outdoor hearth
Photo: Caren Alpert
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A Hearth Outside The Home

A freestanding fireplace turns this backyard living room in Los Gatos, California, into a year-round destination.

Materials: The same fieldstone that sheaths the fireplace is used on the pool-house exterior, giving the entire property a unified look. The mantelshelf, firebox opening, and hearth are made of local Santa Rosa stone. A clay chimney pot extends the height of the chimney, helping to improve draft.

Boundaries: The pool and a low concrete-block wall faced in stucco form the room’s borders. Rather than siting the fireplace near their outdoor kitchen (located at the opposite end of the pool), the homeowners kept the two areas separate to cut down on foot traffic congestion and create distinct backyard destinations.

Plantings: Potted plants and fruit trees surrounding the room will provide more privacy as they grow. The vine-covered pergola behind the fireplace helps block breezes that can cause the fireplace to smoke.
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