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How to Choose the Best Outdoor Fireplace for You?

Did you know the average low temperature in Ottawa, ON, during July is 14.5°C? By October, temperatures can start dipping to 5°C or lower.

The best way you can keep warm and enjoy the long summer nights is by installing an outdoor fireplace. Have you searched for new outdoor fireplace kits but aren’t sure which one you need – or if it’s even legal?

Luckily, we have a must-read guide for you. We have compiled an article that goes over the different types of outdoor fireplace ideas and local Ontario regulations to help you get started with your next backyard project!

Does an Outdoor Fireplace Add Value to Your Home?

For most homeowners, installing a new fireplace means adding value to their home or at least helping them recoup initial costs. Installing a gas fireplace is also more energy-efficient and helps you save on fuel compared to other types of fireplaces.

Additionally, outdoor gas fireplaces emit less pollution and are easy to maintain and use.

Read More: Reasons to Add an Outdoor Fireplace to Your Yard

How Far Does Outdoor Fireplace Need to Be From House?

You cannot have an outdoor fire less than two metres from flammable materials. While these rules primarily apply to wood or fuel-burning fires, it is important that you contact local authorities for more specific guidelines and regulations.

Ontario has strict regulations on fireplace permits (more on that below) and choosing a natural gas patio fire pit.

Gas or Wood Outdoor Fireplace?

Wood and natural gas outdoor fireplaces have tight regulations and require close monitoring. Both fall under the classification of open-air firepits. Although, natural gas firepits are more energy-efficient and easier to use.

If you already have outdoor wood stoves, you can convert them into gas fireplaces. Conversion costs can range between $2,300 and $10,000. However, the transition is worth it since gas fireplaces can give your home a more aesthetic and modern look.

Gas fireplaces also start immediately and reduce fumes, making them more comfortable long-term.

Can Electric Fireplaces Be Used Outdoors?

Most electric fireplaces are designed for indoor use. If you want an electric fireplace, ensure it is up to code and designed for the outdoors.

The benefit of electric fireplaces is that you won’t need to install a gas line, and you won’t need fireproof materials around the firepit. Also, it doesn’t classify as an “open-air flame” and shouldn’t require a permit. Other electric fireplace benefits are:

  • Only requires electric output
  • Doesn’t emit pollution
  • Low maintenance
  • Safer
  • Cost-efficient

In most instances, it helps if you already have a covered patio before installation.

Read More: Fireplace Tools You Can Use Outdoors this Summer

Is a Freestanding Outdoor Fireplace Better Than Built-in?

Most built-in fireplaces are for in-home use. Yet, an electric built-in outdoor fire can modernize your home and boost its value.

Freestanding fireplaces are better used for your open-air firepits and emit more heat in a centralized location. You will have to be more mindful of fireproof materials and the distance from your house. Ultimately, if you want a “classic” outdoor firepit look, you should opt for a freestanding unit.

Do Outdoor Gas Fireplaces Give Off Heat?

Yes, outdoor gas fireplaces emit heat and are a great way to stay warm during cool Ontario nights. An outdoor gas fireplace will ignite immediately, making them an excellent option for more immediate warmth.

While your wood fireplaces might get hotter, they take more time to ignite and warm the surrounding area.

Do You Need a Permit for Outdoor Gas Fireplace?


In Ontario, certain criteria must be met for residential outdoor fireplaces. Even though you can purchase outdoor fireplaces, you could face hefty fines if you do not receive permission beforehand.

Other firepits are allowed if they are small, confined, and used for cooking food. Gas fire pits which aren’t used for cooking food are allowed with permits and under specific regulations. If you are unsure what your backyard qualifies for, you can contact the pros at the Burning Log for more specifications.

Do Outdoor Fireplaces Need Chimneys?

It depends on your fireplace, and electric fireplaces require the least amount of ventilation. Built-in fireplaces will need a chimney or vents for gas and wood-burning fires. This allows for adequate ventilation and draft.

Can You Have a Fireplace on the Deck?

Patio fireplaces are allowed in Toronto and other Ontario regions if it meets certain regulations. You must monitor the fire at all times. Remember to obtain a permit for outdoor firepits not used for cooking, such as gas.

What’s the Purpose of an Outdoor Fireplace?

You can use outdoor fireplaces for cooking or spending time with loved ones. It is a great option for fun summertime activities and to stay warm! You can also use it as a decorative piece to boost home value.

Should I Get a Prefabricated Fireplace?

Prefabricated outdoor fireplace kits are ideal for those wanting simpler installation. Customized fireplaces are costlier and take more time. At the Burning Log, a prefabricated fireplace is constructed entirely off-site and installed by our team of professionals upon delivery.

Why Is a Custom Outdoor Fireplace Better?

Customized outdoor fireplaces can be more aesthetically pleasing. They work seamlessly with your home and outdoor architecture. You can also be more involved in what you want from your outdoor fireplace, such as materials, size, and design.

How Do I Choose?

Talk to the experts at the Burning Log and visit online photo galleries. You might find prefabricated fireplaces that fit your design. Most qualified outdoor and indoor fireplace companies will have plenty of options for you to choose from.

Fire Safety

First, ensure your fire pit is built into the ground or enclosed in fireproof materials or containers. Next, follow local regulations and keep your fire at least 2 metres from your house and other structures. Avoid keeping your fire next to trees or vegetation that could pose a fire hazard.

Lastly, always monitor your fire and ensure it is properly extinguished before leaving it. Leave a fire extinguisher close by in case of emergencies, and don’t let children or pets near the fire or operate igniting or extinguishing the flames.


If you want an outdoor fireplace, you have likely considered permits and whether you want wood, gas, or electric designs. For help with the design and installation process, you need a professional and local company.

Outdoor gas fireplaces and wood stoves are ideal for the cool summer nights and redesigning your backyard. To get started, give us a call today and let us help you with your next outdoor firepit!