“A fireplace in Florida?” you say.

We at ICI Homes say a resounding, “Yes!”Fire Features

Outdoor fire pits and fireplaces are an ever-popular element in outdoor living spaces. They’re also a timeless design feature. In fact, gathering around dancing flames is a timeless tradition, and the crackling conversation, calming effect and perhaps some toasty marshmallows are pretty nice too.

But can you do this in Florida? Absolutely. The Sunshine State’s comfortable winters are punctuated by occasional chilly days, and cooler autumn and early-spring evenings are perfect times to light a match or gas flame.

Even after the cooling effects of a late summer thunderstorm, everyone’s game for some homemade backyard S’mores, right?

Follow along as we explain how to live like a Floridian with your outdoor fire feature.

Fire pit or fireplace?

Consider your scale. If you’re building a larger custom home with us at ICI Homes, your outdoor living space might be larger. Your fire feature shouldn’t be the neighborhood bonfire, but you’ll want something big enough for a sizable group.

Conversely, a fire feature can be as small as a decorative glow between two benches.

What’s the difference between a fireplace and a fire pit?

A fireplace is exactly what you think. It’s usually a more permanent feature, either built into an exterior wall or as a standalone structure. Another option is a smaller, portable fireplace such as a chiminea, the stove-like, terra cotta patio staple that typically sits on an iron stand and can be moved.

A fire pit is exactly that — a reinforced area built into the ground of your outdoor living space or an open firebox or container on a stand that’s also portable.

Fire pits and fireplaces can burn gas or wood.

Focal point or accent?

You decide. Busy outdoor living spaces — think a pool, summer kitchen and badminton net all in the same backyard— may leave little room for a fire feature. It might be best as a small area safely out of traffic, with several comfy seats to cozy up to it.

On the other hand, turning your fire feature into a focal point leaves no doubts where you and likely guests, prefer to be. A brilliant fire — even a small one — lights up the dusk and evening and provides warmth and a calming atmosphere. And potential S’mores, of course.

What else can you do with them?

One design flourish is incorporating water with your fire feature.

Framing each side of a built-in fireplace with fountains is both a theatrical touch and rife with soothing sounds. You get the splash of the fountains and crackling flames to illuminate the water feature after dark. Enjoy both together or one at a time depending on preference and time of year.

Another possibility is turning a firebox into a tabletop. Elevate the firebox at seated or bar height and encircle it with counters. This might be more of a custom feature, but also completely practical if your outdoor living space is small, and you don’t want to give it all up for a fireplace or ground-level fire pit.

Obviously, safety is paramount when you play with fire, so consult your builder, landscape designer and experienced sales people.

Ready to live like a Floridian? Talk to ICI Homes here.