An outdoor fireplace is generally any outdoor fire pit that is upright and has at least a short chimney. While some people may consider a chiminea and/or an outdoor fire pit a fireplace, those types are covered elsewhere. They are definitely other great options for an outdoor fire. Here I will specifically discuss both portable and permanent fireplaces which are similar in both form and function to a typical indoor fireplace.
In general, these fireplaces, whether an outdoor stone fireplace, outdoor masonry fireplace, or outdoor gas fireplace, serve the same purpose as an indoor fireplace. They allow you to enjoy a nice warm fire in a great ambiance. The only difference is that you can enjoy it outdoors, under the open sky, with the stars and the moon.
Types of Outdoor Fireplace
- Outdoor Stone Fireplace or Outdoor Masonry Fireplace – These are fireplaces which are typically permanently built into a patio or deck area. Some can be designed with a grill or rotisserie attached so that you can cook on your fire. These are usually either already built into your home or can be build by a mason or brick layer. Specific designs will vary depending on your specific location and available room. A typical outdoor fireplace is pictured here. The motorized fireplace rotisserie pictured in front of the fire can be purchased at SpitJack.com.
- Portable Outdoor Fireplace – As pictured here, these are upright outdoor fire pits which do not require installation. They can be moved to any location you wish and hold a large firewood fire which will supply heat and ambiance. Because of their upright position, they are less suited for fire pit cooking although you can certainly use a skewer to cook hot dogs, sausages or marshmallows on the fire. They are available anywhere outdoor furniture is sold and at many specialty grill stores such as those listed at the bottom of this page. A chiminea is another type of portable outdoor fireplace which is typically made of ceramic, terra cotta or metal. They are also known as Mexican fire pits.
- Firewood vs. Gas – Just like indoor fireplaces, you can find outdoor fireplaces in both firewood burning and gas burning models. An outdoor gas fireplace, like the one pictured here, has the advantage that it does not require wood, you have a constant source of fuel from your natural gas line. They are also faster to light and require no clean up because there is no ask. However, they do not quite have the ambiance of wood, with the crackling and popping and the wood smoke aromas. Both built in outdoor stone fireplaces and portable fireplaces can be found in gas models. They require a natural gas line in the vicinity to supply the fuel.
Good luck finding the right outdoor fireplace for you! If you want to explore the other types of outdoor fire pits, check out the other links from the Outdoor Fire Pit page.