An outdoor stone fireplace is a stone fireplace which is installed in an outdoor location. Outdoor fireplaces have a number of unique needs which must be addressed for safety and durability, and stone is a great material for addressing these needs. Building supply companies often stock stone fireplaces which people can install in various locations, and it is also possible to build from the ground up, using stones from a building supplier, masonry company, or even the surrounding area. In both cases, it is a good idea to use the services of a contractor to ensure that the fireplace is safe to use.
Stone fireplaces can be laid out in a number of ways. Some take the form of fire pits, which hold the fire in a central depression inside the fireplace. Fire pits may be dug into the earth and lined with stone, or stones can be used to build an elevated fire pit. It is also possible to build an enclosed outdoor stone fireplace with a chimney for increased safety and efficiency.
Many outdoor stone fireplaces are designed to be wood fueled. Others can be outfitted to work with gas or pellet fuels. Gas and pellet fireplaces tend to be more efficient and easier to use, which can be an important consideration, although wood has a look and feel which many people value. In all cases, an outdoor stone fireplace should be used with a screen to trap sparks, and it should be surrounded with a margin of fire-resistant materials such as stone, concrete, or tile.
There are a number of ways in which an outdoor stone fireplace can be integrated into a landscaping scheme. Some people like to install fireplaces on or near their patios, providing warmth and ambiance to guests. Others may use outdoor stone fireplaces with cooking grills and racks, in which case a patio location is ideal for serving food.
It is also possible to build an outdoor stone fireplace into the wall of a house, or into a wall, rockery, or similar feature in a garden. Freestanding fireplaces can also work very well with some landscaping layouts, especially in the case of fire pits. If the outdoor stone fireplace is installed in the garden, it is important to keep shrubbery and trees well trimmed around the fireplace, so that sparks cannot jump to flammable foliage, and the fireplace should be installed on a rammed earth or concrete pad so that it remains stable.