They are actually a lot more than just 10 outdoor fireplace designs, but most of them are variations, and 10 seemed like a better title.
Patio outdoor fireplace designs
The traditional outdoor fireplace is the one that warms up an outdoor terrace or patio. It is a great addition to the living space and provides a little bit of coziness to the outdoor area. It’s a fantastic feature if you have the option to build it, no patio furniture can ever add the amount of character a fireplace can give your gathering area. Combine it or have it near a water feature like a pool or jacuzzi for the ultimate feel of the opulent design, despite the minuscule footprint.
A secondary option is to have an in-table firepit. Not as impressive as the fireplace, but still better than a patio with no fire feature at all. Running a gas installation trough a table is pretty straightforward to set up, and there’s a lot of options regarding tables out there, so you will probably find a match for your current set-up easier than a full-scale fireplace.
For smaller gardens and “properties” get a new world chiminea but get something with an impressive finish. (Check out our guide on Small Backyard Designs for more inspiration)
The come with a lot of vintage looks and styles, and over time you will see that old, decorative features have a longer shelf life than most other simpler designs. You just get bored of them slower.
This also works as a general tip. Always downscale the luxury details to something more rustic and richer in character.
A fire feature sitting in front of people is also nice because it adds to the view, creating depth to the yard by creating a focal point in the foreground to serve as a benchmark for the view.
Modern outdoor fireplace designs
Modern concrete fireplaces are some of the most versatile full-size features you can get. So if you change styles often, a clean white fireplace is the ideal element to prevent any future clashing of styles. However, the central white fireplace isn’t the most inspiring of features so allow me to paint some tableaus for you to draw inspiration from.
Think of new world colonialism. A simple hacienda with rough stucco walls and old world forged furniture with some oriental tapestry. If your sitting area is on a hill, and you have some edibles in the garden, maybe some fruit trees, the picture is almost perfect. Put some South American folk music, in the background, to complete the picture.
When you get sick of the colonial theme, step it up into the 20th century with some solid colors and bolder accents. Go for some Southeast Asian garden plants and some solid red throwing pillows on some art deco patio furniture.
If you want a break from the embellishments, and the European decorative style, sandpaper the grit from the stucco walls and get a concrete bowl coffee table, cover the ground with gray gravel and add some short and stubby potted plants on the side for a minimalist zen garden. See how versatile this is if you want to dip your toe into redesigning your garden. A simple concrete fireplace is the best choice. Easy to do and with one white concrete fireplace you get at least three styles to try out and endless variations.
Variations on concrete outdoor fireplace designs
Go further, and make it futurist. Use a large monolithic concrete fireplace and give your garden the feel of post-technological hard sci-fi. I love this for any urban garden, but it is daring, and I understand if it’s not for everyone.
For a more warmer futurist fireplace, replace the side panels with glass and have a 360° degree fire that illuminates the whole yard and why not some of the house if you have glass doors to the garden. Brighten up the scene with some fireglass over the fire, and you get showstopping centerpiece that is ageless.
For smaller gardens, drop the fireplace altogether and integrated the fire feature into a smooth solid colored table. Use a linear gas fire source and create a long strip of fire coming out of dark fire glass from end to end. Now imagine that view, looking at your garden trough a long linear flickering light stretching over your whole perspective.
This small size design can open up many design opportunities. Use multiple strips and integrate them into the walls all around the courtyard or in case it in plexiglass and make it look like a floating fire feature, just hanging there in space.
Grandma’s cottage style
Brick is the second most versatile material you can use for building assets, but it does come with more personality than concrete. So you can’t really make it work with absolutely everything. Personality also gives, however. So you can make a lot more scenes with it without losing its feel and trying to hard to integrate it. And it’s versatile and scalable, it works pretty well as a fire pit or some other smaller features. More on those later.
The scene is a classic German fairytale. Think of the brothers Grimm or the world of Tolkien. Dark brick cottages located in Bright green grasslands but surrounded by Dark earthy forests. In those forests, dark flagstone paths lead you to a closed off corner of the garden surrounded by thick temperate foliage. The only points of references are running streams of water washing large dark river stones and making the glimmer and shine.
Sounds good? This is how you do it. Get some woods, an orchard maybe. Make a clearing and make your sitting area there. Give the wall of the house an old brick finish and add a similar brick fireplace to the wall. Arrange the seats laterally from the fire and the makeshift “forest.” Make a path to a secondary element and cover it with flagstone and moss. For smaller spaces, downsize the orchard to just one tree as a counterpoint to the “cottage,” if you’re really struggling for space, replace the fireplace with a firepit. Accessorize any of these with wooden rocking chairs, maybe a bench and a porch.
