4 Outdoor Fireplace Ideas to Warm Up Your Space

Check out these captivating outdoor fireplace ideas that will transform your outdoor space into a cozy haven.

Cozy backyard deck with wooden furniture set and an outdoor fireplace built in the wall.
Image: irina88w/getty

There’s nothing like gathering around a fire with your friends and family on a chilly evening. The right outdoor fireplace brings warmth to an outdoor area and is a spot to convene and make lasting memories. If you’ve been considering getting an outdoor fireplace, here are some ideas to help you get started.

4 Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

Outdoor fireplaces come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Most homeowners want one that fits the style of their home and is compatible with their outdoor space. Style compatibility affects your design choice, the materials you choose, and the size and placement of the outdoor fireplace. Here are a few styles to consider.

#1 Traditional Outdoor Fireplaces

Large traditional outdoor fireplace and seating for several to enjoy the fireplace.
Image: PC Photography/getty

A traditional outdoor fireplace made of brick or stone can work well with a home that has exterior brick or stone elements. Matching the elements and tones in your fireplace to your home’s exterior helps create a cohesive look. Traditional materials like brick or stone are also a great option for homeowners seeking a classic wood-burning fireplace. If the masonry is sound, stone or brick fireplaces will generally require little maintenance. If you choose this option, you’ll need to consider having a professional check on your fireplace once a year to ensure it’s still in good shape.

#2 Modern Outdoor Fireplaces

A modern, luxury outdoor fireplace on the patio with two chairs.
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A minimal outdoor fireplace can complement a home with a clean, modern look. Combine materials like stucco, stone, or concrete with a pared-back, sleek design. A gas fireplace is relatively low-maintenance option that suits the look and feel of a contemporary home. It also helps keep your patio warm and inviting well after the summer months. Apart from general masonry checks and regular cleaning, these fireplaces don’t usually require much upkeep.

#3 Sustainable Outdoor Fireplaces

An outdoor fireplace with a backyard garden and a patio with a slated floor.
Image: FOTOGRAFIA INC./getty

Homeowners seeking sustainability might consider gas or electric fireplaces. If these aren't for you, other sustainable fuel options, such as ethanol or wood pellets, produce less smoke and ash. As for exterior materials, explore locally sourced stone, sustainably sourced wood, or recycled metal.

#4 Customized Outdoor Fireplaces

A customized outdoor fireplace with plants growing around it and seating for a few people.
Image: cgshoots/getty

If your home incorporates some unique design elements that are difficult to replicate, you might check into a custom outdoor fireplace built to your specifications. You can choose from many materials, including steel, concrete, stone, and wood. Qualified contractors and designers can help ensure your custom fireplace suits your needs.

Advantages of Outdoor Fireplaces

A modern home featuring a backyard with an outdoor stone fireplace and a covered patio.
Image: irina88w/getty

Building an outdoor fireplace may be a considerable undertaking, but it offers some excellent benefits.

Outdoor Fireplaces Can Add Character

An exterior feature like an outdoor fireplace adds visual interest to your home and helps it stand out. It also helps family and guests enjoy outdoor entertainment more.

Outdoor Fireplaces Increase Joy

Don’t underestimate a fire feature's role in making your home a fun and joyful place. Homeowners who added an outdoor fire feature reported a joy score of 9.7 out of 10 after finishing the project, according to the National Association of REALTORS® "2023 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.”

Outdoor Fireplaces Can Beautify Your Space

An exterior feature like an outdoor fireplace can be a great focal point in your outdoor patio, backyard, or deck. If you’ve long thought your patio lacked something special, a well-designed outdoor fireplace may give you the refresh you’ve been looking for.

Before You Build

Before deciding on the project, consider some of the issues and requirements.

Safety Matters

In most cases, outdoor fireplaces are a safe addition to your home. But if you have pets or young children, you’ll need to implement strict fire safety rules about keeping a safe distance from the fire. Make sure your outdoor fireplace is a safe distance from your home and other structures as required by the local code. And, before starting a fire, check with your local forest service office to find out about burn authorizations or fire restrictions.

Budget Concerns

Building a fireplace can be pricey when you compare the costs to other features like fire pits. The average cost to build a firepit is around $850, though depending on their choice of fire pit, homeowners may pay between $200 to $5,000. By comparison, the average cost to build an outdoor fireplace is roughly $3,000, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $9000. Homeowners on a strict budget may want to consider an outdoor fire pit instead.

Maintenance Needs

While gas and electric fireplaces require professional attention, traditional wood fireplaces require regular cleaning. Even with a small outdoor fireplace, this can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you have a busy life.

But what kinds of maintenance does an outdoor fireplace require? Take a look at the following section.

Placement Consideration

An outdoor fireplace close to a house on a wooden deck.
Image: laughingmango/getty

Your outdoor fireplace’s location will vary based on building codes in your area, so look up local requirements before starting work on your project. A good rule of thumb is that your fireplace should be at least 10 - 15 feet away from your home, property line and any other structures or flammable materials. You'll also want to place your outdoor fireplace such that it doesn't face prevailing winds or obstruct any views.

Fuel Options

Many factors may influence fuel choice including your desire for convenience, your aesthetic preferences, and budget. Consider the pros and cons of a few different fuel options.

  • Wood: Wood is the natural choice for anyone seeking a warm, traditional fireplace. However, a wood burning fireplace needs frequent cleaning and the smell of woodsmoke may be undesirable for some home owners.
  • Gas: Natural gas is a clean and cost-efficient option offering a controlled burn. However, some home owners may find a gas flame less comforting and more sterile compared to wood options.
  • Electricity: An electric fireplace often has a built-in heater that operates separately from the flames. This allows you to get the look of a roaring fire with or without the heat. Electric fireplaces are convenient, and produce a different aesthetic and ambience than wood burning options.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and light care keep your outdoor fireplace neat and ready-for-use. Here are some important tips to bear in mind:

  • Keep the fireplace clean by brushing away dust, ash, and other debris between uses.
  • A wood-burning fireplace may require an annual professional cleaning and chimney inspection to function as it should.
  • Regularly check for potential problems like excessive smoke and ash build-up.
  • Check your gas fireplace for fuel leaks and keep the gas valve turned off when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Certain materials may need extra care. For instance, an outdoor stone fireplace may require sealant.

Fire safety is also an important concern with outdoor fireplaces. Here’s are some general guidelines homeowners should stick to:

  • Don't leave fires unattended.
  • Understand your fireplace's ventilation system and have a professional check it if you suspect any problems.
  • Ensure that any custom work follows local fire safety codes, and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Find Your Perfect Outdoor Fireplace

There are many different materials and outdoor fireplace designs to choose from. The perfect match can complement your home and landscaping to create a balanced and well-coordinated result. The right outdoor fireplace can transform your deck or patio. It makes the area more inviting and comfortable, adds character, and injects personality to your outdoor space.

Look for an experienced contractor who uses high-quality materials and can match the outdoor fireplace to your vision while meeting local regulations and requirements.

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