Wood-burning masonry fireplaces
These traditional hearths with a chimney to direct smoke upward can be built with bricks or stone on an existing patio or sit as a freestanding unit elsewhere in the yard. There’s generally more space for this feature outside than inside, so you can go as big as you like, either using a DIY kit or hiring a contractor. They’re among the biggest people magnets, but aren’t clean-burning and stray sparks could be a fire hazard.
Gas-burning outdoor fireplaces
Built like a traditional masonry fireplace for that homespun feel but with a propane or natural gas fueling source, these can generate more heat than most wood-burning versions and can heat a larger area. Both are clean-burning fuels, but propane is more efficient and doesn’t release methane if leaked, as natural gas does.
These have a more modern look and can be placed in an exterior wall to be shared with an outdoor space or used to divide a larger outdoor space while giving equal light and heat to both sections.
Whether permanently installed or portable, fire pits recreate the feel of a campfire perfect for roasting marshmallows or other food while telling stories and reminiscing under the stars. They’re vulnerable to gusts of wind that make wood-burning models a potential fire hazard, though some have spark-screen covers that cut way down on the risk.
Portable outdoor fireplaces
This broad category includes round concrete cylinders or bowls, propane-fueled fire tables, Southwestern-styled chimeneas, lantern-shaped, screened fireplaces and more.
Fireplaces are magnetic for people wherever you put them. Have you ever thought of putting one in your backyard?
Outside fireplaces offer all the advantages of their indoor brethren, with the added benefit of giving you the chance to enjoy additional outdoor living during the winter, as well as chilly autumn, spring and even summer nights.
Like standard fireplaces, they can be built in a variety of styles and use one of a number of different types of fuel; wood, natural gas, charcoal, gel, propane, ethanol, electricity.
These have varied price points, maintenance needs and carbon footprints, so you’ll need to balance your priorities to settle on the right choice to light up your backyard life.