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The Neighborhood

Choose the right fireplace screen for your fireplace
By Plow & Hearth
2/6/2013 12:51:00 PM

For generations families have been gathering around fireplaces during cold weather, and while technological advances have given us many alternatives to heating our homes with an open flame, nothing quite replaces it. There’s just something about the crackling of the logs, the glow of the embers, and the ever-changing flickering of the flames that fire up imaginations, draw us in, and encourage us to dream. No matter how high-end your TV might be, the fireplace is still the focal point of the family room.

Naturally, if you have a fireplace, you should have a fireplace screen. The most important reason is safety – fireplace screens not only help keep children and pets away from the flames, they also prevent sparks and embers from getting onto your carpet or floor.

Choosing A Style

Any good-quality, properly fitted screen will help protect your hearth, so concentrate on finding a one that will complement your room’s décor. As far as looks go, the sky’s the limit: fireplace screens come in many designs and finishes, from simple to ornate. Before you start shopping, think about how often you use your fireplace, what kind of protection you need (Do you have kids? Pets?), and what look you’re going for.

There are two basic types of fireplace screens:


Flat Guard or Spark Guard Screens. 
Flat guard or spark guard style screens have a solid mesh panel that fits against the face of the fireplace and completely covers the fireplace opening. These screens afford the greatest degree of safety and an unobstructed view of the fire. This style screen must be moved aside to tend the fire or gain access to the firebox. Flat guard or spark guard screens are ideal for homes with smaller children and curious pets.


Screens with Doors. 
Screens with doors fit snugly against the face of the fireplace for safety. The doors have magnetic closures and open without having to move the whole screen to gain access to the firebox. This makes it easier to replenish the fuel or clear away the ashes. Screens with doors are a good choice for homes with older children and homes where the fireplace sees a lot of use.


Once you have chosen the screen, you can further complement the overall look and function of your hearth by adding matching fireplace tools and wood holders.

Measuring Your Fireplace For A Screen

There are no standard sizes of fireplace openings in the US, so it’s important to measure your opening size carefully to achieve a proper fit. Here are some tips for finding the right sized screen for your fireplace: Measuring Your Fireplace For A Fireplace Screen.

To review the custom screen options, visit or call 1-800-866-6072 for further information or to place an order. For help measuring your fireplace, visit your nearest Plow & Hearth Retail Store.

With the right fireplace screen in place, you can relax and enjoy beauty and warmth of a crackling fire on your hearth.

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Tags: How To
Categories: Hearth


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The Olla: A Brief History

Olla (Spanish, pronounced “oh-ya”) jars have been around since ancient times. Made of unglazed ceramic, ollas traditionally have short, narrow necks with wider bodies, and are made in a variety of shapes. They have been used for thousands of years for cooking, storage, and plant irrigation.

When used to irrigate plants, an olla is buried neck-deep in the ground near a plant’s roots, with the opening of the olla extended above the soil so that it can be filled with water periodically. The porous walls of the unglazed pottery allow the water to seep through gradually, constantly and consistently hydrating the plants without overwatering them – and without wasting precious water to evaporation or runoff.

The use of ollas for irrigation was introduced to the American Southwest by Spanish conquistadors during Colonial times, becoming very common among Native American tribes and Hispanic settlers. Though the technique gave way to more modern methods of irrigation some time ago, its superior efficiency, coupled with its simplicity, has caused it to make a comeback. Though the technique has changed little since its introduction, today’s ollas are usually capped off, making them even more water-efficient.

Perfect for home gardens, Ollas are a super-easy, eco-friendly, less time-consuming way to water annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and plants of all kinds in dry, sandy soil, very hot or drought-prone areas, raised beds, and even pots, planters and hanging baskets. Fill the olla before you leave on a short vacation to enjoy worry-free watering – and a smaller water bill!

How it Works:

Water is pulled directly through the terra-cotta!

Read more about Ollas on our blog.

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