Outdoor Fireplaces: 5 Must-Know Facts

July 09, 2013

Outdoor Fireplaces: 5 Must-Know Facts

When the sun sets and a chill descends over the back yard, you don’t have to rush indoors. If you had an outdoor fireplace, you could just hang out by a backyard fire instead.

An outdoor fireplace makes it easy to warm up and enjoy the drama of open flames in the great outdoors. You can even use it to enjoy tasty favorites like toasted marshmallows for s’mores too. Ready to buy one? Here’s what you should consider.

1. What it burns. Most outdoor fireplaces are designed to burn wood, but some have hidden built-in propane tanks that allow you to enjoy the warmth without worrying about stoking the fire.

2. What it’s made of. Outdoor fireplaces come in several materials, including high-temperature-rated steel, which is attractive, sturdy, and long-lasting. Cast-iron is durable, but be aware that it can rust. And while aluminum models stand the test of time, they may not hold up in the looks department. Copper fireplaces start out shiny and attractive, but will green and tarnish after just a few uses, so be sure that you like that patina if you go the copper route.

3. Its capacity. The larger the fireplace bowl, the more wood you can burn, and the warmer your toes will be. Unless you have a small space to heat, opt for a fireplace that can burn at least two to three logs or pieces of wood at once.

4. Safety considerations. Open flames bring potential danger, so it’s important that you choose an outdoor fireplace that is enclosed, or features an effective sparks-cover or screen. If the one you’re considering doesn’t have a screen, buy one separately.

5. Whether it has a cover. Protect your outdoor fireplace from the elements and prolong its life by choosing one that also offers a custom cover.

Do you have a favorite way to warm things up while you stargaze?

Julie Bawden-Davis

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