A Guide to Heating your Patio

outdoor fireplace

Shapiro Didway

Heat Up Your Outdoor World

patio pavers

Carol Heffernan

A fireplace extends the use of an outdoor living space from summer into all four seasons. . Unlike a fire pit, an outdoor fireplace defines your patio or deck as a focal point and destination–a place to gather, create leisure activities, entertain and make memories. Fireplaces range from inexpensive chimeneas and portable metal models to do-it-yourself kit projects by homeowners to beautiful fire features that are part of an outdoor room designed by landscape architects and built by contractors.

Outdoor fireplaces are constructed much like indoor ones: with a flue to direct smoke up the chimney rather than out into the seating area or garden. They can be as simple as a chimenea, elaborate extensions of an outdoor kitchen with spits, grates, and rotisseries, or with materials and structures that resemble the primary residence.

Design With Safety in Mind

Pay attention to where portable fireplaces are placed, making sure they aren’t on flammable surfaces or flames and sparks might ignite combustible materials. Check your local government sites for codes and laws regarding burning wood in your region. You can also check regulations.gov or the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Burn Wise site for updated information on burn laws. Alternative fuels to wood include propane, gas, and ethanol.

Enjoy a peek into some back gardens that feature fabulous outdoor fireplace ideas.

Mid-Century Massachusetts

outdoor fireplace ideas

Ethan Gordon Photography

Located on the fringes of a forested nature preserve in Newton, Massachusetts, this Mid-century modern home was remodelled by Mark Lawton Architecture to maximize its left-intact natural surroundings. The new outdoor living area includes a curving patio with a built-in fireplace and bench seating. Inspired by the surrounding landscape, bluestone was chosen to build the wood-burning fireplace. The fireplace surround and top cap are made of customized steel, while the bluestone seating is topped with ipe wood slats.

Modfire in LA

modfire in yard

Brandon Shigeta

A small shared back garden for a five-unit apartment in Hollywood was carefully designed by OverArch to make smart use of every square foot. Olive and citrus trees grow in a cast-in-place planter while matching hardwood benches face a black Modfire outdoor fireplace. Standing 4 feet tall, Modfire outdoor fireplaces are new designs inspired by mid-century modern models and are easy to transport.

Westchester Warmth

outdoor fireplace


A large garden for a New York residence features an outdoor fireplace set at the edge of an expansive patio. Designed by LDAW, the fireplace unit features built-in seating and firewood storage units on either side. The mantle and hearth are built of Connecticut fieldstone.

Chimenea for a Craftsman


Photo by Amy Gardner

A 1920s Washington, D.C.-area Craftsman bungalow was lovingly restored and received sustainable additions by Gardner Architects LLC, including a teahouse-style outdoor room and a garden update. That charming chimenea adds a rustic touch of warmth for chilly evenings.

Carmel Stone

outdoor fireplaces

Culbertson Durst

A gas-burning outdoor fireplace at a home in the stunning seaside town of Carmel, California was appropriately made with local Carmel stone. Culbertson Durst designed the fireplace with a slight curve to fit the small space.

Land Plus

outdoor fireplaces

Land Plus

An English-inspired transitional estate in Atlanta’s Buckhead community features a dramatic outdoor fireplace designed by Land Plus Associates to mask a 16-foot-high retaining wall. The fire feature is built with split-ace Lueders Limestone and surrounded by hydrangeas.

Ontario Getaway

outdoor fireplace ideas

McNiell Photography

A low, custom-built outdoor fireplace by Cedar Springs Landscape Group in Toronto, Canada is designed to not block views of the landscape. The fireplace is located near the natural pool, spa and outdoor dining set.

Old World

stone outdoor fireplace

Connecticut Stone

Stonemason Mike Nusdeo of Ridgeview Stone built a rustic-looking outdoor fireplace for a young couple in upstate New York who wanted a feature that reminded them of old fireplaces they had seen during their international travels. Nusdeo used Byram Black stone from Connecticut Stone.

Fireplace With Private Hot Tub

outdoor fireplace

Photo by Greg Heinze

Nordby Design Studio, Architecture & Interiors LLC completely redesigned the back garden for this Portland, Oregon home, which includes an outdoor living room with a double-sided wood-burning fireplace. A private hot tub was built on the other side of the fireplace, which is nestled into the back corner of the garden for privacy.

