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Portable Outdoor Fireplace

A portable outdoor fireplace is a perfect choice if you’ve decided you want to enjoy a fire outside, but you don’t want to commit to a fixed structure. For some it is a good place to start when planning out the design of your outdoor living area as these units can be relatively inexpensive and because they are movable you can test them in a few different areas until you find just the look and feel you want.

Types Of Portable Outdoor Fireplaces

Portable outdoor fireplace can mean few different things. It can refer to above ground fire pits that are portable, many of them are. It can refer to freestanding outdoor fireplaces that aren’t attached to the ground. Or it can refer to a non-traditional style of chimineas.

One of the most common types seen in home improvement stores are the raised fire pit versions, a fire pit table. Many of these are considered to be portable because they are small enough to easily pick up and carry to a different location. They work well for a small patio, in fact some even double as a table during the day and a fire pit at night. But a truly portable fire pit will be one you can fold and easily carry with you.

Another option is a freestanding outdoor portable fireplace. These are different from a fire pit in that these outdoor fireplaces often keep the fire a bit more enclosed. These are sometimes a little larger than the simple patio fireplace style fire pit so they can be better for a larger area. You can find some that have wheels which makes them really easy to move.

Portable Outdoor Fireplace
Portable Outdoor Fireplace

Standard chimineas are often made from clay or heavy metals like cast iron so they aren’t truly considered portable because they can be pretty heavy. But there are some other styles of chimineas that are easier to move and considered portable. Some have a slightly different design and a wire mesh instead of solid clay or metal which both makes them lighter and it provides a full view of the fire.

I’ve recently found a portable fireplace that is so portable you can use it either indoors or outside. It’s called EcoSmart Fire as it is not only portable but environmentally friendly.

Portable Outdoor Fireplace Fuel

It is important to decide what kind of fuel you want to use for your patio fireplace. You can find portable fireplaces that use either wood, gas, gel or things like denatured ethanol.

Before you decide which you prefer check with your city for any rules and regulations. Certain types of fuel may not be allowed in your area, for example some areas have wood burning restrictions.

Wood provides that feel of a campfire with the crackle and smell of smoke. But if you don’t like to smell like smoke after sitting out on the patio you may prefer a different fuel like gel or gas. An outdoor gas fireplace will be easy to light and it less messy than one that burns wood.

Always consider how much the fuel will cost and how easy it is to replenish when you run out.

Patio Fireplace Safety

Before you buy an outdoor fireplace make sure you are allowed to have one in your area. Once you’ve verified that remember to be careful and safe. With a portable outdoor fireplace you need to be attentive when you move it to a new location. Make sure you aren’t too close to the house or any other structure and stay away from trees or dry brush. Always keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby as well.

With just a few outdoor fireplace accessories, an outdoor fireplace cover and some safety guidelines your portable outdoor fireplace should provide you with some great experiences and good memories of cozy evenings outside in your own yard.

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Pinion Wood

Once you have your outdoor fireplace or chiminea all set up, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about the different types of wood you can use to fuel the cozy warmth. One of the types of wood many people prefer for their outdoor fire pits and fireplaces is pinion wood.

Pinion wood is popular for a few reasons. For starters it has a wonderful aroma as it burns in your outside fireplace. It smells like pine, truly giving you the feeling of being in the great outdoors, which isn’t always easy to feel in the middle of suburbia. I’ve heard some people say that it smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree.

Another important benefit of burning pinion wood is that it repels mosquitoes. For many this may be the most important benefit because it allows you to enjoy being outside around your cozy outdoor fireplace without the unpleasant distraction of those pesky bugs and without having to slather on the not-so-pleasant bug spray. Some people even start a pinion wood fire when it’s still hot outside just to keep the bugs away because it’s so effective.

Along with these benefits pinion wood is also easy to light, it puts out a good amount of heat, it burns for a long time and once the fire is no longer burning you’ll find very little ash left to clean so it makes a great chiminea firewood. For the most part it’s a low maintenance fire wood making it even more tempting to enjoy outdoor fireplaces as often as you can.

If you want the pinion wood for your outdoor chiminea it won’t be a problem because many sellers will cut the wood to fit in chimineas or smaller outdoor fire pits. Some places where you buy pinion wood will even custom cut the wood for you.

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Outdoor Patio Fireplace

Buying an outdoor fireplace for your patio is probably one of the most fun upgrades you can make to your outdoor living area. They have become so popular that you can find a wide variety of them from the portable outdoor fireplace to one that is fixed for a sturdy look that feels like an indoor fireplace, only under the stars. An outdoor patio fireplace along with some landscaping can truly transform the look and feel of your own back yard.

Types Of Outdoor Patio Fireplaces

Wood vs Gas
The type of outdoor fireplace you choose will depend on a few things, what is allowed in your city and county, the size of your patio and yard, and the look and feel you want to achieve. Once you find out what is allowed in your area you may need to decide whether you want to consider a wood burning fireplace or a gas fireplace. Outdoor wood burning fireplaces offer that crackling sound and the smokey smell. While the smoke may keep mosquitoes away you may not like the smell of it. Outdoor gas fireplaces burn cleaner and they are easier to light, but you need to choose what kind of gas and whether or not you’ll need a gas line installed.

