How to Plan for Building an Outdoor Fireplace

Learn how to plan for building an outdoor fireplace, and get tips and tricks for creating a warm and welcoming focal point for your outdoor living space.

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Outdoor living space with a stone woodburning fireplace, chairs, and wood storage area.

Photo by: Neil Podoll

Neil Podoll

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're ready to install a warm and welcoming focal point in your backyard, you'll want to browse these helpful tips on how to plan for building an outdoor fireplace.

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The first consideration when planning to build an outdoor fireplace is location. Your backyard focal point is going to be a popular, heavily trafficked area. Will you locate it adjacent to your home, on a deck or patio, or set it further into the backyard, in a separate seating area?

Some factors that might influence your decision include the size of your outdoor living space, and whether your outdoor fireplace is going to be wood burning, or powered by propane or natural gas. If you plan to fuel it with wood or propane, it can be a portable structure, and you can locate it more or less anywhere in your outdoor space. Natural gas is usually fed from the home, which won't necessarily mean your fireplace needs to be located directly adjacent to the house, but the configuration of your gas line may be a limiting factor.

Next you'll need to think about a design for your outdoor fireplace. Many homeowners choose a "built-in" style, attaching the fireplace to an outside wall of the home or another wall in the outdoor space. Others prefer a freestanding fireplace, possibly even one that's portable. For either a built-in or freestanding style of outdoor fireplace, you can choose to purchase a prefabricated exterior or one that's a blank slate, so that you can choose which materials to adorn your fireplace with. Bricks, different types of stone, marble and even fire-resistant glass are some of the many options available.

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