Fire features become popular amenities for outdoor living

Fire features are outdoor amenities that can be enjoyed all year long. Whether it’s the focal point of the setting or an accent, fire features are among the most sought-after trends in outdoor design.

The vast array of fire-centric amenities makes it easy for anyone with any size space to add a dramatic touch to their outdoor area. From compact tabletop oil lamps to precast portable fireplaces, fire pits and tables, as well as custom built-in units, homeowners can find a fire feature to meet their budget, space and desired outcome.

“Fire features are a unique design element for an outdoor living environment where the style can either complement the current architectural vernacular of one’s home or provide a sense of personality that reflects their trendy lifestyle,” said Kurt Kraisinger, president of Lorax Design Group in Overland Park, Kansas. “Often the goal is to match the ‘theme’ of the overall project, thus detailing and material/finish selections is very important. Depending on the style of the project, a fire feature may be clad with wood, tile, concrete, stone or steel. The possibilities are limitless.”

Lorax Design Group specializes in custom exterior designs. According to Kraisinger, there are many ways to incorporate fire into a design, whether it is for comfort, aesthetics or simple functionality.

“Often our clients are looking for something one-off — custom yet a design that complements the other portions of the project. Lorax Design Group likes custom features as it gives them an opportunity to design something that will personalize the space for their clients,” he said. “It also allows for an opportunity to incorporate a new material to a project that needs a point of interest.

“Knowing how a client plans to entertain is always key when our team designs an outdoor environment that utilizes fire. Is the fire a focal point or used for warmth? Does it need to sit four people or 12?”

Budget is another criterion Kraisinger verifies before designing a master plan for a client’s outdoor living area. “If the budget warrants, we would design a custom fire feature with costs ranging between $8,000 to $20,000-plus. For clients with a lighter budget, we provide information about the many off-the-shelf manufactured fire feature units that are more readily available in the marketplace.”

Kraisinger explained that the off-the-shelf units have been pre-engineered and assembled with budget in mind. The ready-to-install units typically include all the necessary elements required for a working feature: enclosure, fire tray, burner, igniter and fire media.

Some options to consider when selecting a fire unit are fuel, operating systems and fire media. The most important is the choice of fuel. Will you be utilizing natural gas, propane, wood or lamp oil (tiki torch fuel)? Each method has its advantages, depending on the intent of the fire unit and the resources readily available in your outdoor space.

“Wood-burning units are less upfront cost yet requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep,” Kraisinger said, “whereas plumbed gas-burning features cost more upfront yet provide flexibility for families that desire less maintenance and immediate satisfaction at the push of a button.”

The next option to consider is manual controls or automation.

“The hottest feature in fire is automation,” said Bob Roman, founder and president of Fire by Design, a Las Vegas-based developer and manufacturer of automated fire for the outdoors. “Automated units allow homeowners the ability to turn on their fire from a smart device or computer.”

A former commercial pilot with a degree in aeronautical engineering, Roman turned fire “guru” in 2008. An installer of fire features in residential and commercial applications, he became frustrated with the components currently in the market.

“We had challenges with wind and rain interfering with the flame, causing flameouts,” Roman said. “The gas would continue to flow, creating a safety hazard.”

Seeking a solution, he worked with an engineer to develop a more sustainable component. The result is an automated system that is patent pending and meets American National Standards Institute and CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association) standards.

The automated units continuously monitor the presence of a flame. If the fire blows out due to weather or other interference, the system will shut off the gas and reignite itself.

“We are constantly innovating the technical and mechanical elements, redesigning systems to make them more compact, efficient and safer,” Roman said.

The third option is the fire medium. Outside of the wood-burning fire element, the fire medium is a decorative substance used to fill the container and hide the fire ring/bar.

Fire media come in various materials. The most popular are lava rocks, tempered fire glass and ceramic logs. Within each of these categories, you’ll find a vast selection of shapes, colors and sizes.

Trends in fire features have evolved dramatically, Kraisinger said. “It used to be that a fire feature was nothing more than a 4-foot diameter wood-burning fire pit made from cinder block and stone veneer. Today the fire features we design are one-of-a-kind design elements, all ranging in size and shape while being constructed of unique, hard-to-find materials such as custom riveted copper.”

He also sees a big trend in treating fire features as furniture. “Many of the features we design act as a coffee table or a low dining table for clients to entertain with family or friends.”

Another company offering fire features is Zodiac Pool Systems. It recently expanded its product line with the acquisition of Grand Effects, a company that specializes in custom fire and water features for pools and spas.

Grand Effects’ products are compatible with propane or natural gas and offer manual operation or automation via a home or pool operating system such as Zodiacs’ Jandy iAqualink. One of Grand Effects’ unique fire elements is the Helix Torch that incorporates “venturi technology” to create a spiraling flame.

Fire by Design and Zodiac-Grand Effects products are available through distributors and licensed contractors such as pool builders, landscape architects and custom homebuilders.

Joseph M. Vassallo is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning pool designer. President of Paragon Pools, Vassallo has co-authored five pool design books and is currently a featured designer on HGTV.com. He can be reached at 702-400-0679.

Life
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
ad-infeed_1x2_1
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing