A fireplace usually conjures up images of sitting on the hearth indoors, sipping a warm drink. However, thanks to modern ingenuity, outdoor fireplaces are just as popular as their indoor counterparts. Now on those cooler nights, you don’t have to leave your patio to enjoy a traditional fireplace.
Outdoor fireplaces tend to be constructed from three main materials: stone, brick and plaster. Some styles mix these materials. Take a look below for some of the top outdoor fireplace designs in each material. You may just be inspired to install your own.
Stone outdoor fireplaces
Stone is a natural material for a fireplace. It’s fire resistant and can be arranged in attractive patterns. Different colorings also make for interesting contrast. Depending on how the stone is arranged, you can have a rustic look or a more neat style — you might even use the stone to create an accent wall.
What’s more, stone offers versatility in any outdoor setting. Stone outdoor fireplaces allow for cooking additions like a pizza oven. Some styles add a TV onto the stone’s surface above the fireplace.
Different shapes of stone combined on an outdoor fireplace add geometric interest. Image: Gustavson/Dundes Architecture and Design
Rough-cut stone creates a rustic accent wall outside. Image: Coats Homes
Natural, barely cut stone can create a rustic accent around the fireplace itself. Image: Urban Design Associates LTD
Combining many different stone textures and types gives off an old-world, rustic vibe. Image: Connecticut Stone
Outdoor fireplaces can have cooking functionality, as in this design that includes a pizza oven to the right. Image: Paradise Restored
Brick outdoor fireplaces
Brick is another no-brainer choice due to how fire resistant it is. Beyond mere function, brick can also support a wide array of styles. The most common type you’ll see is a basic red brick, which creates a classic look. Some of these brick patterns appear truly rustic, with a more loose fit between the bricks. Sometimes the bricks form neat patterns. Other times the red combines with darker brick shades for contrast.
Whatever the style, brick fireplaces are a great way to get that classic style while adding some deep red color to the space.
Red brick creates an old, classic schoolhouse vibe. Image: Sport Nobles Construction
You can also cut brick to make interesting geometric styles. Image: Jonathan Stanton Tile Artisans
Arranging brick in a more tiered design with wider spacing gives it a rustic look. Image: EASYdesigns
Brick can also form different attractive patterns. Image: Tom Crane Photography
Dark and light brickwork join together for a more colorful style. Image: Chas Architects
Plaster/smooth texture outdoor fireplaces
Another way of creating an outdoor fireplace is to go for smoother textures, usually made of plaster. These types of outdoor fireplaces work well in Southwestern styles for a kiva look. But smooth styles aren’t just for appearances; they have a useful functionality. They make a good base for adding decorative elements like tile and terra cotta embellishments.
These styles can also utilize interesting geometric designs. Because they’re not restricted to boxy, brick styles, designers can shape smooth texture fireplaces more easily.
This smooth outdoor fireplace works great in a Southwestern style. Image: Terra Bella Landscape Development
Smooth fireplaces also work well free-standing. Image: CLK Construction
Embellishments like terra cotta tile add some Southwestern flair. Image: Tierra Y Fuego
Fireplaces can create a cozy relaxation area after a good swim. Image: Susan Friedman Landscape Architecture
Outdoor fireplaces can also extend into surrounding seating. Image: Longmire Photo
Mixed materials in outdoor fireplaces
One key way to achieve visual interest and style is to go for mixed materials in an outdoor fireplace. It’s exactly what it sounds like: combining the three materials above into one design. That means, for instance, having a plaster mantel with sidings of brick and stone.
Other styles might use different materials completely, like wood. Still others use metal and stone for some attractive texture contrast. This style is all about getting creative with how different materials complement and contrast each other.
Brick and smooth surfaces combine well to create a unique style. Image: Graytek