Small Outdoor Fireplaces

Get the info you need on small outdoor fireplaces, and get ready to add a convenient and efficient fireplace to your external living space.

This outdoor dining room features a rooftop garden, and the fireplace and lamps add warmth to the intimate space.

Small Fireplace beneath Pergola

This outdoor dining room features a rooftop garden, and the fireplace and lamps add warmth to the intimate space.

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're looking to add a natural gathering and entertaining spot to your outdoor living space, but space is a concern, you may want to browse the many options available for small outdoor fireplaces. Your choices for purchasing or designing and building an efficient, space-saving outdoor fireplace are virtually limitless; the fireplace you end up with will likely be determined mainly by the space you have to work with, the design aesthetic you're targeting and your budget for the project.

Your first decision when planning to add a small outdoor fireplace is whether you want it to be a permanent, fixed-in-place fixture of your backyard, patio or deck area, or if you prefer a mobile, modular or prefabricated design. A small outdoor fireplace that's portable offers many benefits, chief among them flexibility—if you decide that your entertaining or cooking space should move to a different area of the backyard, patio or deck, repositioning the fireplace will be no problem (so long as you observe safety rules with respect to low-hanging branches, bushes or other flammable elements). Space-saving portable fireplaces are also now available in a wide array of design styles and finishes, from traditional brick, stone and stucco, to sleek modern and contemporary designs.

Despite the advantages of a modular or prefabricated small outdoor fireplace, many homeowners find a fixed-in-place, custom-built fireplace a more appealing approach. These projects generally require a contractor and/or stone mason, and they can be considerably more expensive than their store-bought counterparts—but their custom nature means that homeowners can build to their exact specifications and design desires. High-end materials, exact sizing and ancillary features like pizza ovens, lighting and unique designs are all benefits of custom-built small outdoor fireplaces, but each custom element generally increases the cost and time required for the project significantly.

Speaking of materials, many homeowners in the market for small outdoor fireplaces opt for traditional ones like brick, granite, stucco and ceramic for their fireplace façade. Metal is also an option and can provide great visual interest. It's important to reiterate that wherever you choose to locate your small outdoor fireplace, you should keep some simple safety tips in mind—ensure that all low-hanging branches and nearby bushes have been cleared, lay down a fire-resistant mat if the fireplace is on a deck or dry grass, and make sure a water supply is nearby in case of emergency. Lastly, be sure to check with your local municipality to determine any regulations you'll need to follow for outdoor fire features.

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