Streaming hours of crackling fireplaces on your HD screen is cute and all, but nothing beats the real thing. Light the flames of true warm and cozy vibes — while boosting your home’s value — with these 9 outdoor fireplace ideas.
- 1. Add ambience to an outdoor kitchen
- 2. Establish a focal point on your backyard patio
- 3. Exude Tuscan vibes with a pergola-outdoor fireplace combo
- 4. Keep it cute with a tabletop fireplace
- 5. Accentuate your firebox with pavers
- 6. Make your outdoor fireplace double as a pizza oven
- 7. Design the ultimate party space
- 8. Level up the mood with LED lighting
- 9. Skip the logs
- FAQ about outdoor fireplaces
From stone to brick, wood-burning to gas, or permanent to portable, it’s hearth to miss the bevy of options around.
1. Add ambience to an outdoor kitchen
Every homeowner knows the kitchen is the go-to gathering place for every house party. Duplicate that trend with al fresco get-togethers — a statement fireplace added to your outdoor kitchen should do the trick. Not only will it provide warmth and light on winter nights, but it will also add aesthetic interest, enhancing the overall look and feel of your backyard landscaping.
Choose the material that best suits the design style of your outdoor kitchen, whether it’s Mediterranean-inspired stucco, a traditional brick fireplace, modern tile, or a natural stone fireplace.
2. Establish a focal point on your backyard patio
Introduce your backyard to its center-of-attention era by making your outdoor fireplace the, well, centerpiece. Mix materials for stand-out pops of color and texture (including inside the firebox), add large statement pieces of artwork or mount a television above the fireplace, or hang unique sconces on each side of the mantel.
Try to build your fireplace more or less in the center of your outdoor space, surrounding it with comfy, patio furniture. If that’s not possible, lay an inviting pathway amidst your landscape design that leads to a separate outdoor area. Feel free to play with the shape and size of your fireplace, too — from double-sided options to wrap-arounds to stand-alone structures that serve as artwork in their own right.
3. Exude Tuscan vibes with a pergola-outdoor fireplace combo
Install a pergola over your outdoor fireplace design, and your new outdoor living area remodel will be giving backyard envy. Besides incorporating texture with a traditional, wooden, lattice roof and dramatic columns, a pergola can also be covered to extend your patio season. No matter the weather, you can enjoy reading, watching movies, or simply lounging around on your outdoor furniture.
Pro tip: Pergolas also come in various colors and materials to match the mood of your space — think wood, brick, fiberglass, and vinyl.
4. Keep it cute with a tabletop fireplace
There’s no need to forgo the perks of an outdoor fireplace, even if your backyard is on the smaller side. All you need to do, quite literally, is scale things down and opt for a miniature version. Smaller than an average portable outdoor fire pit and stylish enough to boost any home decor, tabletop fireplaces can be moved around as needed and can run on propane, natural gas, or clean-burning gel fuel.
Use it as a centerpiece on your deck coffee table or patio bistro table, and watch as the ambiance is immediately lifted, adding extra light and warmth to the space.
5. Accentuate your firebox with pavers
A decorating idea that’ll make your outdoor fireplace stand out from the crowd? Pavers. Whether you opt for brick pavers or stone ones, you can arrange them in a way that sets it apart from the rest of the fireplace design. Affix the pavers in the shape of your initials, a map of your favorite place, or an abstract motif. Or, choose different color pavers for your firebox and frame.
6. Make your outdoor fireplace double as a pizza oven
Another trending design idea to consider is implementing a pizza oven into the build, complete with a chic, cast iron oven door. You can either hire a professional to construct a custom fireplace-pizza oven combo, or you can DIY it with a special kit. It’s perfect for a fireplace in an outdoor kitchen, but if you don’t want to go that route, pizzas served by the swimming pool or on a nearby deck are just as yummy.
In addition to baking numerous ‘zas, your fireplace-pizza oven can also help you serve up wood-fired rotisserie chickens, roasted veggies, calzones, and hot subs, among other delicious dishes.
7. Design the ultimate party space
Embrace opposing elements to give your basic backyard patio design or pool area a makeover. The firelight, combined with any pathway lights you may have installed nearby, will create an outdoor living space that’s prime for partying, keeping the soiree going even after the sun has set. Plus, it provides a nice place to warm up after a quick dip in the pool or hot tub on chillier evenings.
