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Enhance your outdoor space with an outdoor fireplace

(BPT) - Winter lingered far too long this year. It was cold, it was blustery, and many of us were left wondering if it would ever end. Now summer is here - and it’s time to get outdoors.

Instead of being forced to labor through the same old spring chores, use this abbreviated spring as an excuse to stay outside. Fire up the grill, dust off the patio furniture and envision relaxing on a cool night around an outdoor fireplace.

Your vision

Think of an outdoor fireplace as the functional focal point of your backyard or patio. It can anchor your landscaping, accent your decor, and extend your outdoor entertaining season. It can also be a missing link to your ultimate outdoor living room.

In fact, outdoor spaces are the No. 1 desired amenity by homebuyers, according to a 2011 National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) study. Second on that list is a fireplace. And according to the 2011 Marshall & Swift Residential Cost Handbook, outdoor gas fireplaces can add $3,500 on average to home values.

Where to start?

For many of us, big, blazing bonfires just aren’t practical. And they’re not safe or permitted in many residential areas. Modern outdoor gas fireplaces can provide that rustic outdoor ambiance, with the safety and convenience suitable for today’s homes.

The Heat & Glo Carolina is a great place to start. It comes in two sizes and has enough heat output to warm a quaint porch, or a large backyard patio.

The Carolina is unique for having FireBrick technology: a patented material which is molded into detailed brick styles and increases heat output by as much as 25 percent. It works similar to cast iron, capturing radiant heat and spreading that heat outward, warming friends and family around the fire. Flip a switch on the wall, or press one button on its remote and this fireplace is ready for company.

Another route

For those looking to add some flare to the backyard, the Twilight Modern does just that. This see-through, indoor/outdoor fireplace installs directly into an exterior wall and creates a two-for-one fireside experience.

When the unit isn’t running, it acts as a hurricane-rated window. Turn it on, and crisp flames rise through colored glass. The result is an artistic appearance with solid heat output - perfect for relaxing inside or socializing outside.

The Twilight Modern is completely sealed and uses Direct Vent technology, expelling 100 percent of exhaust outside of the home. No venting or chimney is required.

Take control of your summer

This summer season, make the most of your backyard or patio. Extend your living into the outdoors and increase your home value. An outdoor gas fireplace creates another way to enjoy the great outdoors, and another way to accent your home.

Visit www.fireplaces.com to search and compare outdoor fireplaces and connect with your local dealer.

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