If you’re looking to add an entertaining element to your backyard that also doubles as a source of heat, light, and an interactive experience look no further than a fire pit or fireplace. Both fire pits and fireplaces will give your outdoor space the ambiance that you and your guests will continuously enjoy, however, they do have some differences. If you’re debating between adding a fire pit or fireplace to your backyard, read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each to make your decision a little easier. 

Fire Pits

Not only are fire pits perfect for roasting marshmallows on a winter night, but they also provide the perfect gathering place for children and adults to enjoy together year round. Fire pits tend to be more interactive than fireplaces as fire pits allow you, your family, and friends to look across at each other, make conversation, and share food and drinks. Seating around fire pits is also more flexible as there is a 360 degree viewing angle of the action no matter where you’re seated. 

Of course, fire pits can take up more of your outdoor living space than a fireplace would. Not only do you have to account for the space of the actual pit, but you’ll also need the space to safely walk around it and for seating. Fire pits also need to be carefully placed as their lack of chimney can cause smoke to go everywhere as opposed to a dedicated destination; excessive smoke can cause damage when it’s released in unwanted areas. 


If you’re looking for a more elegant outdoor experience or have limited space, a fireplace may be a better choice for your home. Fireplaces can be built on the edge of your patio leaving plenty of additional space for seating or an outdoor kitchen. Although you can’t face your friends and family around the fire as you would with a fire pit, you can still make s’mores and have plenty of lively conversations around the fireplace. 

If you are concerned about smoke, a fireplace’s chimney can dispel the smoke to an appropriate place – protecting your home, patio cover, or pergola from discoloration. Because you can safely have a fireplace underneath a patio cover or other outdoor protection, you can use your outdoor fireplace in any type of weather; fire pits on the other hand are a little more dependent on the weather for their use. 

Of course it’s important to note that if your space permits it, there’s no reason you can’t add both a fire pit and a fireplace to your outdoor space! However, if you’re only looking to choose one, we hope this blog post has made your decision a little easier. 

With Austin Outdoor Living, we can create the outdoor space of your dreams – just give us a call for a consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you!