Variations on cottage style outdoor fireplace designs
Go for a more story-like look and give your patio an outside library feel. Think Hobit library a la Tolkein with a view of the Shire. Cover the patio up and leave it exposed to the elements on 2 sides. Go overboard with the size of the fire feature, in this case, create a full lateral wall with 2 or 3 fires. Make it big and make it roar like a dragon’s breath. For the fireplace itself make use of old bricks with some gray cement, so everything looks ancient. Tolkien visuals are an incredible source of inspiration.
If you have a particular affinity for mushrooms, this is the perfect scenery to go wild with those colorful umbrellas. Trace some mycelium over an old log and watch it come to life with the ancient little shrooms. I usually don’t like them, but in dark, heavy landscapes like this, they do add something special, something not quite alien but a dash of Lovecraftian horror. Ironically enough, vegetable gardens whether on the ground or in planters also go very well with this fantasy theme, we all know hobbits have a green thumb.
Italian outdoor fireplace designs
Maybe you’re not a fantasy type, or want something more cheerful. So let me bring it down to earth, Tuscan dark red earth. From hobitts to Italian countryside houses. The seniore is thinkering all day in his shed. The seniora is bringing you treats every 2 hours, lunch is at five, and dinner is at nine, and as always it’s outside oven made pizza, made in their old brick pizza oven. The warmth of the oven and the red brick fireplace behind you makes the chilliest night just the right temperature for stargazing while sipping at some in-house vino and talking about past lovers. And that’s just a Tuesday because Sunday evening is a festa and the whole neighborhood is invited.
The greatest thing about this is that you do not need to buy expensive assets and most of you already have the yard primed for this if you have a southwestern arid theme garden. The only difference is that you add some continental finishings and abuse white natural stone whenever possible. The plants are the same, maybe the feel is just a little more crowded. But it does open you up with the lighter tones to try stronger colors.
Victorian outdoor fireplace designs
Maybe continental is too communal, perhaps you don’t live in an arid themed environment, and Maybe you’re more familiar with the NE Anglican style. For a Victorian / hamtonesque garden you just go darker. Warm tones become earthy, dark, and marble gives way to granite. But the brick fireplace will still work, you just replace the Mediterranean bush with something more Victorian, temperate and thirstier. I must warn you, I have no idea how to replicate the cold blue light that you find in Britain for 300 days out of the year. That’s an island secret, and they’re not sharing their trademark moody climate with anyone, except Bostonians, lucky sods.
For smaller space, to get these theme, you just replace fireplaces with smaller more portable chiminea, both terra cotta and forged steel respectively. But be on guard for the tendency for modern styles to get crowded fast due to their complex, substantial assets.
Outdoor fireplace designs made out of natural stone
This is harder to pull off by yourself but by God, can this make a scene. A stone fireplace is all you need for a decent garden. It pains me to say this, but it’s the quick and expensive fix. And it’s probably the best bang for the buck.
The warmth of the stone makes it just inseminate any garden with a Norwegian clift feel. You can get a wide variation of rocks, or you can just make your own. Scale works exponentially well with this design as our minds are used to associate gargantuan elements with rocky textures. How often have you seen a small mountain, after all?
Complement the natural feel with organic elements, moss finishing, a lawn and wood furniture, maybe a waterfall to get the full immersive experience of the garden of Eden. Or contrast it with a smooth modern couch to create that luxurious combination of upscale finishings and modern assets. You can also go minimal with a black boulder for a table leg with a glass top and give the impression of an adapted natural outcrop conquered by new modern materials but preserving its original character.
Again, the by the pool fireplace works great due to the texture of natural stone blending so seamlessly with water. Use a darker rock surface, and you get a scene plucked right out of the Hollywood hills or Monaco. Within a woodsman themed garden it elevates the whole environment to the level of hunter lodge and expensive sky resort living. Among small stout Japanese plants, you get some restraint but class is there in abundance within the restraint an old, ancestral feeling spills out from the intricate depth of the stone’s surface, infusing the scene with an ancestral stillness.
Greek stone lounge fireplace designs
From Buddhism to Greco-Roman showmanship. Create a circular amphitheater around the stone fireplace with seating out of light colored natural stone, granite, marble or some stained concrete. Keep it rouged, jagged, unkept, imperfect, natural as if it’s just cut from the quarry. Think of the Pantheon as inspiration.
Extend the landscape with some lamps spread across the garden. (Check out our Guide on Backyard Landscape Ideas for more inspiration here). Now, you have the perfect space for an old school toga party around a large central open fire, maybe a spiral fire to create some dimensionality and keep the geometrical playfulness. This also pairs very well with the stepped seating area and some wine.
