What is an Outdoor Fireplace?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

An outdoor fireplace is a wonderful addition to a backyard or patio. In addition to providing warmth during chilly seasons, exterior fireplaces can be used for cooking or purely for decorative purposes. If you enjoy nothing more than a crackling fire, consider adding an outdoor fireplace to your yard to create an aura of warmth and coziness and expand your entertainment capabilities.

An outdoor fireplace may be used for cooking or for decorative purposes.
An outdoor fireplace may be used for cooking or for decorative purposes.

Most outdoor fireplaces are simple in design, consisting of a firebox and chimney piece. Constructed of stone or brick, these fireplaces typically burn wood, though some may have a gas-burning option. To make the fireplace double as a stove, spits or racks can be added. Making your own wood-fired pizzas in your backyard is a wonderful party activity easily created with an outdoor fireplace.

If you are considering building or installing a fireplace outdoors, contact local authorities or do research into local laws regarding outdoor stoves. Some areas may require permits for outdoor fires in residential areas, or may prohibit the use of fireplaces during some or all of the year, due to fire hazards or pollution. Be sure to do your research early, before going ahead with plans for your new fireplace.

While many outdoor fireplaces can cost over $500 US dollars (USD), basic models can sometimes be found for less than $100 USD. These are typically constructed of metal and hold only a few logs in an enclose firebox. As the metal can get quite warm, be careful with children and pets around this type of outdoor fireplace. If you have a small space that needs minimal heat, or want an exterior fireplace that is portable, this basic model may be the choice for you.

If, however, you want a more elaborate setup that remains in place permanently, look into purchasing a brick, clay, or stone fireplace for your yard or patio. These elaborate models are quite large and frequently offer cooking accessories such as racks, hooks and spits. Permanent outdoor fireplaces make a wonderful centerpiece for fall and winter gatherings, and will draw your guests together near the warmth of the flames. Brick and stone fireplaces can be quite pricey, with some models ranging upwards of $3000 USD.

For frequent entertainers, particularly those in cooler climates, an outdoor fireplace can be a tremendous asset to your gatherings. Having a warmed outdoor area can double or triple your entertaining space, and allow people to enjoy the cozy and nostalgic atmosphere of evenings around the fire. As with any outdoor flame, be sure to keep the fireplace area free of debris of any kind, and keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies. Simple precautions will help keep your nights around the beautiful fire worry free and fun for all.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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