How To Choose an Outdoor Fireplace

Are you tired of lighting a fire in a rusty old trash can and huddling around it for warmth?  Do you feel that the trash can isn't really in harmony with a well-groomed English Garden, or those Celtic wind chimes, or the chic birdhouses you've built, or your miniature replica of Michelangelo's David?  Why not burn things in style by purchasing an outdoor fireplace?  There are very few things more meditative than sitting before a fire in the serenity of your backyard, watching the flames flicker.  And you'll discover that there's an outdoor fireplace tailor-made for just about every backyard motif, available in a wide array of prices.

  1. Gas or Wood Burning?  Some people value the convenience of flipping a switch to start a fire, and to control the size of the flame just as easily.  A gas outdoor fireplace will let you do that.  Other people prefer to burn wood for and for the fun of making a fire.  Not only that, but with gas prices as high as they are today, you could save money by choosing a wood burning outdoor fireplace. 

  • What's your budget?  These outdoor fireplaces can cost anything from $60 to more than $5000!  At the low end of the price spectrum are small wood burning fireplaces that are easily moved from one spot to another.  If you want to find the cheapest possible outdoor fireplace, your best bet is probably wood burning.  At the high-cost end are the fanciest of gas models with expensive surfaces and sleek design, and high-end wood burning outdoor fireplaces that almost look like an upscale indoor fireplace simply transported outside.  You won't find wheels on these expensive ones. 
  • Where do you want your outdoor fireplace to be?  Will it be on a patio or deck, or do you want to enjoy it on the unadorned ground?  This decision will help to narrow your available design options to a more manageable number.  Some outdoor fireplaces are designed specifically for use on patios and decks.  Beyond that, there are safety considerations to be made as well.  If you want a fireplace on your patio, for example, then you'd probably want the fire surrounded by mesh to avoid sparks.  Just with that one decision, you've narrowed your search.
  • Do you want some counter-space surrounding the fire?  Some outdoor fireplaces are ringed by countertop, allowing you to keep cocoa warm, dry off your mittens or kick up your cold toes.  Other outdoor fireplaces are fully enclosed and stove-like, offering no counter space around the fire.  Which do you prefer, and, once again, how much do you want to pay?  The countertop material will definitely affect the price.
  • Do you want the outdoor fireplace strictly for warmth, or also for cooking food?  Many outdoor fireplaces allow for convenient cooking as well!  Fire pits and fire circles allow you to grill and cook pretty easily over them.  With a fire circle in your backyard, you can feel like you're on a camping trip without even leaving home.  Of course, you need a place in the ground where you can safely insert a fire circle and not worry about the fire spreading.

    In addition to these options, there are outdoor fireplaces that convert from enclosed fire to a grill that enables you to cook over an open flame.  If you want an upright outdoor fireplace, but also the ability to grill, this would be a good option to consider.

  • Your choice of outdoor fireplace will no doubt depend on the look and style of your yard.  I'm convinced that you can find an outdoor fireplace that fits.  What about those Celtic wind chimes, you ask?  Don't worry - Amazon sells a charming Celtic Outdoor Gas Fire Pit.  But would the Celts have approved of a fire that burns gas, you ask?  If it bothers you, then maybe the stately stone appearance of the Buckingham model will suit your English Garden instead.  Or maybe you have a lot of wrought-iron patio furniture and want to find an outdoor fireplace that won't clash with it.  Not a problem - there are some lovely iron fireplaces to consider.
  • Your options are vast, and only you know what your yard looks like.  Google "outdoor fireplace" and see what results.  On the right side of this page are some sites where you'll gain a better sense for the wide selection available.  Happy shopping!    


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