Dispelling Myths about Outdoor Design #1- Corner Fireplaces

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Building a Fireplace in a Corner at 45° “Wastes” Space- Not Saves It

Myth 1: You need a specially designed “corner fireplace” to put a fireplace in a corner.

One prevalent misconception in outdoor space design is the existence of a specially designed corner fireplace. Nothing is further from the truth. You can add superfluous outer walls to a firebox to make it “fit” in a corner in different ways, but the firebox and chimney design are the same as a standard firebox and chimney. Therefore, you end up wasting space behind and to the sides af a fireplace crammed in the corner at 45° angle.

  • Common Belief: There are fireplaces specifically designed for corner placement.
  • Reality: Any regular fireplace can be turned 45° for corner installation.

If you must put your fireplace in a corner, please use the measurements as a guide to help you lay out and position your firebox. We do not recommend caddy-corner placement to save space but only for a design choice. Note the lost triangles of space behind and beside the fireplace in the corner. Ironically, the larger footprint allows for more seating room as the front of the fireplace is longer and, therefore, pulled further forward from the corner. This setup is more functional but wastes more space.

Many people are under the impression that corner fireplaces are a distinct category of products designed specifically for corner use. In truth, a corner fireplace is typically just a standard fireplace positioned at a 45-degree angle. This revelation often broadens design possibilities without the need for specialized equipment.

Myth 2: You’ll save tons of space by putting a fireplace in a corner.

  • Perceived Benefit: Corner placement seems like a space-saving strategy.
  • Actual Outcome: This configuration can lead to underutilized and awkwardly shaped outdoor spaces.

Turning a fireplace 45 degrees might appear to be a clever way to conserve space, but this often isn’t the case. The corner placement can lead to inefficient use of the area, making it feel more confined and less inviting. It’s totally acceptable to have a small patio. There are plenty of ways to make small patios functional- even with large features such as outdoor fireplaces. What you want to avoid is a cramped patio space.

This patio is only 14′ deep. Yet the space does not feel cramped- even when the fireplace stretches from one side to the other.

Myth 3: More space can be saved by adding a corner grill station to a Corner Fireplace

  • Adding Connected Grill Stations MUST save even more space: Incorporating grill stations alongside a corner fireplace is a way to combine features with a potential for saving space. But it is better used for layout flexibility. It does not work in a corner setup.
  • Space and Functionality Issues Multiply: This setup can crowd the space, uncomfortably mixing the cooking and lounging areas.
Adding grill stations to a corner fireplace further cramps the space making functional use challenging.

An extension of this misconception is that you can save more space by adding connected grill stations — “wings” with grills and ovens — to a corner fireplace. This arrangement may seem efficient but usually results in a cramped space. Guests gathered around the fireplace may find themselves uncomfortably close to the cooking area, disrupting both the relaxation and cooking experiences. In reality, separating these two features gives you more placement options. This flexibility allows you more freedom to set up a small patio where space and layout options are a challenge.

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Navigating Functionality and Space Concerns

  • Balancing Needs: Consider the practical aspects of lounging and cooking in your design.
  • Visual Clarity: Keep the fireplace as a distinct focal point without overcrowding it with functional elements like grills.

When designing an outdoor space, it’s crucial to balance aesthetics with functionality. A fireplace should serve as a comfortable gathering point, and its purpose shouldn’t be overshadowed by integrating too many functions into a confined area. Maintaining clear zones for cooking and lounging ensures that both activities can be enjoyed without encroaching on each other. This is especially important where space is limited. In these cases, it is almost best to separate the two spaces to give you more flexibility in placement so you can maximize the function of your small outdoor space.

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Conclusion: Smart Design Over Space Myths In outdoor space design, it’s essential to debunk myths and understand the realities of space usage. A corner fireplace, while an option, isn’t always a space-saving solution, especially when combined with additional elements like grill stations. Thoughtful design, which considers the separate needs of cooking and relaxation areas, will lead to a more enjoyable and functional outdoor living space. Remember, good design is about smartly utilizing space, not just about fitting everything into it.

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