Outdoor heating ideas: 16 stunning designs to cosy up your patio space
Elevate your evenings with these outdoor heating ideas, from fire pits and chimineas to fireplaces and more
Outdoor heating ideas are totally on-trend right now, providing a toasty glow that makes any space feel more inviting and atmospheric.
In fact, our best fire pits or best patio heaters may already have you considering your own, for the ultimate outdoor experience this year. So, to give you an extra dose of inspiration, we've brought all our favourite garden heating ideas together. From gorgeous white-washed fireplaces and modern fire bowls to electric free-standing lamps that create a cosy living-room vibe outdoors, there's something for every plot.
As Paul Bevington, Managing Director of Kettler says, 'Outdoor heating options provide the perfect solution for homeowners to make the most of their gardens, balconies, terraces and patios throughout the seasons.'
'As the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions continue to ease, outdoor spaces will become a really important area for people to safely reconnect with their bubbles,' Paul adds.
And, with such a wide range now available, there's something to suit every taste and budget. Just keep scrolling – with these stunning designs, you're bound to find something you love.
1. Opt for modern, narrow designs
A slimline fire pit such as this is a fabulous way to keep smaller patios warm, as it won't take up much space. However, if you are after more height or length, this particular style is modular, too – meaning you can stack them up or connect them end-to-end for greater impact.
It makes a contemporary statement with its sleek finish and pebble details, and that blaze is sure to keep things toasty. We think it's a perfect way to bring a touch of elegance to an outdoor scene.
After more small garden ideas? Head over to our feature.
2. Make it a focal point
A chic garden building like this is bound to turn heads, but the main feature has to be the fireplace. Surrounded by a bar, it's a gorgeously cosy spot for relaxing with a glass of your favourite tipple. The grill attachment means you could try your hand at a spot of barbecuing too, and we're loving the clever storage solution beneath for extra logs.
The use of blue for the wall behind adds to the tranquil look and mirrors the nearby pool beautifully. Meanwhile, the use of lamps, chairs, bean bags and geraniums create a soothing, well-balanced effect – a good dose of symmetry will always please the eye.
And if you're after something a little more substantial when it comes to cooking alfresco, then don't forget to head over to our outdoor kitchen ideas – it's jam-packed with inspiration.
3. Add pared-back charm to your terrace
If you love a Scandi-chic look, then why not take inspiration from the scene above? Crisp white walls, pared-back decking, giant terracotta pots and woven sun loungers bring a sense of serenity to this trendy terrace.
Of course, the main event is the stunning fireplace, in a warming rust-iron finish. With its tall chimney and triangular shape it offers a refreshing twist to more traditional styles, and will provide a homely atmosphere come nightfall.
Want to recreate the look? Check out our best sun loungers buying guide to get started.
4. Incorporate a fire pit into your furniture
If you're looking to bring something extra special to your outdoor entertaining, then check out this pretty set-up. The table has a wonderfully sophisticated look with its sleek wood and cool grey hue, but the integrated fire pit takes things to a whole new level.
'Pieces such as this one are on-trend right now as they provide a handy one-stop shop – suitable for lounging, dining and a clever solution to make your outdoor space usable into the night,' says Dani Taylor, Product & Creative Director at Cox & Cox. 'The gas fire pit provides a lovely warm glow, is adjustable, and has a protective glass frame. The best bit though is unlike a fire pit, there is no mess!'
The corner sofa's got us swooning too. 'The on-trend grey cushions add sophistication and suit most colour schemes,' says Dani. 'The covers benefit from stain-safe technology – so if you spill your wine it can wipe right off – and you can even leave them out in the rain! Plus a minimum of 75% of the cushion pads are made from recycled plastic bottles.'
Head over to our outdoor seating ideas for more show-stopping designs.
5. Create the ultimate outdoor living room
If you're looking for a serious garden makeover and have the budget and space to go big, then this might be the garden heating idea for you. This covered deck is the ultimate in outdoor living – providing all the comfort of indoors but with an airy, open feel.
The classic built-in fireplace adds a dramatic focal point to the build, whilst its striking stone chimney brings a rustic vibe. Paired with plenty of outdoor lighting, comfy sofas and an outdoor rug, this scene is fit to be used all year round.
Love the look? Our covered deck ideas feature has lots more lovely designs.
6. Create a cosy look with freestanding lamps
If you'd like to recreate a living-room vibe but find the design above a little overboard, then freestanding lamps may be the outdoor heating idea for you.
These modern designs add the perfect finishing touch to a patio seating set-up and really ramp up the homely feel. And, as Paul Bevington, Managing Director at Kettler says, outdoor heaters such as these can offer fantastic value for money as a source of lighting, as well as warmth.
Don't forget to head over to our outdoor living space ideas feature for more tips on getting the look.
7. Let it take centre stage
If your garden is all about entertaining, then keeping guests warm is a must. And one way to keep everyone toasty is to place your fire pit at the heart of your plot.
This pared-back brick design offers a cosy camp-fire look, which works well in this modern space. Use a curved path around to accentuate its form. Finish the scene with a fuss-free corner bench adorned with throws and cushions – a gorgeous spot to relax.
We're loving the use of shelving on the dark-coloured fence, too – a wonderful addition to our garden fence ideas.
8. Add soothing vibes with white
'Fire features can make a garden look very contemporary and give you somewhere warm to congregate,' says garden designer Jonathan Martin of Living Gardens. 'By naturally fostering a "living space" in your garden, fireplaces and features encourage us to use gardens in a modern way as sociable outdoor rooms,' he adds.
This sleek white design makes a stunning centrepiece to the seating space. And, we adore the way that the floating bench seamlessly connects to the hearth, creating a clean, contemporary look. Plus, with clever use of lighting, the welcoming ambience is ramped up even further.