Waterfront Living

outdoor fireplace designs

Shuler Architects

This waterfront home on Mercer Island, Washington was a fire reconstruction project for Shuler Architecture and a team of forensic contractors. In the reconstruction, both levels were opened up to take in the views. The wraparound deck includes a kitchen, living room, stone veneer fireplace and TV for comfortable outdoor living.

Mediterranean Patio

chiminea on patio

Photo by Cynthia Montgomery

John Montgomery Landscape Architects transformed a sloping back garden into a private courtyard with an oversized entry door, Saltillo tile patio, custom water feature and a pool and spa. With limited space, a chimenea is perfect for the Spanish style patio.

Historical D.C.

outdoor fireplace

Cahill Design Build

A historical Washington, D.C. area home was redesigned by Cahill Design Build and the wood-burning outdoor fireplace was constructed with mortar-set Carter-rock stone

Mod Deck in Silverlake

modern outdoor fireplace

Madison Modern

A Red Ember Alto Steel Chimenea saves space and gives a mid-century modern look to this deck in Los Angeles’ Silverlake district, designed by Madison Modern Home.

Scot Eckley

patio pavers

Photo by Alex Hayden

A gas-burning Majestic fireplace was designed as part of a vertical wall by Scot Eckley for a back garden in Seattle. The Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is pruned often to keep it from wandering near the fireplace, where it can get crispy.

Vegas Escape

outdoor fireplace ideas

Troy Silva

An elegant white fireplace with a smooth surface blends well with other hardscape elements in this Las Vegas back garden, like the retaining walls, Arto pavers and planter edging designed by Troy Silva Design Group.

Shapiro Didway

outdoor fireplace


A complete outdoor living space was created by Shapiro Didway for a Portland, Oregon  to include a dining set and living room with a large fireplace made of basalt stone. The surrounding trees are Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green.’

Family Outdoor Space

outdoor fireplace


Considering a family’s requests, TriVistaUSA included a children’s playhouse, outdoor living room and custom fireplace into their design for a Washington, D.C. client. The fireplace’s surfaces are made of random, rectilinear-cut Pennsylvania bluestone.

Adirondack Style Outdoor Space

outdoor fireplace

A.J. Miller

When the homeowners of this upstate New York property entertain, they head for their outdoor living room at the edge of the woods. There, they relax near the fireplace custom designed by A.J. Miller Landscape Architecture of Syracuse, New York. Built with South Bay quartzite and Thousand Island pink granite, the wood-burning fireplace is equipped with log storage compartments.

Tudor in Westchester

outdoor fireplace

Significant Homes

What looks like a charming Tudor-style cottage is actually a two-car garage with an upstairs suite that doubles as a guest cottage or poolhouse with dressing rooms on the side. Designed by Significant Homes, the cottage’s wood-burning fireplace is built with fieldstone from O&G Industries.

Beach View

outdoor fireplace

A. McGraw

A low fireplace is incorporated into the outdoor kitchen of this custom-built unit designed by architect Robert A. McGraw. Heights are kept low to take in views of Laguna Beach canyons and the coast.

Lodge Look

outdoor fireplace

Centre Sky

A rustic mountain lodge look is achieved by Montana- and Colorado-based Centre Sky Architecture with a masonry wood fireplace covered in fieldstone. The caps and mantle are frontier stone.

Southwest Living

outdoor fireplace

Jason Wallace Photography

A gas-burning outdoor fireplace is the focal point when viewed from the living room of a Bartlesville, Oklahoma home designed by ​DRM Design Group. The surface is a custom blend of chopped stone.

Grapevine Arbour and Fireplace

outdoor fireplace

Photos by Peter Wodarz

An Illinois back garden features a wood-burning fireplace with Eden Rockfaced Dimensional Veneer for vertical surfaces. Coping is covered with Rockfaced Bluestone to compliment the home’s flatwork.

Private Patio

outdoor fireplace

Bill Wilson / Flickr CC by 2.0

A limestone fireplace is located on a private patio just off the master suite of an Oklahoma City home. While the homeowners are outdoors, they can enjoy a spa, outdoor kitchen, a fishing dock and a fire pit.

Old Brick

old brick outdoor fireplace

Lisa Hallett Taylor

An old brick fireplace on a small patio is decorated with candles and assorted garden knickknacks.

By Lisa Hallett Taylor