How To Choose An Outdoor Fireplace

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Do you love to entertain? Do you love to sit on the patio after a hard week, with a cold beer and some good music? Do you love to cuddle under the stars? If you answered yes to any of these, then why not add a beautifully crafted outdoor fireplace to your backyard, porch or patio.

From stone to steel, from propane to wood, the outdoor fireplace is a wonderful way to stay warm on those chilly nights when you just need to get out of the house, but not too far out of the house.

Relaxing in the open air, having stimulating conversations with friends, or just reading a book while having a glass of wine by moonlight and firelight, your backyard decor and landscaping scheme can only be improved by putting in a well crafted backyard fireplace.

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What defines an outdoor fireplace?

As opposed to a fire pit, which is simply a hole created by stones or bricks in which fires are lit, an outdoor fireplace is very much resemblant of an indoor fireplace. It is freestanding, made of stone, steel or both, and is most often fixed in place. The only exception to these are the portable outdoor fireplaces, but they are more rare than the more permanent style.

They can be built to suit your existing patio stones, barbecue area, or outdoor furniture. They can be built to suit the exterior of your home. Or, they can be designed in a way that you desire, completely different from everything around it, an outdoor fireplace with its own story.

Another option that is quite different from the hearth-and-chimney style outdoor fireplace, is what is called a Chiminea. Looking like an old-style clay oven, the Chiminea is a freestanding unit that can come in a multitude of materials, including clay, cast iron, steel, and pewter, just to name a few. They have a pot-belly with a hinged screen door, and a chimney.

Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
Stylish Stone Propane Fire Column
Weather Resistant Burning Fire Pit Table
Stylish Wood Burning Outdoor Fireplace
Compact Concrete Propane Fire Column
Stucco Stone Gas Outdoor Fireplace

Why do I need an outdoor fireplace?

There is something special about having friends over for a barbecue, only to have the evening spoiled by a chill in the air, sending everyone home. WIth your very own outdoor fireplace, the party can keep going into the wee hours, giving new life to your evenings at home. Plus, a well crafted, custom designed outdoor fireplace is a conversation starter, and will make you the envy of the neighborhood.

If you burn logs, the smells will waft into the air, a scent of times camping with family, bringing back fond memories. The nostalgic tranquility as you stare into the flames, remembering roasting marshmallows, singing songs and telling jokes, and finally falling asleep under the stars.

What are the types of outdoor fireplaces?

As far as accelerants go, wood and gas are evenly split throughout the industry. Both have their merits, the ultimate decision being entirely the user's preference.

Wood burning

While the outdoor fireplace market is almost exactly even in the debate of wood versus gas, the most common you might see is the wood burning variety.

Flames dance on wood freely, and that freedom instills a comfort that eases the spirit of anyone who watches the delicate ballet within. The trademark crackle, the shifting of logs, the coals that seem to pulse like a heartbeat, can have a simple, visceral calming effect. Even the action of adding a new log to the fire invites the peace of control over the slow burn.

Round Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
Star and Moon Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit Including Spark Screen
Elegant Shape Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit
Oriental Style Shape Outdoor Fireplace
Stylish Vintage Iron Wood Burning Chiminea

Gas burning

As natural gas has become cheaper, and the environmental impact of chopping down trees has begun to ebb to taboo, more gas outdoor fireplaces are entering the market, poised to overtake their wood counterparts.

With controlled flames still giving warmth and comfort, without the mess of charred wood remnants, and the clean, smoke free emissions limiting their carbon footprint, anyone who wants the fireplace look without all the fireplace hassle, leans toward the simplicity of a gas outdoor fireplace option.

Natural Gas Fire Flat Pit Table
Artistic Shape Steel Fire Pit
Stone Propane Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace
Cast Concrete Natural Gas Fire Pit Table
Stainless Steel Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace
Polyresin Propane Natural Gas Fire Pit Table

Electric

A lesser known subset of outdoor fireplaces, is the electric models. Reap the pros of both gas and wood burning fireplaces, without the hassles. Electric outdoor fireplaces light fast, burn clean, and are very easy to install, but electricity costs might be an obstacle.

Stainless Steel Fire Pit Table
Grice Polyresin and Stainless Steel Fire Pit Table
Free Stainless Steel Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace
Stylish Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
Curved Electric Recessed Electric Fireplace
Stylish Elegant Design Electric Fireplace

What materials are used to make an outdoor fireplace?

Most models are made of steel, stone or brick.

Steel

These are typically a square body, with a tapered roof to a short chimney. They typically have four legs, keeping the unit elevated a few inches, so the heat from the fireplace doesn't scorch the ground.

Stone and brick

Resembling an ornate version of an indoor fireplace, these have the luxury of being contained in a way whereas they can be built flat on the ground. The stone, or brick, insulates the surrounding structure from the heat of even the most roaring fire.

One more possibility in the stone-like category is the cement cast style. Instead of many stones or bricks making up the unit, these appear as a solid piece of seamless stone. They can be manipulated in the casting process to suit the custom desires of the builder, and the future owner.

Concrete Wood Burning Fire Pit
Stone Outdoor Polyresin Propane Fire Pit
Aluminum Propane Fire Pit Table
Large Iron Wood Burning Fire Pit
Steel Wood Grain Propane Fire Pit
Polyresin Propane Natural Gas Fire Pit Table

What is a linear outdoor fireplace?

A linear, or line, outdoor fireplace, is a sleek, modern take on the gas fireplace option. They are often encased in glass, similar to indoor gas fireplace models. The lines are clean, all right angles, and can be installed into many outdoor gas fireplace spots with a little modification. Instead of special gas fireplace logs, linear units often can be seen with clear or colored rocks, from which the flames emerge.

What accessories are available for my outdoor fireplace?

As with indoor fireplaces, outdoor fireplaces have tool choices.

How do I clean my outdoor fireplace?

To ensure your wood-burning outdoor fireplace works optimally and lasts for years to come, routine cleanings are a wise decision.

For cleaning a gas outdoor fireplace, both open and linear:

Electric outdoor fireplaces are the simplest to clean.

It is also a wise recommendation that you have a professional inspect and clean your outdoor fireplace once a year to further ensure it is kept in top condition.