Light up your summer nights
From hundreds of dollars to thousands, five ways to make sitting around outdoors a whole lot more cozy.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Winter may be long gone and autumn a ways off, but that doesn't mean you can't bask in the radiance of a nice fire.
There's something about the glow of a fire that inspires life's romantic moments. Fancy dinners. Romantic outdoor getaways under the stars. Intimate strolls on the beach.
"When people think of fireplaces, they think of the ambiance that an indoor fireplace gives you," says Leslie Wheeler, spokesperson for the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
Leaning toward creating elaborate lighting effects, people are looking to bring that ambiance to their outdoor spaces - in ways much more sophisticated than a backyard campfire.
Here are five options.
PR Imports Propane Chimenea-Patio Heater Think of it as a little chimney, about four feet tall. Perfect for small backyards or fickle decorators who are always changing things around, this 75 lb. terracotta chimenea with an antique rust finish is heated by a hidden propane tank.
The hollow spout on top allows smoke to escape while the bottom half, with a layer of fire rock resembles a mini kiln that releases 20,000 BTU. Cleanup is virtually non-existent because there is no leftover ash. Home Depot: $295
Tiverton 2006 Fireplace Made from steel, this black outdoor fireplace, equipped with a log rack and poker placed inside the 2.5 ft. deep pit, looks like it should be in your basement but is made specifically for outdoor enjoyment.
At about six feet tall, its contemporary design is simple enough to blend in with existing outdoor furniture and strong enough to withstand the harshest weather. An ash drawer in the stand makes for a quick cleanup. Target: $300
Copper Cauldron Firepit A campfire in a big fancy bowl. The hand-hammered copper basin is almost three feet in diameter and about two feet high, so it's big enough to be the centerpiece of a large gathering.
You need to brush up on your scouting skills in order to start the fire, but cleanup is as easy as dumping the ashes in the trashcan. When not in use, the cauldron is an attractive way to store extra wood. Smith & Hawken: $399
Copper Top Firepit with Logs Faux logs and flames, powered by a 20 lb. liquid propane tank is the centerpiece of this ceramic tiled table. A bottom drawer slides out easily from the stand, making gas tank replacement a breeze.
Four chairs come with the table, enough for an intimate dinner or cocktail gathering. Frontgate: $1,295
Custom-Made Firepit For the serious backyard enthusiast. "Fire in landscape is an emerging thing," says landscape designer Daniel Owens who has been featured on HGTV's "Curb Appeal."
A custom firepit should be about 18 inches high so that errant sparks have room to burn out before reaching those sitting nearby.
For those who prefer intimate gatherings around the fire, go with a diameter of around 18 inches. For those who like to entertain the whole gang, a diameter of 30 inches should be enough.
The most common materials for firepits are stone and concrete blocks. Stone accents, like slate, can be added for a more refined feel. Those who don't want to build the fire manually will need to hire a plumber to set up a gas line for quick ignition. Landscape designer: $2,000 to $4,000