews, and the answer is simple. I expect perfection on every project. By personally managing and working at every job site, I know each client will get the outcome they desire.

I encourage you to set up a consultation to see what we can do for your outdoor space. Unique ideas welcome!

When it comes to upgrading your outdoor living area, few additions can match the allure and functionality of a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These features not only bring a unique aesthetic appeal to your yard but also provide a warm, inviting atmosphere that extends your home’s livable space to the outdoors.

In the world of landscaping, the terms ‘fire pit’ and ‘outdoor fireplace’ often fall under the category of ‘hardscape’. But what exactly is hardscape, and why does it matter when you’re considering fire pit installation or customizing an outdoor fireplace?

Hardscaping refers to the non-living elements of landscaping, such as patios, walkways, and yes – fire pits and fireplaces. In contrast to the softscape elements like plants and trees, hardscaping provides structure and utility to your outdoor space. They form the backbone of your landscape design, giving it shape and guiding its use.

Kevin, the owner and lead landscaper of our company, once said, “A well-designed hardscape is like a setting for a diamond. It enhances the beauty of the softer elements and makes the whole landscape shine.” His first tip for homeowners considering adding a fire feature to their yard is to understand that a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is more than just an add-on; it’s a key part of the overall landscape design that should complement and enhance all the other elements of your yard.

Next, we’ll look into the allure of having fire features in your backyard, the benefits of hardscaping, and why it’s important to consider professional installation services for your fire pit or fireplace.

The Allure of Fire Features in a Backyard

Integrating a fire feature into your backyard design can have transformative effects on your outdoor living area. Whether it’s a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace, these additions can significantly enhance the aesthetics of your yard while simultaneously serving multiple functional purposes.

A backyard fire pit or fireplace can act as the centerpiece of your outdoor living space, drawing family and friends together for a wide variety of activities. Picture roasting marshmallows over the fire on a cool fall evening, telling stories under the stars, or simply enjoying the comforting warmth on a chilly night. There’s a certain magic to these moments, and the soft, mesmerizing glow of the fire only amplifies this sense of enchantment.

Kevin recalls one project where he installed a custom outdoor fireplace for a family in the Ozarks. “They wanted to make their backyard more usable, especially during the cooler months,” he remembers. “After we finished the installation, they told me about all the memorable nights they spent together as a family by the fireplace, watching the stars and creating lifetime memories. It’s a joy to know that our work can help families create such cherished moments.”

But the allure of these fire features extends beyond family fun and memorable nights. They also add a distinctive visual appeal to your yard. Fire pits, whether they’re patio fire pits, garden fire pits, or backyard fire pits, come in a variety of styles and materials to complement your outdoor décor. Similarly, outdoor fireplaces, whether standalone structures or integrated into a covered deck or patio, add an element of sophistication to your exterior design.

Imagine the elegant silhouette of an outdoor patio fireplace against a sunset backdrop, or the inviting glow of a covered porch fireplace on a winter’s night. These features not only enhance your immediate outdoor space but can significantly increase the overall aesthetic appeal and value of your property.

Whether it’s a bonfire pit for your backyard camping adventures, fire rings for your summer cookouts, or a luxurious outdoor fireplace to elevate your patio or deck’s aesthetic appeal, the addition of a fire feature to your landscape is a surefire way to enhance your outdoor living experience. In the next section, we explore the concept of hardscaping and why it’s vital in fire pit and fireplace installation.

Understanding Hardscaping

Hardscaping, as a branch of landscaping, deals with the inanimate, hard elements of an outdoor space. These can include walkways, retaining walls, decks, patios, and, of course, fire pits and fireplaces. Despite not being living features like plants and trees, hardscape elements play a vital role in the overall aesthetics and functionality of your outdoor living area.

For instance, when looking at fire pit installation or building a custom outdoor fireplace, hardscaping becomes the foundation upon which these features stand. The materials used, such as brick, stone, or concrete, contribute to the overall durability and safety of the fire feature. Moreover, the design and placement of these features in relation to other elements in the landscape are crucial for both visual harmony and practical use.

