Designed for the Cold

Decks & More pool at night

Outdoor fire features are designed for year-round entertainment but truly heat up when the weather gets cooler. Studies have shown that being fireside can help reduce anxiety levels and lower blood pressure while also bringing a sense of peace and contentment. The crackling sound of the burning wood, the warmth of the flame and the glow from the light also bring an ambiance, value and functionality to your outdoor living space. Sound cozy? We tapped local fireside design pros to help us answer the biggest questions before you begin.


Fireplace on an outdoor patio

The two most popular options for your outdoor space are fireplaces and firepits. “You can do a fireplace inside or outside but if it’s a covered space, I recommend a fireplace instead of a firepit for safety reasons,” said Frank Pologruto, founder and owner of Decks & More.

Fireplace walls can merge with and blend into the surrounding elements of your space—from stone or concrete patios to retaining walls, pergolas, pool decks, waterfall features, outdoor kitchens or other landscaping elements. Fireplaces also offer a backdrop for people to add decorations to their outdoor space. “They have a mantle and people can hang an outdoor weather-resistant TV there, string lights and add a sound system.” said Navid Derakhshan, CEO of Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces. “The nostalgia that fireplaces bring is powerful.”

Gas or Wood-Burning?

Firepit outside in backyard

There are two types of fireplaces: wood-burning and gas-burning. “Fire has always been a sign of survival; it’s a source of heat and a way to cook food,” explained Derakhshan. “On a date night or staycation, wood burning gives you something to do and the pleasure of moving the logs around.”

The biggest perk of a fireplace is it draws the smoke away and gives out heat. This heat gives you the ability to cook food and depending on the fireplace’s style, you can do full dinners including chicken wings, baked potatoes, pizza and so much more. With proper mason work, they’ll last for many years and they’re easy to clean with a blower or hose. Plan to spend about $3,000 on average, but outdoor fireplaces can range from $1,500 to $20,000.

Gas fireplaces give very clean heat, but gas lines can be pretty involved to install so it adds a significant cost. Gas fireplaces are for people who don’t have time to gather wood or clean up after making a fire, and for those who are allergic to smoke or don’t like smelling like it.

Pologruto recommends gas for ease and convenience: If you want clean and very low maintenance, go with gas logs where you can easily flip a switch.


Firepits are also a very popular fire feature because they’re great for keeping a conversation going among groups, small and large. Whether you create built-in seating, arrange chairs on all sides or do a combination of both, a firepit allows guests to chat in a cozy, intimate gathering.

“We like to make 5-foot firepits because it gives about a 36-inch opening and can have lots of wood but more importantly, I can fit six or seven people,” said Derakhshan. “A downside of a firepit is you have to wait to put out the fire before you can go inside for extra safety.”

Preventative maintenance for firepits is installing fire mortar that allows for expansion, so it doesn’t crack, and also sealing the patio around the firepit to keep it looking good. Firepits typically start at $500 and custom-made options range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Added Warmth

Based on trends evolving over the last 15 years, an outdoor area will also help increase a home’s value when it’s time to sell. Fire-inspired thinkers should consider the fact that deciding to install a feature like this is a focal point all on its own—and should be purchased with that in mind. Don’t just pick out the first thing you see. Take your time, find one that makes sense for your lifestyle and in your space and invest in it accordingly.

Thinking through where the fire feature will be is important and having it closer to the house is key. Most entertainment is done inside the house so when adding an outdoor space, the goal is to have it close to the home. You’ll use it more often since convenience brings comfort.

Fan the Flame

Consider these budget-friendly fire features to cozy up your own outdoor space.

Black firepit outside

HeatMaxx Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Black Fire Pit, Chimenea ($211.39)

Black tabletop fire pit

HeatMaxx Fire Pit Propane Gas Fire Pit Table Rectangular Tabletop ($377.78)

Silver bonfire solo stove

Bonfire 2.0, by Solo Stove ($249.99)

Three flame fire pit

Lloyd Modern Gel Fuel Fireplace, TerraFlame by Solo Stove ($799.99)

Man in blue shirtFrank Pologruto, the president and founder of Decks & More, is now in his 18th year of business and he’s completed more than 900 remodeling jobs and earned more than 40 major design and contractor awards. Since 2010, Decks and More has donated more than $250,000 to area churches and charities.




Main in blue shirtNavid Derakhshan, the CEO of Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces, is a highly accomplished professional with a deep- rooted passion for outdoor and landscaping. His extensive knowledge and expertise have been honed through years giving him a unique perspective when it comes to landscaping and designing outdoor spaces.

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