Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit: Which is Right for Your Yard?

Feb 12, 2018

Outdoor living spaces have become so popular that people are putting just as much time, money, and effort into creating killer outdoor kitchens and living rooms as they are indoor counterparts. If you want to get the most enjoyment from your Sioux Falls yard, however, you need to consider the best way to take your yard from day to night, as well as season to season.

In other words, a fire feature is an essential part of increasing the use value of your outdoor entertaining space. Once you’ve got your landscaping, hardscaping, site structures, and lounge areas on lockdown, it’s time to decide whether you want a fireplace or a fire pit. Which is right for your backyard? Here are a few things to consider.

Light and Heat

Fire features have two main functional purposes: to provide light and heat. Both fireplaces and fire pits will meet your needs, but in different ways. The main difference is that a fireplace is directional. Whereas the light and heat produced by a fire pit can radiate out in all directions, a fireplace can only really project light and heat one way, which makes proper placement a rather important consideration, especially if you want your fire feature to provide some measure of illumination for your yard.


If your fire feature is gas, you won’t have to worry about smoke, but if you plan on burning wood, you should know that you’re going to have to deal with the smoke it produces. With a fireplace, this is generally no problem. The majority of smoke will go up the chimney, so long as you keep it clean and free of debris and varmints.

The smoke from a fire pit, on the other hand, has no measure of control. On a windless night, it should float straight up, but even the barest whiff of a breeze will push smoke toward anyone seated on the leeward side of the fire. You should have a fair notion of how breezy your backyard is, and that can help you decide not only which type of fire feature better suits your needs, but also how placement might impact usage.


There’s just no getting around the fact that fireplaces tend to require less space than fire pits. Again, this has to do with directionality. Your fireplace can be backed against an exterior wall, an area of fencing, or one side of a pavilion, just for example, placing it out of the way, so to speak. Because a fire pit is open on all sides, and you probably want to allow for seating all around, it will obviously require more space.

On the other hand, fire pits also provide more use value simply because more people can gather around to enjoy the heat, as opposed to a fireplace where family and friends might have to crowd to get near the warmth. Fire pits tend to allow for more social opportunities and they can be a focal point in the yard.You’ll simply have to consider the space available to you and your intended usage before you choose the right fire feature for your yard.