Find the perfect backyard fire pit

By Katie Riley

The hot trend of outdoor fire pits and fireplaces is not cooling anytime soon in Maryland, and there are plenty of pits to choose from.

Man's natural attraction to fire and nostalgic memories around a campfire have homeowners clamoring to purchase or build outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.

"More homeowners are considering how they want to use an outdoor space," says Austin Suttle of Stewart Lawn and Landscape in Annapolis. "An outdoor fire pit or fireplace offers a gathering place and an opportunity to enjoy a fire without major construction."

firepitAccording to the National Association of Landscape Architects, an outdoor fire pit topped homeowners' wish lists in 2014. "Just in the past few years, we are designing and installing at least 10 to 20 fire pits and fireplaces per year for our clients," Suttle said.

As temperatures thaw, find some warmth outside in front of the flames. From a Southwestern-style chimenea to a more permanent outdoor fireplace, the possibilities are limitless for homeowners who want to get fired up about the trend. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Chimenea - This outdoor fire apparatus is a budget-conscious choice for homeowners who want a portable, inexpensive outdoor fire with protected flames. Originally from Mexico and popular throughout the Southwest, chimeneas are typically made from clay with a vase-like spout for smoke. Cost: $50 and up
  • Portable fire pit - Portable fire pits are so popular, it's possible to buy one at any home and garden store or major retailer. Portable fire pits are cost-effective, easy to clean, and come in a variety of shapes and designs. Most are sold with covers for rain or domed screens to protect the open flame from bystanders. Cost: $50 and up
  • Landscape fire pit - A permanent stone fire pit can be an investment that will last forever. Typically circular to evoke an old-fashioned campfire, stone fire pits can provide an attractive and natural-looking feature for backyards and patios, and they are less costly than an outdoor fireplace. Cost: $2,000-$5,000
  • Outdoor fireplace - Outdoor fireplaces have emerged in recent years as an alternative to the more-rustic fire pit. Outdoor fireplaces have the advantage of creating the atmosphere of an outdoor room with a hearth and screen similar to an indoor fireplace. Outdoor fireplaces also can include luxury features such as pizza ovens, rotisseries and other cooking mechanisms. More construction is involved when adding an outdoor fireplace, and they remain the most costly option in outdoor fire choices. Cost: $5,000 and up

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