Although the days are warm, the nights can still be on the chilly side but instead of being cooped up inside, you might want to consider turning your backyard space into a warm, inviting living area.

Why not give your deck or patio some added warmth via a heating element? For example, why not consider installing a firepit, fire chimney or the like to keep things toasty year-round.

There are number of such units to choose from, but how do you pick? Firstly, know that a heater may be powered by propane, natural gas, alcohol-gel, electricity, wood, or wood substitutes such as charcoal or faux logs. Depending on the size and the heat source, a heater might warm only a small space or heat a small backyard.

For all heating units to run correctly, they need the right area in the yard. The best site is near walls or fences (to radiate the heat back into your space) and overhead structures that will prevent the wind from blowing in the selected area.

Here are some ideas:

  • Wood-burning fireplaces and fire pits are often the cheapest to buy and to operate. Check your local zoning ordinances to be sure that you can burn wood on your property. Some cities allow wood burning in chimeneas or a small Mexican stove-like heaters. However, built-in or dug fire pits may not be permitted. Wood-burning units range from small collapsible units on wheels for easy portability to larger, custom built-in concrete fireplaces. If you are allowed to burn wood, you will find many choices.
  • If you have a fireplace made from pottery, or a chimenea, use it cautiously as these units are lightweight and can break easily. To keep the fire from getting hot enough to break the chimenea, use kindling-size wood.
  • Many of these wood-burning units have optional grills allowing you to keep the body warm and cook at the same time.
  • Always be aware that any fire unit is a potential hazard. Keep all overhead sparks from lawns, trees or patio overheads, and talk to kids about fire safety.
  • Natural gas heaters are simple to operate but are usually built in and, although bottled gas is normally purchased, these units are better in places where there is already natural gas service.
  • Propane heaters are very cost-effective. Depending on the heat output you need, a standard propane tank can last for many hours.
  • Propane-powered heaters work best in heating bigger areas and are often used in commercial settings. They radiate warming rays from the top cylinder. The propane tank is hidden in the bottom of the unit. When not in use they should be stored in some place dry. Smaller tabletop units are also available at outdoor centers and home improvement stores.
  • Although electric heat is the most costly, there are some designed specifically for outdoor use.

With such a wide array of outdoor heating devices available, it’s quite e easy to find the best unit for your backyard living area.  You and your family can enjoy the outdoors anytime — from cozy get-togethers to romantic evenings with your spouse, the great outdoors awaits!