Modern Outdoor Fireplaces
Get all the info you'll need on modern outdoor fireplaces, and prepare to install a sleek and stylish fireplace in your outdoor living space.
Adam Miller designer, Chicago Roof Deck and Garden
If your outdoor living space boasts a contemporary or modern design, and you're interested in adding a cozy and comfortable gathering space, you may want to consider the many options for modern outdoor fireplaces. Outdoor fireplace designs run the gamut from rustic and traditional to contemporary and modern, so if your tastes skew towards the latter, you should have no trouble finding the sleek and stylish design that suits your updated outdoor aesthetic.
The first decision you'll be faced with when choosing a modern outdoor fireplace is whether you want to purchase a modular or prefabricated model from your local home improvement store, or if you want to invest in a custom-built unit created with your exact specifications in mind. Both alternatives have their pros and cons.
A modular or prefab unit will give you ultimate flexibility in terms of location—your only task will be to identify locations in your outdoor living space that are free and clear of any low-hanging branches, shrubbery or other potentially flammable elements. Once the safe spots have been outlined, you'll be free to move the fireplace anywhere you like in your external living space. The one knock on modular or prefab units is that they won't allow for as much customization as a custom build—you'll have to find the model that has just the right mix of modern design and materials to suit your style.
Alternatively, if you decide to have your modern outdoor fireplace custom created by a stone mason or outdoor design firm, you'll be able to define the exact details of the fireplace, from materials to measurements. Many modern outdoor fireplaces feature angular designs and minimal adornments. Another feature that's more common in modern fireplace designs than in their traditional brethren is the incorporation of unique fire elements—as opposed to traditional wood-burning varieties, modern fireplaces are somewhat more likely to be fueled by gas or propane, eliminating the need for load-in or cleanup of wood and adding to the efficient, sleek design. Materials for modern outdoor fireplaces also tend more towards simple elegance in general—facades featuring granite or other matte or glossy stone are common.