The outdoors may seem like a strange place to put a fireplace. After all, fireplaces are designed to cozy up living rooms and mountain homes—not backyards, porches, and patios. But the truth is, fireplaces are just a step beyond fire pits, and you’d have no trouble sticking one of those in your yard. Plus, fireplaces tend to be taller, wider, and bigger than fire pits, so adding one to your outdoor space is a surefire way to make a statement.
Of course, adding an outdoor fireplace isn’t quite as simple as buying a fire pit. But since the addition is so effortful, it’s a pretty rare thing to see, and that makes it all the more special.
If you’ve decided to invest in an outdoor fireplace, the next step is to figure out where to put it and how to integrate it into the rest of your space. This question isn’t always an easy one to answer. Thankfully, plenty of interior designers have attempted—and pulled off—the outdoor fireplace, and in the process, they’ve offered up some ideas worth stealing.
Set the Scene With a Striking Material
Step one of crafting the outdoor fireplace of your dreams? Settle on a material. Choose between sleek concrete, classic brick, and shiny steel. Or keep things simple with textured stones that match the rest of your outdoor space.
Outfit Your Space With Entertaining Essentials
Invest in an outdoor fireplace, and your backyard will quickly become a hangout destination, so make sure you’ve stocked up on all the entertaining essentials you’ll need. Consider placing a grill nearby—or building in an outdoor kitchen. And if you’re a movie person, treat yourself to a TV and some cozy seating, too.
Let Your Greenery Run Wild
If you’ve been blessed with a lush backyard, expect your greenery to expand around—and perhaps even on top of—your outdoor fireplace. At first, you may be tempted to cut back the vines. But if you commit to pruning only what’s necessary, you might end up with a fireplace that looks worthy of a fairytale.
Pair Your Fireplace With a Pergola
Want to make sure you can use your outdoor fireplace, rain or shine? Pair it with a pergola. Pergolas are outdoor structures, typically made up of several columns and a flat roof. And though pergolas tend to boast open latticework, there are some solid options fit for turning your open-air porch into a covered porch.
Add Decorative Warmth With a Rug
An outdoor rug can put the finishing touches on any patio, but it’s sure to look particularly cozy next to a warm, inviting fireplace. Make your space look even more welcoming than it already does by softening your patio floors with a rug.
Cozy Up a Cold-Weather Retreat
Outdoor fireplaces are particularly popular in coastal environments, where the weather is delightful year-round. But, they may make an even more welcome addition to homes in cooler climates, where snuggling up by the fire is a classic pastime. To pull this one off, just make sure your fireplace is covered—that way, you can enjoy it on sunny and snowy days.
Let Your Fireplace Become an Extension of Your Deck
It can be tough to figure out what your fireplace should look like, so consider taking cues from what’s already in your space. By choosing a fireplace that matches your deck—in terms of color, texture, and general aesthetic—you’re likely to end up with a space that looks both sleek and intentional.
Craft a Cozy Outdoor Dining Room
Outdoor fireplaces come with a built-in excuse to entertain, and so do outdoor dining rooms. So why not combine the two? If you have the space for it, build an outdoor dining room next to your fireplace—and prepare to host all kinds of dinner parties.
Make a Statement With an Extra-Tall Chimney
Outdoor fireplaces can range immensely in terms of shape and size, and if you want to ensure your fireplace makes a statement, consider snagging an option with an extra-tall chimney. The taller the chimney, the more eye-catching your fireplace will be.
By positioning the fireplace against your house, you can keep the fixture from looking strange or out of place.
Build a Fireplace That Matches Your House
One easy way to ensure your fireplace suits your space is to make sure it matches your deck. But, one other great option is to make sure it matches your house. By using materials that evoke the look of your house, you can make your fireplace look like an extension of your home rather than a separate fixture you’ve built in your backyard. This visual continuity should be easy on the eyes, and it should also encourage freer traffic flow between the spaces.
Stock Up on Seating
No fireplace is complete without people enjoying its warmth, and those people need somewhere to sit. So stock up on cozy seating, and sprinkle it around your backyard—using your fireplace as a focal point.
