An outdoor fireplace can be a beautiful statement piece for your yard, and it can make entertaining cozier and more exciting.
Knowing how big an outdoor fireplace should be, however, can be somewhat complicated.
Learning about outdoor fireplaces, where they should be placed, and what size you’ll need for particular activities can help you better plan the construction of your fireplace.
Outdoor Fireplace Dimensions
The shape and size of an outdoor fireplace can vary greatly depending on your personal taste and what you want to use the fireplace for.
For example, if you want to build a fireplace that you can cook in, you’ll need something that’s quite deep.
On the other hand, a fireplace that’s mainly for decoration and a bit of warmth can be much smaller.
Outdoor fireplaces can be as small as 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep, with a chimney height of 7 feet. If you want to add on other features, such as a mantle or seating area, or if you want a bigger fireplace, the size of the overall structure must increase accordingly. The sky’s the limit when it comes to how big your outdoor fireplace can be, but larger fireplaces that include seating usually range up to 15 feet wide by 4 feet deep, with a chimney reaching 15 feet tall.
The footing for the fireplace must also be a specific size. The footing should be made of concrete and should be at least 12 inches thick.
It should extend at least 6 inches from the fireplace all the way around. This footing helps to contain the fireplace and ensures that the risk of accidents is minimized.
Freestanding Fireplaces vs. Built-In Fireplaces
There are two options when it comes to how you’ll build your fireplace.
The first is to create a freestanding fireplace, which means that you’ll build the fireplace by itself, free from any other structures.
This is often a good choice for a fireplace that will be placed in a backyard or garden.
The second option is a built-in fireplace, which incorporates the fireplace into a stone wall, patio, or other structure.
Which option you choose depends on the type of fireplace you want, the construction of the area you’ll be placing the fireplace in, and how much room you have to add in things like walls and seating areas.
Gas vs. Wood-Burning Fireplaces
When it comes to building a fireplace, you can choose either a gas or wood-burning fireplace.
Gas fireplaces are often considered to be safer, as they can be quickly shut off in the event that anything goes wrong.
However, they can be more expensive to set up, and they must be built in an area that allows for connections to the gas line.
This means that gas fireplaces are often built-in as opposed to freestanding.
Wood-burning fireplaces are less expensive and can be placed almost anywhere, as they don’t require any connections.
Some areas don’t allow wood-burning fireplaces, though, so it’s best to check your local ordinances before making a decision about which fireplace is right for you.
Distance From the Home
When you’re deciding what dimensions and type of fireplace you might want, it’s also important to consider placement.
Because they involve open flames, fireplaces can be a safety hazard. Therefore, it’s best to place them at least 10 feet away from the home and any other structures.
This spacing must be considered when deciding on the overall size of your fireplace.
You may also want to consider wind when placing the fireplace. If wind most often comes from one direction, it’s best to place the back of the fireplace to the wind.
This helps to reduce smoke from the fireplace. This also helps to block the wind from anyone sitting in front of the fireplace.
Follow Safety Practices
In order to enjoy your fireplace to the fullest, it’s best to follow several safety measures to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
First, it’s important to always keep the area around the fireplace free of debris. Sparks can fly from the fireplace and can catch any flammable nearby items on fire, so keep blankets and patio cushions out of range.
It’s also a good idea to sweep before lighting the fire in order to get rid of any sticks or leaves.
If your fireplace is near any trees or shrubs, keep them trimmed so that they’re not in range of any sparks and so they don’t impede the airflow of the chimney.
Use a fireplace grate whenever you light a fire. This helps to control sparks and will also stop any logs from rolling out of the fireplace.
Remember that logs can shift as they burn, so even if they’re in a stable structure when you start the fire, they may not stay that way.
Never leave your fireplace unattended while a fire is burning, and always carefully watch small children and pets around the fireplace.