Our garden lighting ideas has more illumination solutions to get you inspired.
9. Create a feature at the end of your plot
'This London urban garden includes an inviting bioethanol fireplace and seating space', explains garden designer Pollyanna Wilkinson of Pollyanna Wilkinson Garden Design. 'Bioethanol is a great alternative for urban gardens; its a more eco-friendly option, with no smoke, soot, or ash.'
It's a real statement look, bringing a stunning focal point to the scene. What's more, the dark cladding makes a beautiful contrast against the warm flames and copper light fixtures. And if you've been perusing our lawn ideas, then this is a lovely example of how to use a stretch of green to zone a space.
10. Choose a rustic, wood-fired design
If you love a more eccentric style, then how about a cast iron outdoor heating idea? This quaint fireplace offers an old-world vibe that would sit perfectly in a more boho-themed space.
Its size means it can happily sit on smaller patio areas, too. Simply fire it up and enjoy the glow.
11. Stick to contemporary shapes
Another idea for a contemporary garden, this smooth, square feature is handcrafted from concrete. It adds an urban edge that's so on-trend. The bowl-shaped fire pit adds a pleasingly sculptural feel, and there's just enough space around the edges to perch a drink or a bowl of snacks.
Pair with dark, sultry hues, statement garden furniture, and potted palms for a refreshingly modern look. If you're been wondering how to make a garden feel modern, then this will do the job perfectly.
12. Team a chiminea with festoons
A chiminea can add all kinds of charm to a patio or terrace, as well as lots of warmth. Opting for a streamlined take on a traditional look will bring any space up-to-date.
The design above is crafted from durable powder-coated steel, boasting a deep matte finish. Curved legs add a characterful element, whilst elevating the piece. Meanwhile, the chimney will help to draw smoke up and away from your seating set-up.
Pair with festoon lights and a comfy outdoor sofa for a magical evening scene.
13. Bring in a fire bowl for smaller spaces
Even small plots can benefit from the captivating powers of a fire bowl. A fuss-design like this is a simple yet elegant way to add a good dose of cosiness. Plus, its smaller size means it can be moved easily, to suit your needs. What's more, an attachable grilling grate can be bought separately if you fancy a spot of alfresco cooking.
Surround with some of the best outdoors rugs and colourful garden furniture ideas for an eclectic and incredibly enticing scene.
14. Double up the look
Why go for one garden heating idea when you could have two? If space allows, doubling up the look will create an even bigger statement, as well as offering extra warmth. Varying the sizes, as demonstrated above, will provide more visual interest too.
Another bioethanol design, these eco-friendly bowls burn clean and shine bright – a great choice for urban outdoor living. Their sleek, natural-hued finish adds to the sense of luxury.
15. Add a mix of materials
'This log fire is the perfect meeting point in this large Surrey garden,' says garden designer Pollyanna Wilkinson. 'An unused space at the end of the garden was transformed into a cosy chill-out spot, where the adults can keep warm and enjoy a drink whilst the kids play in the hidden play space beyond.'
The blend of natural hues and textures add a pleasingly tactile finish that ties together beautifully. Sheltered by an impressive oak pergola just out of shot, this sunken space would certainly keep us outdoors for longer.
Our paving ideas feature has more stunning ways to give your flooring a boost.
16. Lift it up
If your outdoor heating ideas need to be compact, then opt for a design that makes the most of vertical space. Not only will it free up floorspace, but it will also bring the flickering flames and warmth closer to eye-level, for greater impact.
Of course, elevating the look frees up space for storage underneath, too. We love how the look of these logs adds to the stylish effect. Don't forget you can find more nifty garden storage ideas in our feature.
What is the best way to heat an outdoor patio?
The best way to heat a patio or outdoor area depends on a few factors, such as your budget, the size of your space, your surroundings, and of course, your personal taste.
'The benefits of a fire pit are that you can create warmth and lovely atmosphere as well as having a superb way to cook outside,' says the team at FirepitsUK. 'Cooking over a wood fire imparts a gentler flavour to barbecued food and with clever accessories such as our Swing Arm BBQ Rack you can get much more control over the heat than with a traditional BBQ.'
'A larger fire pit will give more cooking area than many barbecues and allow you to have different areas of the fire pit at different temperatures. Once the cooking is finished, you can stoke the fire back up and sit around it long into the night (and of course toast the ubiquitous marshmallow),' they add.
What's more, traditional wood-fired pits can be very affordable if you're on a budget. You could even learn how to build a fire pit if you fancy a bit of DIY.
However, wood-fired options may be less suitable for smaller spaces in urban environments. Gas alternatives are fuss-free, low-maintenance options that are easy to control. Plus, the lack of smoke and smell can be a huge bonus if you've got neighbours in close proximity. However, they can be expensive to run, especially if you're using propane gas, and aren't that eco-friendly. Bioethanol-fuelled features are another option, having all of the pros of gas, whilst being better for the environment.
If you're not fussed about a flame, then an outdoor electric heater might be the solution for you – simply plug in for a dose of warmth. It's another good choice if you're after low maintenance garden ideas. You do need to be near a plug, though.
Can you use an outdoor heater on a covered patio?
Safety is an important consideration with any garden heating idea, especially if you're wondering about using it with our patio cover ideas. As the team at Kettler says, 'Gas and wood heaters need to be kept in open spaces. If you place one in an enclosed area, then you risk the build-up of carbon monoxide and even a fire hazard.' This rules out a lot when it comes to using garden heaters under covers – it's better to err on the side of caution.
'Electric heaters are the safest option for enclosed places, but you still need to be careful, as you can't place them too close to anything that is highly inflammable,' Kettler adds.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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