Turn Your Living Room Into a Patio
Most of the time, getting an outdoor fireplace means building a fireplace into the backyard. But sometimes, it can mean tearing down a few walls in your house and transforming an indoor space into an outdoor one. That’s exactly what the designers behind AAHA Studio did here. While this approach certainly won’t work for everyone, it’s an idea worth considering if you’re tackling a remodel.
Paint Your Fireplace a Fun Color
Fireplaces tend to come in neutral shades like browns, grays, and whites. But colorful options are also on the menu, and they’re bound to make a statement in any backyard.
Use the Chimney You Already Have
Every fireplace needs a chimney. (That smoke has to go somewhere.) If your house already boasts an outdoor chimney, you may be able to repurpose it for outdoor use. In order to pull this off, your chimney needs to be functional but not in use.
If you haven’t been blessed with such a scenario, you can always build a chimney for your outdoor fireplace, attach it to your house, and make it look like it was there to begin with.
Match Your Lounge Chairs to Your Fireplace
Fireplaces can be incredibly striking fixtures. So, consider factoring yours into your decor scheme from the start. Instead of matching your fireplace to your furniture, work in reverse: snag outdoor lounge chairs that evoke some of the boldest lines, shapes, or colors in your fireplace.
Build in a Spot to Store Your Firewood
If your fireplace isn’t mechanical, you're going to need some firewood—and you’ll also need a place to store that firewood. Consider building some storage space into your fireplace. The storage space will double as a decorative accent (especially when filled with firewood), and it’ll give you easy access to fresh firewood any time you need it.
Mix and Match Your Materials
Many fireplaces are made from just one material, but that doesn’t mean yours have to be. So add some texture and visual interest by crafting your fireplace from one material and lining it with another.
Snag a Super-Wide Fireplace
If you love to host big groups—and want to make sure everyone gets some warmth—consider snagging an extra-wide fireplace. The unusual find will disperse warmth around your space. And since an extra-wide outdoor fireplace isn’t the kind of thing you see every day, it’s sure to make a striking addition to your backyard.
Level Up a Covered Patio
The great thing about covered patios? You can enjoy them in just about any weather. And an outdoor fireplace can make yours even more versatile. The cover will keep your fireplace protected from the elements. And the fireplace will ensure you can enjoy your covered patio—even when it’s frigid out.
Mount a TV on Your Mantel
Cozying up by the fireplace is a delightful activity. But it’s nice to have other stuff to do while you’re warming up. One great option? Watching TV shows, movies, and sports games. And if you mount a TV just above your mantel, you’ll be able to multitask by the fire any time you want to.
Frame Your Fireplace With Sconces
Your fireplace is bound to give off plenty of light—that is, when it’s lit. But when you’re in the process of lighting it, you want to make sure you’ll be able to see. So be sure to invest in a little outdoor lighting. A pair of sconces would look great framing your fireplace. But depending on your space, string lights or pendant lights could work just as well.
Build a Fireplace Into the Wall
Looking for a way to sneak a fireplace into a small outdoor space? Consider building one into the wall. The walls will be there no matter what. So if you can repurpose one to double as a fireplace, you can add function to your balcony without losing precious space.
Stock Up on Fire Balls
Once you’ve snagged a fireplace, you’ll need to fill it with something. And while firewood is a classic option, fire balls are another great choice. The concrete or ceramic balls can be used to start and maintain a fire. And they’ll add a touch of sleek appeal to your fireplace.
Turn Your Porch Into a Second Living Room
Now that you have an outdoor fireplace, consider treating your patio like another room in your home. Don’t stop after you’ve snagged a little outdoor furniture. Stock up on comfy seating, cozy things up with a rug, and sprinkle in a few accessories. Why? Your fireplace will invite you to spend a lot more time outside, and these touches will ensure you can comfortably do so.
Don’t Forget to Decorate Your Mantel
Outdoor fireplaces may be striking enough to stand on their own, but that doesn’t mean you should leave yours completely decor-less. Mount some art above your mantel, or adorn it with some small decorative objects. These finishing touches will bring your space together, making your patio feel even homier and more inviting.