Outdoor Fireplace vs. Fire Pit: What’s the Difference?

Installing an outdoor fireplace or pit is a dream of many homeowners. Whether you want to curl up with a book in front of a fire or spend a romantic evening outside with your loved one, these home additions are perfect for creating a cozy and warm environment.

However, did you know that fireplaces and fire pits aren’t the same? While many use the terms interchangeably, they aren’t synonymous and have distinct features. So what’s the difference between an outdoor fireplace vs. a fire pit? Keep reading to learn more.


One of the main distinctions between a fireplace and a fire pit is size. In theory, you can design a fireplace of almost any size to fit your outdoor space. However, fire pits have fewer size variations since they need particular dimensions to keep open flame lit. They are almost always low to the ground, with heights no lower than 12 inches and no higher than 20.


Design is another standard variation between outdoor fireplaces and fire pits. Fireplaces can be as elaborate as you desire but need a firebox and chimney to function correctly. On the other hand, fire pits are much simpler, with raised stone walls around a hole in the ground that contains a flame. However, you can install them anywhere on your property since they don’t need chimneys to guide smoke and debris.


Depending on your location, local guidelines may dictate different aspects of fireplaces and fire pits. Since contractors don’t need to build fire pits into the home’s structure, they face fewer restrictions when constructing them. Thus, fire pits may exist almost anywhere on your property. However, an outdoor fireplace is an addition to a home’s architecture, so contractors must follow building codes to maintain safety standards.


While both backyard additions provide warmth and light, outdoor fireplaces usually have different functions than fire pits. Fire pits are more rustic and interactive, so they’re perfect for large outdoor gatherings. Outdoor fireplaces are more elegant and accommodate fewer people, creating a more intimate environment.

Now that you know the differences between outdoor fireplaces vs. fire pits, you can decide what is best for your needs. Contact Stewart’s Landscaping for your perfect fire pit or outdoor fireplace in Charlotte. We can’t wait to help design your dream outdoor area.