Outdoor Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Get all the info you need on outdoor wood burning fireplaces, and get ready to install a traditional, warm and welcoming fireplace in your exterior living space.

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

Photo by: Image courtesy of Danny Morris/Aqua Pools and Spas

Image courtesy of Danny Morris/Aqua Pools and Spas

A large stone fireplace and sitting area keeps this outdoor area useful year-round.

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're looking to add some warmth and a natural gathering, entertaining and even cooking venue to your backyard or outdoor living space, an outdoor wood burning fireplace may be a great choice. There are many options for adding a bit of heat, like and visual interest to your outdoor space, from fire pits to chimineas (also spelled "chimeneas"), but if you're looking for a sturdy, traditional option—or even if you're just partial to classic aroma of burning wood—look no further than an outdoor wood burning fireplace.

If you're contemplating any fire feature at all to your outdoor living space, the first and most important step is to choose a safe location. Steer well clear of any areas with overhanging tree branches or other vegetation, bushes that are directly adjacent to the fireplace, or even lots of dry grass underneath. Another option is to place your outdoor wood burning fireplace on top of hardscape or gravel, or, if it's located on a deck or patio, you should definitely incorporate a fire-retardant mat underneath.

When you've settled on a location, it's time to think about design for your outdoor wood-burning fireplace. Here you'll have almost innumerable options—you can have your fireplace custom-built and installed by a stone mason, you can build it yourself if you've got the skills, or you can  purchase a free-standing outdoor wood-burning fireplace from a home improvement store. Each option has positives and negatives—DIY is significantly less expensive, but requires sweat equity, time and serious skills. Hiring a contractor can give you the fireplace of your dreams, built to your precise specifications, but it'll cost a lot more. Finally, purchasing an outdoor fireplace kit or modular unit from a store is convenient and economical, but you'll be much more limited in terms of your design options.

One benefit of a free-standing outdoor fireplace kit is that many home improvement retailers offer customizable or fireplaces—you purchase an unadorned base model, then install the façade finish that suits your design aesthetic, whether it's stone, stucco, ceramic or metal. Alternatively, you can peruse a decent array of pre-fabricated styles in all of the above materials.

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