Like any home improvement, planning is important when selecting an outdoor fireplace. There are many things to think about before you buy or build any outdoor fireplace. Doing your homework is key to making the right choice and attaining the results you desire.

Mason-Lite specializes in prefabricated, modular fireplace kits that can suit any homeowner’s needs and budget. If you are planning to build an outdoor fireplace, and need expert guidance to get started, you can rely on us.

We’ve compiled a list of top things to think about when making outdoor fireplace plans. We’re also excited to hear from architects, builders, and homeowners who have gone through the process of installing outdoor fireplaces.

What are the most important considerations when crafting an outdoor fireplace plan? Did your outdoor fireplace construction project go how you expected? Share your experiences with us in the space below.

Factor #1: What is Your Fireplace’s Purpose?

An outdoor fireplace can be a true asset to your home’s landscape. You may want to create an outdoor living room—either enclosed or open air. Perhaps you wish to amplify an existing entertaining space with an inviting fireplace. Another common reason for adding an outdoor fireplace is providing a warm, cozy seating area that your family can enjoy in cold seasons. Cooking aficionados may appreciate an outdoor space for meal preparation. As MSN reports, many homeowners are transforming their backyards into comfortable, functional outdoor living spaces.

Your fireplace’s purpose is an essential planning consideration. For example, if you desire an intimate seating area, a small fireplace may be the right choice. If large group entertaining is your goal, a two-sided fireplace can provide more warmth and light for more people.

Factor #2: Which is Better: Wood-Burning or Gas?

Homeowners need to make a choice between wood-burning and gas fireplaces. Both have distinct advantages. You should familiarize yourself with both alternatives when making outdoor fireplace plans.

In some locales with restrictions on wood burning, gas may be the clear best choice. Natural gas burns cleanly. Also, since gas does not emit ashes or embers, it can provide a very safe fire alternative. Plus, most locales do not require permits prior to building. You also don’t need to construct a chimney for a Vent-Free gas-burning fireplace.  However, you do need to connect a gas fireplace to a gas line. This may restrict options for placement of a gas fireplace on your property. In addition, gas fireplaces do not typically burn as hot as their wood-burning cousins.

For many people, nothing can compare to the ambiance of a crackling outdoor wood fire on a cool evening. Wood-burning fireplaces offer classic, rustic charm. They can also be positioned in any location that complies with local building regulations. While wood-burning fireplaces produce ample heat and light, they also produce a lot of smoke. This means you must adhere to very specific requirements when building a chimney. As the U.S. Fire Administration reports, preventing buildup in chimneys can help cut risk of fire.

Factor #3:  How Does Your Fireplace Complement Your Home Design?

When creating outdoor fireplace plans, homeowners should consider the aesthetics of their home and outdoor space. Questions to ask include:

  • Is the current home style traditional or contemporary?
  • Is it better to match the current home exterior or is a design contrast desirable?

With all the outdoor fireplace designs available, you are certain to find one to meet your needs.  You can seek to mirror any existing stonework in your home or go for a classic brick-front design. Stacked stone is a modern style that is versatile and contemporary. Stucco is another popular alternative.

Factor #4: What Size Should Your Fireplace Be?

Fireplaces come in a wide range of sizes. To choose the right size, you need to consider the fireplace purpose and your existing home exterior. You should think about whether your new outdoor fireplace will be the main attraction in your yard, or accentuate the natural surroundings.

In addition, you need to pick a fireplace that is proportional to your home. A fireplace that is too large can overwhelm your dwelling, but one that is too small can look out of place.  Scaling the fireplace design to complement your environment is the best approach.

Factor #5: What Other Features Do You Want in Your Outdoor Fireplace Area?

When making outdoor fireplace plans, homeowners need to consider the goals for their outdoor space. Many people choose to create an entire outdoor living space, anchored by an outdoor fireplace. Designs can range from rustic environments that blend into the natural scenery to sleek, modern aesthetics. In fact, the American Institute of Architects reports that 68 percent of surveyed architects said that interest in outdoor living spaces is on the rise.

1It is a good idea to design your outdoor living space before selecting a fireplace. You need to factor in furniture that complements your preferred style. In addition, you may want to create a walled-in area surrounding your fireplace. You can add built-in seating to those walls for a truly unique seating environment. Plus, you can consider other convenient features, such as built in storage for wood or fire-tending tools.



 Start Planning Today

Today’s homeowners have many options for outdoor fireplace plans. With the advent of cost-friendly prefab outdoor fireplace kits, more homeowners are choosing to invest in fireplaces outdoors. The best way to make sure the outdoor fireplace you select suits your needs is to create a detailed space plan that takes into account several features. You should consider your existing home landscape, your planned use for your fireplace, and any local ordinances before you build.

Once you have a solid idea of your needs and budget parameters, you can contact the fireplace professionals Mason-Lite. We are one of the leading providers of modular outdoor fireplaces in many sizes and styles.

If you are planning to build an outdoor fireplace, we would like to hear from you.

  • Where are you in the outdoor fireplace planning process?
  • What other information do you need to help you finalize your plans?