Take an outdoor deck fireplace as an example. When designing the hardscape elements of the deck, factors like the size and position of the fireplace, the material selection, and even the type of fuel it uses (wood, propane, natural gas) all come into play. If correctly executed, the deck fireplace can serve as a stunning focal point that complements the overall design, provides warmth, and encourages social interaction.

Kevin emphasizes the role of hardscaping in successful outdoor fireplace and fire pit design. “When we were working on a project with an outdoor covered patio with a fireplace, we spent a lot of time planning the hardscape elements,” he recalls. “The placement of the fireplace, the choice of stone for the patio, and even the pathway leading to it – every detail was considered. The result was an outdoor space that felt integrated and purposeful.”

Proper hardscaping can also alleviate potential maintenance issues down the line. For instance, a fire pit constructed with high-quality, heat-resistant materials will last longer and stay safer than one built with subpar materials. Similarly, the placement of a fire pit or fireplace should take into account wind direction, proximity to the house, and access to utilities, all aspects of hardscaping planning.

In the following section, we’ll discuss how to choose between a fire pit and an outdoor fireplace and delve into the factors you should consider when making this decision.

Fire Pits vs. Fireplaces: What to Choose?

When it comes to enhancing your outdoor living area with a fire feature, you might find yourself torn between installing a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. Both options can offer warmth, aesthetic appeal, and a focal point for social gatherings, but they each come with unique considerations. Here’s what you need to think about when choosing the right fire feature for your outdoor space.

Space and Layout 

The first factor to consider is the amount of space available and the layout of your yard. Fire pits, especially smaller patio fire pits or garden fire pits, can work well in more compact spaces. In contrast, fireplaces tend to be larger structures that may be more suitable for expansive yards or as part of a larger outdoor living area, such as an outdoor covered patio with a fireplace.

Purpose and Function

Consider how you envision using your fire feature. If you’re picturing cozy nights with family gathered around, roasting marshmallows, a fire pit with its 360-degree access might be ideal. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a statement piece that also provides privacy and acts as a wind barrier, an outdoor fireplace could be your answer.

Aesthetic and Style 

Your personal style and the aesthetic of your home should also guide your decision. A rustic bonfire pit or fire pit rings might align with a casual, laid-back style, whereas a deck fireplace or an outside fireplace integrated into a wall can deliver a more formal, sophisticated vibe.


Installation costs for fire features can vary based on their complexity, materials, and size. Typically, fire pits can be less expensive than outdoor fireplaces, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Custom designs, high-end materials, and the addition of features like gas lines can increase the cost.

Kevin has this example: “We once designed a small patio fireplace for a client who was looking for an intimate, cozy setting in a relatively tight space. Initially, they were leaning towards a fire pit, but when we considered the space constraints and their desire for a cozy ambiance, a fireplace made more sense. They were thrilled with the result, and it became their favorite spot for enjoying a glass of wine in the evening.”

As you consider these factors, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether you choose a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace will ultimately depend on your unique needs, preferences, and the specifics of your outdoor space. The next section will guide you through the process of installing these fire features.

Why Professional Installation Matters

When adding a fire feature to your outdoor living space, the temptation to tackle it as a DIY project might be high. But there are compelling reasons to opt for professional installation, especially when it comes to fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.

Fire features not only need to look good and be functional; they must also be safe. They require proper construction and installation to ensure they can handle high temperatures and, in some cases, gas connections. Faulty installations can pose serious risks, such as fires or gas leaks.

Another crucial aspect is the appropriate placement of these features in your yard. You need to ensure safe distances from other structures, consider wind direction, and plan for adequate seating space around the feature. Professional landscapers have the knowledge and experience to address these considerations effectively.

Professional installation also offers you access to the best materials and design options. Landscaping companies often have access to a wide variety of high-quality, durable materials and can offer you custom design options that might be challenging to accomplish on your own.

Our family-owned company has been serving Springfield, MO and surrounding areas for more than 20 years, specializing in both the artistry of landscaping design and the science of proper installation. We have seen instances where inexperienced installers have inadvertently exacerbated drainage issues or placed fire features in potentially hazardous locations. Our focus on quality ensures not only an aesthetically pleasing result but also a safe and long-lasting fire feature. For us, customer satisfaction is the top priority, and we consider our job done only when you are delighted with your transformed outdoor living area.