Fixed vs Portable

Patio Fireplace
Patio Fireplace

The other big decision is whether you want a fixed fireplace, a fire pit or a portable fireplace. A fixed outdoor fireplace can be really beautiful and set the feel of the whole outdoor living space. They can be decorated with brick or rugged stone and created right into the landscape of your patio. If you think you can handle the job yourself you may consider looking at patio fireplace kits, as they can make the job easier while providing you with the materials needed to make the firebox which needs to withstand extremely high temperatures. These can also be decorated with stone and brick if you like the look of stone outdoor fireplaces and want to create your own design.

If you don’t have a very big patio or if you don’t want to commit to a fixed fireplace you might want to consider a portable fireplace. If you like the feel of an open campfire you might want to look at outdoor patio fire pits. These are raised fire pits that are typically pretty easy to move. You can buy either wood burning or outdoor gas fire pits.

Another type of outdoor patio fireplace is a chiminea. Chimineas are bulbous shaped fireplaces with a design that helps take the smoke straight up so it doesn’t blow in your face, but you still have the feel of crackling wood. They are enclosed, except for the door so you don’t have to worry about embers popping out like you do with outdoor fire pits.

Freestanding outdoor fireplaces are yet another option for your outdoor patio fireplace. Most of them are wood burning or gas fueled but you can find some that use other sources like gel fuel. Many of these keep the fire somewhat enclosed which can be safer if you have children or pets. But you can find versions that have a full 360 degree view or a partial view, whichever you prefer.

An outdoor patio fireplace can bring your patio to life, whether you want it for entertaining or for relaxing evenings at home. Just think about what you want from it before you start shopping so you can find the one that is right for you.

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Metal Chiminea

The chiminea is a popular type of outdoor fireplace. Traditionally it has a bulbous shape; the larger body of it is where the wood is burned which leads to the thinner neck that directs the smoke up and out of the top. The specific design of a traditional outdoor chiminea is nice in that it helps keep smoke from blowing around and in the faces of those enjoying the fireplace.

Cast Iron Chiminea
Cast Iron Chiminea

The two main types are metal and clay chimineas. Clay chimineas provide more of a rustic Southwestern look but metal chimineas are more durable and will last longer in a larger variety of climates. Metal chimineas come in a variety of styles and designs from decorative to simple so they can fit pretty well into the design and feel of most outdoor areas.

If you want a metal chiminea that will be durable, long-lasting and pretty low maintenance you probably want to look at cast iron chimineas and cast aluminum chimneas. Certain other types are made out of metals that may be cheaper but may not last quite as long.

Cast Iron Chiminea

Cast iron chimineas are extremely durable. If you’ve had much experience with cast iron you’ll understand. One drawback is that cast iron is very heavy so you won’t be able to move a cast iron chiminea around much. This isn’t a good option if you are looking for a portable outdoor fireplace. But they are pretty low maintenance you just need to touch up any areas where the metal becomes exposed with some high temperature paint every so often to keep it from rusting.

Cast Aluminum Chiminea

Cast Aluminum chimineas are also very durable but they are much lighter and easier to move making them more portable. A cast aluminum chiminea should not warp or rust and it can withstand the elements pretty well so this type of patio fireplace should last you a long time.

As with most outdoor fireplaces you should also get an outdoor fireplace cover — a chiminea cover will provide the best fit — to help protect it and keep it looking its best. But with just a little care quality metal chimineas should last for a long time and help provide many fun evenings outside.

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Clay Chiminea

If you’re looking for a patio fireplace that has an earthy feel you might want to consider a clay chiminea. Clay chimineas are a specific type of outdoor fireplace that, traditionally, have a bulbous shape with a round belly to contain the fire and a long slim neck to vent the smoke and keep it from blowing in the faces of those enjoying the cozy warmth.

Clay Chimineas As Outdoor Fireplaces

Clay chimineas have a distinct look and feel that make them unique, even though they now come in a few different styles. They were originally used in warm, dry climates and because of the nature of clay they are better suited to these climates. But if you live in an area with bouts of rain and freezing temperatures you can still use clay chimineas, you just need to take a few extra precautions to help protect it.

For starters it is good to have a few simple outdoor fireplace accessories, mainly a chiminea cover. This is a good idea no matter what type of climate you have to help protect your outdoor chiminea. You can use something else like a grill cover to protect it, but a chiminea cover will be easier to use and made to fit better, plus a simple cover isn’t that expensive to buy. If you live in an area that has freezing temperatures during the winter you should store your clay chiminea in a shed or garage as the combination of low temperatures and moisture can crack the clay.

Clay Chiminea
Clay Chiminea

Before buying a clay chiminea ask questions so you know how to use it properly. Many clay chimineas sold today should be sealed before they are used. Ask if the model you are buying needs to be sealed and what you should use to seal it. With this type of chiminea you may also need to season it by burning only small fires the first few times you use it, before you work up to regular fire wood or pinion wood. And never use lighter fluid as the clay is porous and can soak up the fluid.

Clay chimineas have a distinct look and feel that makes them fun as outdoor fireplaces but they do require a bit more care than some other types of patio fireplaces as they are not as durable. If you like the look and style of outdoor chimineas you might want to consider a metal chiminea instead. Metal chimineas are more durable but they still have the same bulbous shape.

Other Uses For a Clay Chiminea

While a clay chiminea is usually used as an outdoor fireplace some creative people have found additional uses for them. Some people have used them indoors as an oversize candle holder or planter. It’s ok to use them as a candle holder but never burn a regular fire in them indoors.

They also add a decorative flair to a patio or garden when used as a planter with flowers and vines coming out of them. Broken clay chimineas are also very common for this giving them an afterlife when they can no longer be used as a fireplace.

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