When it comes to adding warmth and ambiance to your outdoor living space, few features are as appealing as an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. These additions can turn an underutilized backyard into a cozy oasis perfect for entertaining, relaxing on cool evenings, and enjoying some fresh air. But which option is right for your home? In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, so you can make an informed decision on which one to install.
Style & Aesthetics
Both outdoor fireplaces and fire pits add a warm and welcoming atmosphere to your backyard space. However, the style of these features can differ dramatically. Fire pits are generally more informal and rustic, with seating arranged around a central pit that accommodates the fire. This style is particularly suited to cottages, cabins, and rustic homes with a naturalistic aesthetic. Outdoor fireplaces, on the other hand, are more formal and structured, often featuring grand masonry constructions and chimneys that anchor the design of the outdoor space. These features are well-suited to more formal homes or those with an architectural style that requires matching features.
Cost & Maintenance
Both outdoor fireplaces and fire pits have an upfront cost to install. However, the cost of a fire pit is typically less than the cost of an outdoor fireplace, due to differences in materials and labor required to build. Additionally, fire pits are usually simpler features, meaning that the cost of maintenance is lower than with an outdoor fireplace. Outdoor fireplaces may require routine maintenance to keep them in good working order, ensuring that they remain safe while providing the required amount of heat.
Both options provide heat that can extend your outdoor season and allow you to enjoy your outdoor space when the temperature cools down. However, outdoor fireplaces may offer better energy efficiency, as they can be constructed with a chimney that funnels smoke and heat upwards, keeping you warm while minimizing smoke and soot in the immediate area. Fire pits, on the other hand, release heat and smoke in all directions.
Space & Functionality
Space constraints may dictate which is the better choice for your outdoor area. If your space is limited, then a fireplace may be too large for your area, while a fire pit can be designed to fit into almost any paver space. Additionally, if you’re looking to use your outdoor feature for cooking, fire pits may be better suited to this purpose.
Fire features are subject to regulations, especially in residential areas. Fire pits in most cases have fewer regulations and offer more flexibility with installation locations. Some municipalities require permits, while others specify proper setback distances from buildings, trees, or property lines. Outdoor fireplaces can be more heavily regulated with requirements for chimney height, firebox size, and other design necessities. Checking local laws and outdoor burning restrictions should always be done before planning an outdoor fire feature.
Add a Degree of Warmth to Your Outdoor Space
If you’re looking to create a cozy atmosphere in your backyard, look no further than Northwood Outdoor Services for top-rated outdoor fire place and fire pit installation in the northwest and west metro. Fill out our online form today to get a quote.