The heart of your outdoor room
Outdoor rooms have it all - comfortable seating, easy outdoor cooking, and even acclimatized conditions via options like patio misters. Outdoor fireplaces do the double duty of providing a nice heated place to sit through the colder months and a focal point around which you can arrange your outdoor furniture and accessories.
Outdoor fireplaces have changed from the crude stone-ringed campfire on your lawn. Now you can install a fireplace that looks like it belongs in an indoor living room, or go for a more rustic look with chimineas, back yard fire pits or outdoor stoves. Whatever the decor of your room, you can find a fire element that will work with it.
An outdoor fireplace is built out of masonry, but you don't have to hire a mason to put it in. Many models come already built, and all you have to do is install it in your outdoor room. You can choose to have a chimney or not, but remember, the smoke from outdoor fires can get irritating. If you choose not to have a chimney, you may want to arrange seating so that the smoke won't blow in someone's face. Your fireplace can be wood-fueled or you can buy a gas insert. Gas patio fireplaces will actually hook up to your natural gas supply - they're easy and clean. Outdoor fireplaces must meet all codes and must be properly vented for your safety. They also have the added benefit of being weatherproofed, so you'll never have to worry about the hearth's decor being destroyed.
These Spanish chimneys are actually small front-loading stoves with a bulbous "belly" where the fire is. They're great because they portable and don't take up a lot of space on your patio. They're traditionally made of terra cotta, but they also come in cast iron and other materials. They also don't produce a lot of smoke.
A variation on the campfire, back yard fire pits are no longer bound to their ring of stones. You can build a firepit anywhere on your patio or deck with round and customized grates. If you want to make sure that your children can't reach into the pit and burn themselves, you can buy a high-sided grate. If you're looking to save on space, why not buy one that fits flush against the deck railing? You can even find grates that have silhouettes cut into them, which will cast a dancing figure on surrounding surfaces when the fire is lit. Firepits are less expensive than outdoor fireplaces and can be wood- or gas-fueled.