Fireplace vs. Fire Pit for Your Backyard


In the autumn and winter months, nothing can make your outdoor hardscaping more livable than a rustic, crackling fire. Of course, for safety reasons, you can’t just start a fire without a proper enclosure. As a result, an increasing number of homeowners are incorporating a fireplace or fire pit into their patio hardscapes to make their outdoor entertainment and recreation areas more comfortable and inviting in the cooler months of the year.

By implementing a fire pit or fireplace into your hardscape design in Suwanee, you’re not just getting a beautiful decorative element that adds charm to your outdoor entertainment area. A well-constructed fire pit or fireplace can serve as a centerpiece of your outside décor and meld form and function by providing enticing warmth for you and your guests. With the popularity of fire pits and fireplaces on the uptick in recent years, there’s no shortage of products and plans for both fire-containment vessels from which to choose your own design. But how do you know whether to install a fireplace or a fire pit? What’s the difference? What are the associated benefits of each style? Keep reading to learn more.

What’s a Fireplace?

A fireplace is simply a hardscaping structure that features a designated firebox where the fire and coals are burned. The firebox is situated below a chimney, and as the fire burns, smoke is drawn upward by an updraft and is carried away from the immediate area. They are usually square but can be made round, oval, rectangular, or triangular to meet the space needs and the desires of the homeowner. They are typically made of brick or stone. Other implements such as mantles, screens, and wrought iron components can be incorporated into the design for aesthetic and functional purposes.

Fireplace Benefits

Fireplaces are versatile when it comes to the fuel they can burn, as they can use wood, or they can be fitted with propane or gas burners. Fireplaces feature fireboxes that are enclosed on three sides, with one opening facing the seating area, which provides additional protection from windy conditions that may snuff out an open flame. Another benefit of a fireplace is that the chimney carries the smoke from the fire up and away from those around the fire, which prevents irritating smoke in the eyes and nose. Fireplaces also provide additional privacy thanks to their upright structure and considerable size. 

What’s a Fire Pit?

A fire pit is a much simpler fire containment structure than a fireplace because it is little more than a hardened pit in which a fire can be burned safely. Essentially, a fire pit is a hole bordered on all sides by raised walls that extend above the surface of the ground. Like fireplaces, fire pits can be built to fit the designated space in a variety of shapes, and they are usually lined with fire bricks that can withstand high temperatures.

Fire Pit Benefits

Most fire pits share some common benefits with fireplaces, but there are also significant points of differentiation between the two styles. A fire pit is simple for almost anyone to build, though complex fire pit projects are often the work of professional hardscapers. Because the fire pit is essentially a hole in the ground, it allows for 360-degree seating all around the pit, unlike a fireplace, which can only facilitate seating on the open side of the firebox. Fire pits are cheaper to construct than fireplaces because fewer materials are needed, and they are perfect in areas where an unobstructed view is desired more than enhanced privacy.