How to Choose the Best Outdoor Fireplace

Modern people lead a very dynamic and busy life. Overwhelmed with daily responsibilities and problems, many look for an opportunity to shake off the stress in nature. Others prefer to relax, surrounded by the comfort of their own home. Why shouldn't you do both if you have a garden?

Building an outdoor fireplace in your home is an incredible option. It will keep you warm in the cold evenings and also be the perfect final touch for your yard. You have seen beautiful homes online, right? Nothing beats an outdoor fireplace when we speak about aesthetics.

In this article, we will explain how you can choose the best fireplace and what you need to consider. We will also discuss the different types and construction options. Continue reading below to find out everything about garden fireplaces.

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Fireplace?

You can achieve the desired decorative and functional effects by following a few basic rules. First comes the stylistic correspondence between the fireplace and the exterior design. All aspects must be in full harmony. This includes the type, the dimensions, and the materials for construction.

1. Imagine a classic massive fireplace made of gray refractory bricks or processed stones. 

This type is aesthetically suitable for classic residential buildings and gardens. Modern homes and gardens, in turn, allow more freedom and even extravagant solutions.

2. The location for the outdoor fireplace must be flat. 

Keep in mind the direction and strength of the winds in the region. An inappropriate location can lead to some equally undesirable consequences.

3. From the point of view of fire safety, an open fireplace should be far enough from light wooden buildings. 

This includes even those of a temporary nature.  Furthermore, high temperatures can affect the development of ornamental trees and shrubs. For this reason, choose locations at a suitable distance from them.

4. An outdoor fireplace can be either decorative or functional with options for cooking. 

If you only want warmth and aesthetics, you will have a wide variety of options. Our advice: choose in accordance to the style of your home. If your home has a traditional or vintage look, definitely skip on the modern minimalistic designs.

As for barbecue fireplaces, the only difference is the design. A fireplace-barbecue should have a side table. It is not mandatory but it helps with utensils and dishes.

5. Outdoor fireplaces can be made from a variety of materials. 

The options are endless: bricks, clay, refractory bricks, processed stone, metal, gabions. The combustion chamber can be made of metal or masonry. The commercial network offers prefabricated wood fireplaces as well as metal gas fireplaces.

Fireplaces with a metal chamber and construction made of gabions are common nowadays. Building them is quick and easy, they are not expensive, and look attractive. Search for those for a more unpretentious setting.

6. Unlike indoor fireplaces, hearths do not need precise calculations.

 If you have experience in construction, you can build one yourself. It is enough to determine the correct location and to have a clear vision of the type of construction.

Fireplace Types

Now is the time to make one important note. Fire pits, chimeneas, and patio heaters are not outdoor fireplaces. This is wrong. Having a fire pit or a barbeque that you can move anywhere is one thing. Having a large outdoor fireplace is completely different.

In general, outdoor fireplaces are not very different from their indoor counterparts. They sometimes are bigger but that is pretty much it. As usual, there are two main types and your choice should depend on the style of your home. Other than that, would you prefer to light the fires yourself using wood or use a switch to turn on the gas?

Gas fireplaces

One of the first things to consider is the type of fuel you will be using. Gas fireplaces are available with propane, natural gas, and other alternative fuels. Some cost cheaper in the long-term but have certain drawbacks. Generally, choosing the fuel type is much easier once you select the perfect location.

Moreover, your buy needs to meet all certifications and requirements for use. Safety comes first and you do not want to make mistakes when working with gas. Each municipality has different codes and regulations that anyone should follow.

Gas fireplaces are mostly made of stainless steel but they come in all shapes and styles. While the base will be metal, you can find neatly decorated fireplaces with wood, stone, bricks, etc.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning outdoor fireplaces are more traditional. The problem is they come with several requirements that you should follow.

The good thing about this choice is that you will not worry about fuel. Instead, you will need wood, which is often cheaper. Not to mention the authentic feeling of lighting it up yourself and the smell of burning wood.

In most cases, wood-burning outdoor fireplaces are made from stainless steel. This ensures that the hearth will last a lifetime. Of course, you will not see this steel when you buy a prefabricated fireplace. You will see the finished decorated design that will blend in with your outdoor area.

There is one rule to follow with wood fireplaces. Unless you install it further than 10 feet from your house, you need to follow the 3-2-10 rule for chimneys. As follows, the chimney must be at least two feet higher than the highest point of your house.

With this said, you still have one decision to make. Will you buy a prefabricated outdoor fireplace or build one yourself? In each case, we recommend consulting with a certified professional. Even if you construct it yourself, you need to know and follow codes and regulations.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric outdoor fireplaces are the modern alternative. In many ways, they are better than gas or wood-burning fireplaces. You can forget about cleaning and maintenance. You can also forget about the long wait until you light a proper fire.