Safety Considerations for Fire Pits and Outdoor Fireplaces

Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces bring warmth and charm to your outdoor space, but they also require consideration of certain safety measures to ensure that everyone can enjoy the fire without any risks.


As mentioned earlier, the location of your fire feature is crucial. It should be a safe distance from your house and any other structures or overhanging trees. It should also be placed on a non-flammable surface such as stone, concrete, or brick.

Fuel Type

Whether you choose wood, propane, or natural gas as your fuel source, each comes with its own safety considerations. For example, if you use wood, the fire pit or fireplace needs a spark screen. For propane or natural gas, professional installation is crucial to ensure safe and correct setup.

Supervision and Control 

Never leave a fire unattended, and always ensure that it’s fully extinguished once you’re finished. If you have children, teach them fire safety rules, and always supervise them when the fire feature is in use.

Safety Equipment 

Having a fire extinguisher or a garden hose handy is always a good idea whenever you’re using your fire pit or fireplace.

Maintenance of Fire Pits and Outdoor Fireplaces

Once your fire pit or outdoor fireplace is installed, it’s essential to understand how to maintain it properly to ensure its longevity and safe use. Regular maintenance also keeps your fire feature looking as beautiful as the day it was installed.

Regular Cleaning

After each use, ensure that you remove ashes once they’ve cooled. For gas fireplaces or fire pits, check for and remove any debris that may have accumulated.


Regularly inspect your fire feature for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks, erosion, or other damage that could compromise safety or performance.


When not in use, consider covering your fire pit or outdoor fireplace to protect it from the elements.

Professional Servicing

For gas fireplaces or fire pits, it’s recommended to have them professionally serviced from time to time to check the gas lines and other components.

Other Options for Outdoor Fire Features

For homeowners who aren’t trying to create a permanent hardscape feature, creating a cozy outdoor fire area doesn’t need to be out of reach. You can still experience the warmth, charm, and appeal of a fire feature in your yard without breaking the bank. Here are some options:

Portable Fire Pit 

High-quality, portable steel fire pits offer an excellent, budget-friendly alternative to stationary, built-in fire features. Portable fire pits come in various sizes and styles, allowing you to select one that best suits your outdoor space and personal taste. The main advantage is their mobility – you can move the fire pit as needed, depending on your gathering size or changing outdoor conditions. Pair your portable fire pit with comfortable, durable lawn chairs for flexible seating that can be arranged in a circle around the fire. This option allows you to create a warm and inviting focal point in your yard without a significant financial commitment.

DIY Stone Seating

If you’re up for a bit of a project, consider building your own stone seating around your fire pit. Building stone benches or arranging large, flat stones in a circular pattern around your fire pit can create a sturdy, permanent seating area that complements the natural aesthetic of your outdoor space. Add some outdoor cushions for extra comfort, and you’ve got an attractive, functional outdoor living area at a fraction of the cost of built-in bench seating.

Making Memories with Fire Pits and Fireplaces

In the end, the true value of an outdoor fire feature lies in the experiences it facilitates. From late-night conversations around a glowing fire pit to tranquil evenings beside an outdoor fireplace, these features offer much more than aesthetic appeal. They are conduits for connection, gathering points that draw friends and family together and form a backdrop for memories that will last a lifetime.

As you consider adding a fire pit or fireplace to your yard, think not only of the design and installation but also of the countless moments of joy that the feature will bring. These aren’t just landscape additions; they’re gateways to memorable experiences, all under the open sky and the beautiful Ozark stars.

Whether you desire a simple backyard fire pit or a grand outdoor fireplace, each fire feature holds the promise of unforgettable gatherings and cozy nights. They’re an investment in your property, certainly, but more importantly, they’re an investment in the shared moments and cherished memories that define our lives.

With careful planning, expert installation, and proper maintenance, your fire pit or fireplace can serve as the heart of your outdoor living space for years to come. We hope this guide has provided you with a helpful starting point on your journey to enhancing your outdoor living area.

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Download our free eBook: 21 Outdoor Living Ideas

Download our free eBook:
21 Outdoor Living Ideas

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