Use a sloping distribution of seats and even play with height to keep the scene from being stale. Layer the surrounding area, make it rise up and around the fire or stage, or the primary asset. Use the environment for the vertical distribution if you can. Greeks were good at geometry and pure beauty or Euclidean aesthetic for the design nerds out there.
As you can tell this is built around hanging out with friends on warm summer afternoons and chilly summer evenings. This is the essence of Mediterranean culture, design for socializing and interacting with your fellow man.
Variations on the Greek theme
For smaller gardens, Light some torches, keep some white stone around for the theme, get some paved paths, light Mediterranean shrubbery and the occasional short fire pot, and you’re done. Invite some friends over and have a very old-school night of theater, poetry, and philosophy, Greek style. That’s the thing about certain European niche themes. It’s all very implicit. The mood, the atmosphere, and the small touches contribute a lot more to the vibe than certain assets that just scream a particular style. But all intents and purpose, you can get away with it, by just having some Greek columns made out of concrete. The smaller space the fewer you need, and your Greek garden will be cheaper.
On the other hand, you can go the other way if you have space. Go big, mythical, awe-inspiring. Go for a large fire pit with dark lava rocks.
(Read our Lava Rock Buyer’s Guide here for more info).
Integrate the amphitheater into the environment and create features that look like a Titan’s footprint. Here you can incorporate trees or even the house it’self as being just part of the sloping landscape. I know this is very specific, but if your backyard is a slope or in any way horizontally challenge the terraced amphitheater look is one of the only options you can naturally integrate into your environment, and the results will be amazing. By turning your limitation into a feature, you will whoosh past any other designer that could never afford to move a whole hill worth of dirt just to get that natural amphitheater slope. Turning your limitations into inspiration is the cornerstone of incredible design.
Primeval outdoor fireplace designs
Keeping with the larger than life theme, but going a bit darker. With some darker rocks, some larger foliage you can go prehistoric. Think lush tall ferns, some irregular flagstone paths. Large amorphous slabs of broken concrete from place to place. As a backdrop, have some dark, gritty rocky walls covering at least one wall.
Note: Read our, “How To Build a Fire Pit 2017 Guide here).
In the distance, A pond would be nice, or another slab of primordial rock, just out of range, on the other end of the yard. Improvise seating out of mid-size stones or some logs, or mini boulders if you have the space for them. This is not a time to be shy. Using scale is how you play the game. Large bright elements that make people feel small and helpless. Counter that with a lot of light, so it doesn’t go too dark, just don’t be shy and downscale the elements.
In this scene, everything is revolving around a large asymmetrical stone cave with a small opening and fire for heating up the prehistoric scenery. This actually looks amazing if you can pull it off, it is atemporal, and you can work with any woodland area, or climate, as you can just replace the vegetation with large rocks scattered randomly around the place. Now, the thing that really makes this pop is the use of flowers, powerful intense colors that just pop in front of the moody background. You can get a lot of mileage out of the environment always making it look 10 out of 10, 8 months out the year. And then going for the sleepy forest look.
Variation on primeval outdoor fireplace designs
For a somewhat down-scaled version, use a carved out gigantic boulder and make the fire inside it. Feel free to complement the rest of the scene with some shrubby plants, large super-sized rock walls, and dark rocky turf. Just enough so you crowd the visitor just enough that he feels the pressure of the environment. This fits the crowded nature of smaller gardens as the limited space works with the theme of small people in an old world where everything is super-sized, and nothing is made for people. For an even smaller version, but you are pushing it here, have a decent campfire and surround it with larger cat size rocks. In this case, you really need to go over with the look of your plants.
(To compliment this style; read our guide on great landscaping rock design here!)
For a counterpoint to the fire, get a large pond on the other side of the yard or a smaller one with verticality in the form of a waterfall. Surround it with some dark, dense vegetation. Now that I think about it this would be amazing if you have a lake-shore property. The deep water would actually work with the “human overshadowed by nature” theme. But if you’re not that lucky, a pond will get the visual job done. Trace the pond with some large dark stones. For a path moss and flagstone works, round stones if you are particularly masochistic and hate your ankles. As a distribution keep the setting a simple background foreground composition. One element close by and another to gaze at. If you lack length, curve the path and bend the gaze, so it creates an illusion of space.
Romantic outdoor fireplace designs
You know the look of those European old world castles and picturesque villages. Dark forged Steel and white stones with some dark moss are the general rule. Think Game of Thrones but will less Red Weddings. You have a wide variety of options for your patio considering that most of our decorative tradition comes from European romanticism. So you can go as royal as you want or just settle from some rustic wood finishings. The look will still keep. Abuse wood and forged steel. From the pathway to the patio furniture everything is either DIY, or you can find a fantastic deal online.