There are a couple of disadvantages to this alternative. Paying for wood or gas is one thing but paying for electricity is a completely different story. If you plan to use the fireplace every day or often, do not get an electric one. Yes, they are often affordable but the long-term costs can be devastating.

How much does it cost for an outdoor fireplace?

The cost of an outdoor fireplace will always vary. It all depends on your idea and choice. This is not one of the cases when more expensive means better but you definitely do not want a cheap kit.

The average price for a prefabricated outdoor fireplace is $3000. You can find good ones for less but high-end examples can reach $10,000.

The cost also depends on whether it involves custom work. Prefabricated kits only need installation. We recommend hiring a contractor for this process. Depending on the fireplace, this could cost you from several hundred dollars to a thousand.

Here comes the expensive alternative - custom builds. If you are willing to spend extra, nothing beats the custom work of a professional mason. This would cost around $10,000 or even much more. It all depends on the construction, materials used, and hours of labor.

Last but not least, a DIY outdoor fireplace is the cheapest option. It also gives you plenty of room to improvise. Even so, unless you have experience in this area, the result will unlikely be as professional.

Costs can also vary depending on the fuel type for gas fireplaces. Gas line installation raises the cost. Then, gas is not always cheap to use, so budget another several hundred dollars per year for that too.

The costs often discourage people from getting an outdoor fireplace. This refers to all variants – prefabricated, custom, and DIY. Fire pits are a common alternative but they are incomparable. Nothing beats a real fireplace in the garden.

Can I build my own outdoor fireplace?

As a start, you need to check for any local codes that prohibit outdoor fireplaces. Some municipalities forbid such constructions and the fines are not small.

Then, you have to make a decision about the construction. Will you do it all from scratch or will you buy an unfinished kit. The latter means that you will get the premade pieces for the fireplace apart from the veneers. This option will still give you plenty of room to improvise but without the heavy labor work.

Many companies offer unfinished kits made from a wide variety of materials. If you want to construct one yourself, there are custom plans available online.

In most cases, DIY means lower costs but this all depends on the size and cost of materials. It also includes purchasing equipment that is not cheap. In the end, a custom outdoor fireplace may as well end up more expensive than a premade kit.


Outdoor space comes with obligatory maintenance. Sometimes, it requires more cleaning than the inside of your house. An outdoor fireplace will not make your life easier. Especially if it is a wood-burning one, prepare for monthly or annual cleaning. 

Of course, people rarely do the cleaning themselves. It is much easier to pay a professional. Moreover, it guarantees that the job will be done properly. The average yearly costs of fireplace cleaning services are between $200-300. For larger fireplaces, expect to pay more. 

Gas fireplaces are easier to clean in most cases. Still, we would recommend getting professional help. 

Outdoor furniture is also prone to damages caused by the weather. It all depends on where you live but sooner or later, it could happen.  Damage is most common in fireplaces built from stone. 

Stonework damage is natural and repairs can be costly. If you notice cracks or loose stones, seek professional help. Yes, these are not major issues. And yes, if not repaired, they could turn into massive cracks. Better late than never is not always the correct thinking. When it comes to outdoor fireplaces, early repairs will save you thousands of dollars.  

What is the best outdoor fireplace?

By now, you should know that the best outdoor fireplace could not be the same for each individual case. In other words, it depends on the space you have in your garden. It also depends on the style of your home, as well as your personal preferences.

For example, we would not attempt to give you the “best” wood-burning fireplace. There are too many options in this specific category. Furthermore, you can customize any wood fireplace. When it comes to exceptional gas outdoor fireplaces, we can help.

Kalea Bay is a high-quality stainless steel outdoor fireplace by Firegear. The company guarantees that it can withstand the harshest weather conditions. It is available in several sizes that make it suitable for any available space. This model comes equipped with Natural Gas (NG) or Liquid Propane (LP). More importantly, you can convert to the other upon arrival. Each fireplace comes with a conversion kit.

The model does not have any external chimneys or vents. This makes it the perfect choice for anyone with customizations in mind. This outdoor fireplace is available on the Vanir Outdoor Kitchens website here. If you chose to buy an unfinished kit, Kalea Bay is the ultimate choice.

Final Words

An outdoor fireplace is the perfect final touch for any outdoor space. It will become the focal point of your garden and a good excuse to have guests. 

If you reached this far, you already know how to choose the right fireplace for your home. Even more, you know what to expect and how to approach this incredible purchase. Now it's time to make a decision. Click here and see some exciting examples of gas outdoor fireplaces ready to be placed in your garden.

This is an investment that will completely change your home and possibly your life for the better. Just think about the coziness of a warming fireplace under the night sky. After all, your home is the most important place in your life. An outdoor fireplace will only make it better. 

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