One of the most wonderful things about living in our state is the climate: an eternally blue sky, more sunny days, generally speaking, than not, and cool Carolina nights. We all enjoy spending time outdoors, and for some this includes hanging out with family and friends around an outdoor fireplace or firepit after the sun goes down – the perfect sort of relaxing end-of-day ritual.
Whether your dream outdoor fireplace is a traditional above-ground firepit or a more imposing stone fireplace with its own hearth, chimney and seating area, an ideal design is as much about adding a welcoming focal point to your back yard as it is about creating an actual source of warmth or light. An outdoor fireplace or firepit also allows us to enjoy our outdoor living areas for a longer period of each year than we may otherwise, giving a great reason to spend more time outside our homes in even the chillier fall and winter seasons.
The firepit or outdoor fireplace of your dreams
The options for an outdoor fire feature are truly endless and depend, for the most part, on budget, style of home and/or yard, space allocated for the outdoor firepit or fireplace, and amount of effort the homeowner is willing to put into maintaining and operating it.
A chiminea, affordable and portable, is a freestanding clay or metal fireplace with a round, bulbous base, a vertical chimney, or stack, and a large rectangular opening in front for adding wood. The chiminea creates a great deal of heat, and because of this, it is sometimes used not only for heating purposes, but for cooking as well. Due to its very vertical design, a chiminea is usually considered a much safer type of fireplace than a firepit, as smoke and fire are directed up and out in a more controlled burn than what a standard firepit can provide.
A traditional firepit, the most popular type of outdoor fireplace, is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and features.
The most common type of firepit is wood-burning and portable. The flickering light, crackling sounds and scent of smoke created by a wood-burning pit provide an ambience that is similar to that of a campfire, which, for most people, is the perfect addition to a warm summer or cool fall evening. The downside of a wood firepit is the fact that it must constantly be fueled with wood, cleaned and kept dry – chores some homeowners would rather forego in favor of a less labor-intensive firepit design.
Propane or natural gas firepits offer all the convenience and ease of use that a wood fireplace does not. Propane firepits, traditionally made of such materials as copper, faux wood, glass or stone, are portable and compact. Natural gas units require the addition of a permanent, natural gas line to your backyard or patio, but once a line is installed there is no chance, ever, that your firepit will run out of fuel. A propane or natural gas firepit is ideal for a homeowner who appreciates the convenience of being able to turn the pit on or off as necessary, and to transport it from place to place with ease.
An outdoor fireplace can add a dramatic focal point to a patio or backyard that otherwise might not be used to its full extent. The variety of designs for such a structure range from a more traditional, freestanding brick fireplace to an additional full-fledged outdoor area featuring fireplace, tables, chairs, kitchen and grilling area, and even artwork. Contemporary or rustic, simple or ornate, an outdoor fireplace can provide an interesting and inviting outdoor setting that not only provides heat but is perfect for entertaining and relaxation, too.
When all is said and done, the warmth and glow of a firepit or outdoor fireplace will provide enjoyment for most homeowners for years to come.
For some inspiring outdoor fireplace design ideas, check out
The great debate: fireplace vs. firepit