The visual language of romanticism is infused into every aspect of basic design, the flowery bends in steel, the embellishments on basic carpentry items or the embossing on some terracotta pots. These are the traits that make cheap assets usually distracting in more high-end projects, but if you are going for the romantic theme, everything will just fall into place. That is probably why this is a good go to when you want to go for a versatile style. There are no minimum space requirement or must have an asset. You just mix some colors and texture and look for really decorative assets. If you are a vintage freak, this is more of a passion project than a landscaping one. The number of bargains you can find online is absurd because unlike other design styles, this is constant ever since the 18th century.
Variation on the romantic fireplace design
Turn it up a notch and make it this into an all-encompassing feature that dwarfs the house as the fireplace of a tavern full of people. This can easily be done by building the fireplace on the house and transitioning that side wall into the aesthetic of the fireplace, either with paneling or covering the surface in the same material as the fireplace.
Lead the eye back from the fireplace with an elongated element. Use something like a visible stone pathway or a bar. Make it out of wood and keep with the tavern theme, but stone can also work, I’m just not a fan of rugged stone countertops, and if you do make it smooth, you lose the gritty medieval feel.
The yard has to have a hedge maze. It’s a classic medieval landscaping trope. If you’re worried about it all being too cramped, you can get away with mini mazes, think cat size. You get the effect but with minimal space and it will look like an exciting and cute miniature feature you improvised. Unless you live in a castle in the south of France, a maze is more or less to be expected then.
Just don’t combine it with the large fire feature. The clash might be too much. Go with one lead feature, the small maze with a smaller fire pit or a large outdoor fireplace with a full-size maze, maybe just some maze walls around the yard.
Large white smooth stones are a must have. The roman stone path would look cool but if there’s gonna be a lot of ladies in high heels, just skip it or go for disheveled pallet wood.
Of course, a pond and a mini arched bridge would be lovely, and you can even extend it into a mini lake for a large water feature as a counterpoint to the fire feature.
The medieval courtyard
This is something I saw just a couple of hours ago while researching for this post. Steel wood shed, with an open fireplace, an anvil seat in front of it for mood. The basic design is that of a rocky pathway leading to a open area with rustic benches and a wood table with another Roman stone path leading outwards toward the rest of the garden. Going under a rock arch between 2 walls. Stylized pit fireplace ready to spit roast a hog or any other large game.
My mind is buzzing as you can imagine because you can add a central fire pit, some torches either on the walls or to define the path. If you have a farm, this works great with the rural theme you already have. This just goes to show just how much you can pull from the main feature with a lot of character.
Take this to the next level and get some fire pots, those movable above ground cast iron pots. Alternate them with some hip-high planters. To get the feel of manufacturing and old utilitarian. Hell, the theme can even use some shine. Blend some fire ice in between fire stones to look like the dragon’s treasure is buried inside the fire.
Cabin in the woods
This is my jam. I just love the feel and look of the wilderness. There’s something about the woods that just opens up your sense and gives you a more dimensional experience. You smell the pine, you feel the breeze, you taste the charcoal.
Cabin escapism is definitely something you should try. Especially, if you have some trees around your property. Have a large wooden deck build up and let the grain of the wood show. Get a natural brick fireplace or any option really because in this case, we don’t need the fireplace to pull the whole scene in with it. Fire features just work so well with wood, we don’t have to force the theme on the fire element itself. Have a log rack lying around for atmosphere or make them into chairs or a table. Optionally you can add or some torches inside your garden. It actually works with anything as long as you’ve made the “log cabin” theme clear from the onset.
Variation on the cabin outdoor fireplace designs
The next level is hunter chic.
Think fur covers, an ax and more rugged elements for the patio and a faux log paneling on the walls. Use aged burned wood for paths, and log benches. The grainier and darker the wood the better in this case. Works best in northern climates. That added moodiness in the sky really adds a lot to the hunter cabin vibe. Do include a central campfire and keep a barbecue to the side. This is, however, one of those styles that you can half-ass, and it turns out lazy or bland. So if you don’t have any real study trees around, don’t force the woodland vibe and stick to the modern variations.
An exception to this is if you live in the tropics or near a “jungle-like” environment. Deer hunting cabin and crocodile hunting cabin are just shades of gray. And that southern Louisiana vibe is something you don’t really see anymore.
Still not sure what to think?
Check out our Guide on Outdoor Fire Pits Vs. Fireplaces here!