When the sun sets and it gets a bit chilly, sitting outside can soon lose its appeal. But that's where the best outdoor fireplace ideas come in, as they enable you to set the temperature in your yard no matter what the forecast has in mind.
Yes, a cold and rainy night is probably best spent indoors, but a means to keep warm in your garden (other than refiring your grill) opens up a world of possibilities and allows you to hunker down, cozy up and make the most of your outside space under the warmth of an open fire.
Generally speaking, outdoor fireplaces tend to be more substantial than even the best fire pits. Some can only really be achieved with the help of an architect, perhaps replicating the look of indoor fireplace ideas, but many designs in our guide are freestanding and don't require complex installation.
So read on and get ready to spend your evenings outside in style.
1. Choose a stone design that forms a boundary(opens in new tab)
If you a considering a fireplace at the outset of designing your outdoor space, try a built-in option. This stone design in the Wildwood Spa (opens in new tab) holiday let curated with help from Wayfair (opens in new tab) was constructed as part of a covered area, blended into the landscape. They used the local stone for an organic look, but limestone marble and granite are all popular choices.
The look is finished with a pair of Wayfair's Aamani garden chairs (opens in new tab) which come with cushions and footstools, perfect for lounging in front of the flames with a glass of wine.
2. Choose a traditional outdoor fireplace shape
If you don't have the means to build a fireplace outside, you can still recreate that traditional shape and brick structure. If this is your vibe, look no further than this Sunjoy Gwendolyn Outdoor Patio Heavy Duty Wood Burning Fireplace with Steel Chimney (opens in new tab) complete off the peg from Amazon.
It comes with a fire poker, mesh spark screen doors and a removable grate. As you can see, it's a lot more substantial and imposing than a patio heater. But just be warned: these things aren't small, so you'll want to position yours in the center of your patio to make the most of it and distribute heat in your space evenly.
3. Choose a see-through design for a contemporary look
Want a more streamlined, contemporary backyard idea? Look for an electric or gas outdoor fireplace insert, just like this swish example from Amazon (opens in new tab).
This rectangular stainless steel fireplace can be built into your garden wall and along with firing out lots of heat, it looks good too. While you will need professional help fitting this to your outside space, the durable stainless steel construction will be a game-changer in your outdoor space for years (and years) to come.
And, if you're a fan of stylish outdoor lighting, you'll be pleased to know this fireplace comes with multicolored LED lights.
4. Or opt for a chimenea if your outdoor space is small
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have tons of space to have a fireplace in your outdoors. Chimeneas, like this Wayfair (opens in new tab) number, offer a great compromise for those who don't have much room for a roomy outdoor fireplace.
The best chimeneas come in a wide variety of designs, but the most recognizable ones are cone or chimney-shaped structures with log stores at the bottom. They will keep you warmer than fire pits as they direct the heat more efficiently, but can still fit onto a tiny patio. It's a win-win.
5. Meet halfway with a chimneyed fire pit
Somewhere between a fire pit and a chiminea, this outdoor fireplace (opens in new tab) is super sturdy and modern in its design. It's a sure-fire way to bring the best of both worlds in terms of style and warmth into any and every outdoor space.
All you've got to do is add firewood or kindling and then the cozy vibes can begin. For more inspiring set-ups, check out our fire pit ideas for some hints on styling it up.
6. Keep yours wall mounted(opens in new tab)
You might not have the pool, but that's not to say you can't get a little fancy with an outdoor fireplace.
This charming outdoor wood-burning wall fireplace makes the perfect visual for an alfresco dining area. We adore the visible vertical flue, making this super contemporary and chic. And just think how warm and cozy you'll be while enjoying dinner with friends or family.
7. Zone your space with an outdoor fireplace(opens in new tab)
Outdoor fireplaces don't have to be fitted or mounted on a wall. Similar to a fire pit that can be moved around and placed into storage during the snowy months, this gas outdoor fireplace, from Wayfair (opens in new tab), is a brilliant option to welcome into your backyard.
It's gorgeously freestanding and see-through making it another modern option that would work really well to zone an outdoor lounge area too. Our advice? Grab a glass of your favorite tipple and your evenings are sorted.
