Warming Trend

Keep autumn chill at bay with these outdoor heating options.
Text by Jacquelyne Froeber
Transform a cool open-air space into a cozy oasis with outdoor heating. Luxurious fireplaces, stylish heating lamps, and cozy fire pits add flare to patio decor while prolonging outdoor living into the sweater season.

The size and style of outdoor rooms influence heating choices. For small, casual settings, fire pits offer portable ambience. These wood-burning basins can be simple or feature elaborate tiles and decorative stands. For homeowners who spend a considerable amount of time entertaining in a fairly large open-air area, a built-in fireplace creates an inviting atmosphere. "It's an ideal way to heat outdoor space," says Jim Buckley, co-owner of the Buckley Rumford Company. From innovative indoor/outdoor designs to traditional masonry construction, outdoor fireplaces have become increasingly popular in recent years. "I think for people who want a real wood-burning fire, it's easier- regulation-wise-to put the fireplace outside," Jim says. To keep your outdoor space toasty and smoke-free, construct the tallest chimney possible, or add a chimney pot to an existing structure.

After deciding between a gas or wood-burning model, look for a brand that meets UL (Underwriters Laboratories) test standards to ensure safety, quality, and protection from the elements. If a fireplace or pit doesn't suit your space, consider tabletop and free-standing propane heaters, which warm a 20-foot diameter. Choose any of the following heating options to help chase away the chill.

Casual Convenience
The Backyard Firepit ($179) has a copper basin and wrought-iron stand. At 29 pounds, this model travels easily and offers a place to toast s'mores on the beach or just beyond the back door. Call 800/981-9888, or visit smithandhawken.com.

Personal Style
Design your own fire pit ($1,795) with your choice of tiles and colors. This model, from BBQ Island, comes with propane or natural gas. Call 877/474-5669, or visit bbqislandinc.com.

Weatherproof
Perfect for coastal dwellers, the Orchid Chiminea ($349) is made from Cast Aluminum Alloy that promises not to rust in salt air. This model has a grilling area and can be purchased with a propane or natural gas kit. Call 800/303-4312, or visit thebluerooster.com.

Lamp of Luxury
The Stainless-Steel Outdoor Heater ($495) warms within a 15-foot radius. Built-in wheels make it versatile, while a weighted base keeps it stable. Call 888/263-9850, or visit frontgate.com.

Traditional Fashion
The HWB700OD outdoor/indoor fireplace ($1,778) has stainless steel construction to protect against the elements. The design allows for your choice of marble, tile, or brick to finish the design. Call 800/867-0454, or visit monessenhearth.com.