Post pool season, use the fireplace to extend your outdoor gathering time. Host a wine tasting with friends, have a family game night, or simply opt for a change of scenery from your typical indoor rendezvous — and remember to keep a basket of blankets nearby for an extra dose of comfort.
And what about a party for two? Imagine taking a swim or winding down in the hot tub with your significant other, as relaxing flames dance in the distance, fully immersing you in a romantic mood underneath-the-stars.
8. Level up the mood with LED lighting
How cool would it be to switch up the colors of your fireplace flames to match your mood or the season? With LED lighting attached underneath the burners, you can do just that. Program the lights to shine a specific color or set them on shuffle, so they display something different throughout the day. Lights can even be made to strobe or dim, depending on the ambience you’re going for.
9. Skip the logs
Yes, even the artificial ones for your typical gas fireplace. Instead, amplify your preference for the modern look by having your flames emerge from clear, black, or colored fire glass. The perfect fit for a double-sided fireplace; peninsula fireplace; or a long, horizontal, island fireplace (complete with bar stools for easy outdoor gathering), these heat-resistant gems are low-maintenance and can last around eight years.
With the push of a button, you can control the temperature of your gas fireplace and give off an air of elegance, as the fire glass reflects light to produce showy colors and sparkles. Even when your fireplace is not in use, it will continue to provide year-round beauty.
FAQ about outdoor fireplaces
Fire pits are best described as upscale campfires. Traditionally shaped as a circle that people can sit around to roast marshmallows, make s’mores, tell ghost stories, sing songs, or just talk, fire pits need more room to be built and can be wood-burning or run on propane tanks.
On the other hand, an outdoor fireplace only needs one wall of space; and while it can also be an outdoor gathering draw, it’s more of a way to boost ambiance and provide background mood to the party.
Outdoor fireplaces also cost a whole lot more money than a fire pit and aren’t as easy to DIY. Fireplaces make superb focal points and do well at creating a true outdoor living room. You’d think nothing of starting (or turning on) your outdoor fireplace, so you can watch movies on the mounted TV or read a book on the outdoor seating, but those solo activities aren’t typically done around a fire pit.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it’s used to measure heat output from appliances like outdoor fireplaces — be they wood-burning, gas, or electric. Essentially, the higher the BTU, the more warmth your fireplace is emitting. The standard range of BTUs on an outdoor fireplace is between 30,000 and 100,000.
Like their indoor counterparts, outdoor fireplaces can be wood-burning, gas (propane or natural gas), or electric.
Wood-burning fireplaces will give you the most authentic feel, filling the atmosphere with warmth and the nostalgia of the woody aroma blended with crackling sound. These types require more upkeep (remember to schedule regular chimney cleanings to avoid a harmful fire), and since they use real flames, can be a safety hazard. You’ll also need to keep your woodpile stocked and dry.
Gas-burning fireplaces are super convenient, as they can be turned on with the flip of a switch — no having to gather wood (or purchase wood) and no need for matches and firestarters to get things going. You’ll get a similar look in your fireplace but won’t have the woody scent or crackling sound; gas is a more eco-friendly option to wood, though. Be sure to set up annual maintenance checks to help prevent dangerous gas leaks and ensure your fireplace lasts for years to come.
Less common is the electric fireplace, and yes it can be used outdoors. You will need some sort of cover or enclosure for it to prevent the cord from getting wet. Electric fireplaces work by using LED lights to display the look of flames, and depending on the type you choose, you may have access to settings that allow you to change the color of your flames, add a crackling sound, or give off a woody scent.
An outdoor fireplace costs $3,000 on average, but price varies depending on the project. Expect to pay between $1,200 and $8,335 for a prefabricated fireplace kit and between $6,000 and $21,000 for a custom-built fireplace.
When to hire a professional
Of course, you can always try your hand at building a DIY outdoor fireplace using one of the many kits on the market. But, if you’re looking for a truly customized outdoor fireplace that you don’t have to lift a finger to make, call in a local pro.
And no outdoor living space is complete without a well maintained landscape. So, after your outdoor fireplace build is complete, meet with a local lawn expert who can maintain its surrounding greenery.
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