Outdoor Fireplace vs. Outdoor Fire Pit

March 28, 2022 Outdoor Living, Outdoor Safety, Patio Design

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit is an eye-catching, functional addition to your outdoor design. A fire feature adds warmth and ambiance and can act as a point of engagement for guests.

While fireplace and fire pit structures add similar appeal, they have some key differences. These distinctions play apart in deciding which one is right for your outdoor living space.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit is right for you.

Pool House Fireplace

How much space do you have?

A fireplace is probably the better option if limited space is a concern. They are usually smaller and can be built on the edge of a patio to take up minimal space. 

A fire pit may require about 150 to 200 sq. ft. So if space is limited, a fire pit may not be ideal.

Outdoor Fire Pit

How do you plan to use your fire feature?

Desired experience is a key factor. Do you envision a group of guests sitting around the fire chatting? Or is warmth and ambiance the goal?

Fire pits are usually round, square or rectangular, making them ideal to sit around. They can act as a casual gathering and interaction point.

On the other hand, a fireplace offers space for a couple of people to sit in front. You may find that a fireplace creates a more elegant atmosphere or a focal point in your outdoor design.    

Do you live in a windy area?

Climate is another factor to consider. Do you live in a windy area?

Fire pits tend to produce a lot of smoke. Due to the unpredictability of winds, you can run into the issue of smoke blown in an undesirable direction. 

Whereas, fireplaces are built with a chimney to carry smoke away from the house. You can also use your fireplace on rainy days if your patio is covered.

Brick Fireplace

Are you looking for wood burning or gas?

With both fire pits and fireplaces, you have the option of wood burning or gas. 

With wood burning, you get that nice warmth, crackle and smokiness—almost like you’re sitting beside a campfire. However, there’s a bit more effort required in building and lighting the fire, and there are limitations on the style. Wood-burning options must be built using masonry with certain fire codes met for chimney height and distance from structure.

Gas, on the other hand, starts instantly, and there’s virtually no clean-up. There’s also more versatility when it comes to styling as you can add decorative fyre glass or lava rock. 

Cost of Installation

Going with a wood burning option can be good for your budget. Gas requires running a gas line, which can increase the cost.

Whether you go with wood or gas, an outdoor fire pit installation generally comes with a lower price tag. However, outdoor fireplaces generally increase your home resale value. 

In addition to the financial costs, a fire pit may require more cleanup and maintenance depending on the type and how it’s installed.  

With careful consideration, the right fire feature can add practicality and style to your outdoor living space. 



Our experts are here to help you make the decision easier. Give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston, or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

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I have a lot of experience with construction and renovations, so some contractors find me annoying at best. My outdoor living project was larger than I was able to take on as it entailed adding an outdoor living area, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom with a fireplace and fire pit. It’s built onto an existing structure with a tile roof in a seamless manner. The completed project is amazing, and was featured in the Houzz project of the month for December 2013. It was a very large project so it took a long time to complete, however the process was absolutely painless. In my previous experiences, I have always had issues with miscommunications and added costs, among other things. My experience with Texas Custom Patios included NONE of these issues. The finished project far exceeded my expectations. The workmanship was superior, and the quality of the products is top of the line. I truly highly recommend them.

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