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Outdoor Fireplace or Firepit: Which is Best for Your Garden?

There are few things in life as subtly satisfying as cosying up to a roaring outdoor fire on a mild spring evening. However, if you’re looking to heat up your garden (quite literally) this year there are two primary options to choose from, each offering their own distinct benefits and drawbacks.

Both outdoor fireplaces and firepits provide warmth, light, and a focal point for gatherings, but they serve very different aesthetic and functional needs. To help you decide, one way or the other, here’s a comparative look at the advantages and disadvantages of each,

Outdoor Fireplace Pros and Cons

Everyone has a firepit, but how many people can claim they have a legitimate fireplace in the garden? An outdoor fireplace serves as a striking architectural feature that can anchor any outdoor living space and really set tongues wagging at your next big BBQ. Its structure is generally more formal, often built into a wall or as a standalone feature using materials such as bricks, which not only look aesthetically pleasing but also help retain heat. 

Fireplaces tend to offer a more controlled environment for a fire, which is safer in smaller or more enclosed spaces. They are also free from the dreaded smoke clouds that generally blight firepit gatherings, as they typically include a chimney that directs smoke upwards. They are, however, significantly more expensive than the alternative and will take up a muche larger space in your garden. They are also permanent, whereas many firepits can be moved elsewhere when not in use.

Firepit Pros and Cons

Firepits, on the other hand, offer a more casual, accessible option. They are typically less expensive and easier to install than outdoor fireplaces and can even be bought from your local DIY store and put together with minimal fuss. They can be either permanent fixtures built with durable materials like bricks, or portable options made from metal that you can move as needed around your garden. 

This flexibility makes firepits a popular choice for those who enjoy gathering around a fire from multiple angles, working well for larger groups and a more communal atmosphere. The main drawback of a firepit, however, is the smoke. Anyone that’s spent a night around one will know what we’re talking about here as the smell of smoke will stick to your clothes for days. It even gets in your hair!

What Else to Consider When Choosing

There are several factors to consider beyond just aesthetics and budget. Consider the space available in your garden; fireplaces generally require a backdrop or wall and have a larger footprint, while firepits can be more versatile in placement and won’t demand as much consideration when planning the dynamics of your garden space. 

Weather conditions also play a critical role, and fireplaces may provide better protection against wind. You’ll also need to consider what you’ll be actually using it for, whether it's for cooking, warmth, or simply adding a decorative element to your garden. Finally, local regulations may influence your choice, as some areas have specific codes regarding open flames in residential areas. So, always do you due diligence and make sure you’re not upsetting the local council and (of course) your neighbours!


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