Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit?

I went to a party the other day and was so blown away by the comfort and ambiance of the host’s outdoor fireplace that I didn’t want to leave. I’ve been thinking ever since about the kind of fire feature that I want to add to my backyard. I was surprised by all of the things I should consider before my purchase. What style do I like? Will I be using it for things other than ambiance? Where should I put it?

A fire pit is a simple design that could easily be tucked into my backyard without any disturbance to the landscape. A fireplace, on the other hand, has the potential to become a major focal point. I think both could be dressed up or down, but the fire pit seems more casual just by the way people sit around it like a campfire.

Will I be using my fire for ambiance or will I need it for heat and/or cooking too? An advantage to a patio fireplace is that the chimney will clear away smoke, but chimneys vent heat, too. We will be able to better enjoy these cool summer nights if the fire feature warms our seating area. For cooking, I think a fire pit is easier and more fun to use than a fireplace.

My last consideration is placement. A fire pit wouldn’t be safe in a breezy area or under a covered patio. A fireplace could be placed as an anchor to a covered patio, solving the escaping heat issue. For optimal draw though, it shouldn’t be placed too close to the house.

I have some thinking to do. I want to call Chimcare next week. They have masons who specialize in fireplace construction and know how to build a safe and long-lasting outdoor fire feature.

Jesse Peralta

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