Adding a Fire Feature To Your Backyard

Gas fire place with gravel in a square

When the days grow shorter and the nights become cooler, there’s nothing like a cozy gathering by the fire to cure those winter blues. For some, this means retreating indoors to the comfort of a fireplace, but outdoor fire features make it easier for nature-lovers to spend more of the year outside.

Why Add a Fire Feature to Your Backyard

Before you make any decisions about your fire feature, ask yourself why you want it. Thinking through this process can help you determine the appropriate placement, style, and design for your space.

For example, if you envision your family and friends gathering around the fire to roast marshmallows on cold nights, you probably won’t be happy with a tabletop feature, which is more for show than functionality. On the other hand, if you are picturing a stylish centerpiece for date night with your partner, a standard fire pit is likely more trouble than it’s worth.

Also, consider how a fire feature fits into your landscaping. Surrounding trees, shrubs, and other elements determine how wind will affect your fire, as well as the direction in which it blows. Too much breeze can render it impossible to sit near the fire, while too little airflow may keep fires from burning consistently. Thus, getting the placement right is crucial for full usability.

Types of Fire Feature

Choosing between a gas and wood fire feature often boils down to individual preference. Wood-burning fire features are ideal for optimizing outdoor space utilization, as they can be used to cook and keep big groups warm. In addition to higher functionality, you get to experience the soothing snap, crackle, and pop of an authentic fire.

On the other hand, gas fire features make stylish, eye-catching focal points. They eliminate the hassle of starting and maintaining a wood fire, which, for safety’s sake, should not be left unattended while still burning. Gas fire features are also great options for small backyards, as starting a wood fire in tight or overgrown quarters can be dangerous.

Size and Style

When determining the size of your feature, consider the dimensions and style of your backyard. For a traditional look, stone fire features offer the same feel as an indoor fireplace, attracting guests to gather around, stay warm, and enjoy the sounds and smells of burning logs. Masonry features can either stand alone or be included in porch or patio construction.

Propane-fueled features, such as fire rings or tables, are best for small areas and intimate gatherings. They are usually more cost-effective and sometimes come in portable varieties. They do not put off the same amount of heat as traditional fire features, but many people are willing to accept that trade-off for a fire that can be started and extinguished at the push of a button.

The Best Fire Features

Fire pits are popular because they are compact, customizable, and comparatively inexpensive. They usually stand alone so people can crowd around them in search of the warmth they radiate from all sides. Both wood and gas fire pits are available.

Fireplaces take up more space and are often costlier because they use more materials. They are also available in wood and gas varieties, although wood fires are much more contained when burned in a fireplace instead of a pit. Typically, fireplaces give off more heat than other fire features, but the heat radiates in one direction instead of in an evenly distributed circle. Similarly, chimineas offer an impressive amount of heat and style for their size, making them a cost-effective alternative to traditional fireplaces.


Fire features are great additions to any backyard, whether their purpose is functional or decorative. At Design One, we can guide you through the process of choosing, installing, and maintaining the best fire feature for your landscaping goals. No matter your style, we’re confident in our ability to transform your backyard into a memorable space that you and your family will cherish for years to come.

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