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fireplaces_firepitsAs more homeowners seek to bring the indoors to the outdoors, fireplaces and fire pits are becoming an even hotter commodity — literally and figuratively.

Fire pits are one of the biggest trends in 2016 for homeowners wanting to upgrade their outdoor living spaces.  In fact, landscape architects surveyed by the American Society of Landscape Architects identified fireplaces and fire pits as the number 1 outdoor design element for 2016.

Fire features such as fireplaces and fire pits “not only add ambiance to an outdoor space but also provide heat and light that allows you to use your deck later into the evening and into the year,” says design expert Kate Campbell, one of the stars of HGTV’s “Decked Out.”

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits also make great focal points and gathering spots, Campbell says in a news release from Trex Co., which makes outdoor living products.

“Once upon a time, the living room fireplace was the favored gathering spot for family and guests, and roasting marshmallows over a campground fire was part of the annual family vacation. Modern outdoor living combines these two traditions into one with outdoor fireplaces and fire pits,” according to Belgard, a maker of outdoor living products.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association says linear fireplaces and smokeless fire pits are growing in popularity.

Homeowners are drawn to linear fireplaces because of their “sleek, modern design,” the patio association says. Gas-powered models, which are up to 12 feet wide, come equipped with glass that can tolerate high heat as well as with no-trim options for homebuilders and homeowners. Consumers also are attracted by the “sophisticated, contemporary style” of electric-powered models that feature realistic-looking multicolor flames, the association says.

Explaining the outdoor fireplace and fire-pit trend, home remodeling and design website Houzz says: “Not unlike water, the natural element of fire is simply a primal source of satisfaction.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin-based company that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.