8. Make it a focal point(opens in new tab)
It would be difficult to not focus on this steel outdoor fireplace from Garden4Less (opens in new tab) with its trusty design and rustic finish (that will age well with a little surface rust for effect).
Put yours in a prime location to stare at and watch it create the most impressive ambiance for you and any guests. We're sold!
9. Keep it minimal(opens in new tab)
Not one for fuss? This minimal propane fireplace (opens in new tab) hits the spot every time.
Made from lightweight Terrafab, this rectangular fire pit is ideal for outdoor get-togethers thanks to its stone design and it has a top table on which you can place food.
Complete the look with string lighting, carefully arrange some of the best patio furniture around the fireplace and prepare to get cozy.
10. Build it in
Or, if you're looking for a fireplace design that's built into your garden design, take your cue from MINT Landscape Design (opens in new tab). Functionality meets entertainment in this incredible design with vast seating space for guests to sit and enjoy the crackle of an open fire.
11. Choose a free-standing option
Working with a small deck space? Here's one way to safely add a fireplace to a compact outdoor space – perhaps you are looking for warming balcony ideas. The freestanding Le Feu Ground Low Bio Ethanol Fireplace (opens in new tab), which is built with a wooden tripod base, will keep your outdoors super cozy no matter the time or month and it can do so without releasing damaging emissions into the atmosphere.
That's because the outdoor fireplace uses eco-friendly bio-ethanol fuel meaning you can turn up the temperature with smokeless flames. This makes it perfect for those living in close proximity to neighbors.
12. Paint your fireplace
Instead of making your backyard fireplace design stand out – why not make it blend it? In this creation by Nathalie Blankwater (opens in new tab) the wood-burning fire sits perfectly in the middle of the outdoor living area and matches perfectly with the black fencing.
If you're looking for the best fence stains – head this way.
Are outdoor fireplaces worth it?
We spoke to Owen Pacey of Renaissance (opens in new tab) on why we're all so keen to add outdoor fireplaces to our backyards. He says 'Adding a beautiful period fireplace will really add the winning wow-factor.' It could even do wonders for your property value 'so while it’s important to enjoy the fireplace in situ, bear in mind that future buyers might just be lured in by this quirky, distinctive and stylish feature.'
'You can install any fireplace outdoors but I’d always recommend Bath Stone or Portland Stone for durability outside.'
Pacey tells us that the size of your outdoor space doesn't matter, explaining that 'you don’t need a big garden to fit a fireplace outside'. He adds, 'In fact, the scale of a fireplace can actually create the illusion of more space.'
Can I build my own outdoor fireplace?
You certainly can build your own brick outdoor fireplace if you prefer a little DIY. According to Pacey, 'All you need to do is install the brickwork flue for the fireplace to be fitted. In terms of practicality, gas is the way to go without a doubt, especially in urban homes. It’s better for the environment and no grate cleaning required. One gust of wind blowing ashes around everywhere and you’ll agree with me.'
What should you consider when adding an outdoor fireplace to your space?
Tony Woods of the Garden Club London (opens in new tab), says, 'Critically, one of the best ideas for an outdoor fireplace is to consider if that is really the right option for the space. Lots of people contact us dreaming of the focal point fireplaces that they see on our portfolio however when we visit and discuss the site, a feature fireplace can often be too dominating or just not give the right balance to the space.
'In this instance, a fire bowl or fire pit can be a better option and they tend to be more versatile. Groups can gather around, a couple can cozy up and they are easy to move whether it be burning logs outside of smoke control zones or the more sensible bio-ethanol.
'If an outdoor fireplace really is your thing then bio-ethanol trays are available to give all of the drama and effect of a real fire but with a lot less heat. This is a much more eco-friendly fire and I say just stick a jumper on and enjoy a hot drink!
'Alternatively, lots of clients invest in mains gas where the fire is available at the flick of a switch with little worry about limitations on producing smoke and the quibbles of lighting a real fire let alone the stress of stacking logs, clearing ash and getting a fire going. My own view is that real fire pits should be reserved for rural spaces and clean fuels such as bio-ethanol are a better option in the urban garden. It is safer to use in higher temperatures and cleaner. We must really consider how and where we use fire in the garden where so many combustible materials are used in fences, decking and furniture.'
Time to get toasty.