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Many indoor dwellers - particularly those who may have outdoor spaces that are less than inviting - are looking at a new alternative. The idea of the outdoor kitchen is an established one. Decorators, retailers, contractors, TV personalities, and many others have extolled the virtues of taking the cooking center outside. Not only does it take the lingering scents out of the house, it can provide an attractive conversation-friendly alternative to huddling in the kitchen. But what about taking more than just the kitchen outside?

Fire Pits
One of the simplest ways to move living outside is to bring some comforts of the living room with you. The late summer is not the best time to imagine needing the warmth from such a thing, but fall and winter will return. Plus, if you live in one of the more arid regions, you already know how temperatures can dip at night - 70s, 60s, and below, even in the summertime.

There are a few ways to bring warmth to your outdoor gathering. The simplest is the basic fire pit. The fire pit is essentially a container for a campfire. While careful placement of the fire pit is critical, to be sure, it gives you the freedom to move the source of heat around your outdoor living space. Fire pits also tend to be relatively inexpensive. You'll have to keep a stock of wood, though. And, since they burn real wood, fire pits are likely to leave you and your guests with campfire memories all the way to the laundry hamper.

What if you could take the warmth and beauty of the fire pit, while leaving the wood and smoke behind? Enter the gas-fired fire pit. While the gas-fired units are more of an investment than simple wood pits, they also offer significant benefits over their wood-burning cousins. Even with recent increases in gas prices, a wood fire is still - typically - far more expensive than the same intensity gas fire. Gas fires don't leave you and your guests covered in soot and scent. There's no hauling of wood or ash to or from the scene. There are no leftover glowing embers to deal with, and you can install valves that completely shut down the flow of gas when you're finished or if there's a problem. Finally, they look great. Today's outdoor gas-burning appliances have real aesthetic appeal, and they can often be customized to suit your home.

Whether you want the ambiance of a real wood-burning fire or the clean efficiency of gas heat, an outdoor heat source can be just enough to entice you and your guests out of the house for the evening. Talk to us about these and many more options for making your home just a little more comfortable.


©2011 K. D. Scholten Co.