Heat Up Your Outdoor Living Space: Exploring Fire Features

Fireplace with a roaring fire

Fire features are a great addition to any outdoor living space.  They provide warmth and give a great ambiance for you and your guests to enjoy.  From traditional fireplaces, firepits, and more modern fire tables,  there are many fire feature options to select from when planning your outdoor living space.  In this article, we will explore some of the different fire feature options available.  We will discuss the pros and cons and help you decide which one might be the best fit for your outdoor living area.

Fire Pits

The traditional fire pit is found all over the world and has been around forever.  It consists of a pit dug into the ground and maybe a ring of rocks on the top perimeter.  Or it can be made from stone, brick, or metal and be above the ground.  Fire pits can be designed in many shapes and sizes.

Pros:  A traditional fire pit is very affordable.  Put together a ring of rocks and you are set to go.  You can make a more substantial ring out of bricks or landscaping stones.  There are some landscape stones that are angled in on the sides that allow you to stack and make a fire pit easily.

Cons:  Smoke.  You will smell like a campfire in just a few minutes of hanging out around the fire.  Most firepits are not very stylish and do not make a design statement like some other fire feature options.


Outdoor fireplaces are a great feature for your outdoor living space.  The look and feel can change depending on the fireplace design and the stone type that is used.  You can also make it match the exterior of your home.  Outdoor fireplaces are typically made from brick, or stone or can be finished with stucco.  The fuel source can be either wood burning or gas.  They are a great option for larger outdoor living spaces.  You can purchase gas fireplaces that are pre-built in modules.  Just assemble the modules and connect the gas line and you are set.  A wood-burning fireplace is typically made by a brick mason.  But not all brick masons are capable of building a fireplace.  There is a lot more to it than adding some bricks to the front.  The firebox, throat transition, and chimney need to be sized correctly for smoke to be drawn up the chimney.

Pros:  The aesthetic of an outdoor fireplace is hard to beat.  Whether they have a roaring fire or are just sitting empty, they are very nice to look at and can give a nice finishing touch to your backyard pavilion.  If you are handy, you can DIY-build your fireplace.  It can be a very satisfying project.

Cons: Cost.  This is the most expensive option of all the fire features discussed in this article.  A gas fireplace will need to be connected to the gas line in your house.  This can be costly.  If you want a wood-burning fireplace, finding a mason that is qualified can be a challenge.

Fire Tables

Fire tables are a more recent entry into the fire feature design.  They are typically a table with a built-in fire feature in the middle.  Fire tables can be made from many materials, such as concrete, metal, or stone.  They can look more traditional or modern.  Fire tables usually burn gas.  Either natural gas or propane.  This makes them convenient to light and control the height of the flame.  They provide a nice visual focal point for your outdoor gatherings.  Some of these tables also can be used as a dinner table when not being used as a fire table.

Pros: Dual use.  Can be a dinner table or a fire pit.  Can be relatively inexpensive.  Can be purchased with a set of chairs at stores like Costco or Home Depot.

Cons:  Not as striking visually as a fireplace.  Some designs and materials can be expensive.


Chimineas are a smaller, portable fire feature that originated in Mexico.  They are usually constructed from clay or cast iron.  They will usually have a round bulbous shape at the bottom.  They have a narrow tubular opening at the top that acts as a chimney.  Chimineas are usually wood-burning and provide a good amount of heat.  They are a great option if you have a smaller space, or want to be able to move it around. (After it has cooled off)

Pros: Cost.  This type of fire feature can be very affordable.  Mobility.  You can move it to different locations if needed.

Cons: Being mobile can be a con.  Since it looks portable, it also doesn’t have the heavy permanent look of a fireplace.

Fire Bowls

Fire bowls are a unique and versatile fire feature option.  They are essentially bowl-shaped structures made from concrete or metal.  They will have a fire feature in the center.  Fire bowls can be designed in many styles, colors, and sizes.  They can be placed on the ground or on a stand to elevate them.  They can be wood-burning or powered by gas.  They can provide heat, light, and a modern look for your outdoor gatherings.

Pros: Cost can be low depending on the size and design.  Can have a modern look and feel.  Not everybody has one.  They can be a unique feature.

Cons: Not as stately looking as a big massive fireplace.

In conclusion, there are many different fire feature options available for your outdoor living space.  From permanent traditional fireplaces, or firepits, to less permanent Chimineas, fire tables, or fire bowls.  There are many designs and options to suit every style or budget.  When selecting a fire feature for your outdoor living space you need to consider a few things.  The size of the space,  how close your seating is to the fire feature, and how much heat do you want or need?  With the right fire feature, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for you and your family to enjoy.  Having a roaring fire going when your guests arrive helps set the mood for your outdoor gathering.


My name is Steve and I am passionate about designing beautiful and functional pergolas and pavilions.

Whether you need help coming up with an idea or already have something in mind, my goal is to help you explore the possibilities and find the perfect addition to your outdoor living space.  With my design consultations, you will have access to my decades of design experience and a personalized plan that fits your vision and budget.

If you are interested in taking the next step, I am a sales agent for one of the largest timber pavilion manufacturers in the country.  I can arrange to have your timber pergola or pavilion shipped directly to your location in the continental USA.  From start to finish, I am here to help you make your dream a reality.

Thank you for visiting my site and I am looking forward to working with you!






Steve Fleischer

Designer for one of the country's largest pergola and pavilion manufacturers. Steve has decades of design experience. Let Steve design an unforgettable structure for your backyard.

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