A chiminea is the most common type of outdoor fireplace, and it consists of a concave base, a single entrance for feeding the fire, and a short chimney or smoke stack. Although these little outdoor fireplaces are typically built of cast iron, aluminum, ceramic, or terra cotta, there are larger and more robust devices (usually cast iron) that are intended for a controlled but roaring bonfire in the safety of your own backyard.
Chimineas and other outdoor fireplaces are made to be used in the summer and then stored for the winter since the clay or terra cotta-based units might shatter in excessively cold conditions. Cast iron chimineas or outdoor fireplaces are not susceptible to breaking, although they will rust quickly if exposed to snow or other weather. Depending on the material, size, and other safety or comfort features that you pick, these outdoor fireplaces can cost anywhere from $150 to well over $500.
Others are little more than a firebox with an open stack, with safety grills and pitched chimney stacks to protect hot embers or ash from floating away and causing a fire hazard. Only firewood should be used in a chiminea or outdoor fireplace, regardless of the kind. Other substances may emit poisonous chemicals that can both literally and symbolically destroy the ambiance of your gathering, and some fuels may leave difficult-to-clean deposits on the inside of the fireplace.
Outdoor fireplaces are becoming a more popular method for people to meet and enjoy the outdoors without having to travel too far from home in the evenings when the temperature becomes cooler and some brave souls brave the air conditioning. An outdoor woodstove might be the thing to try if you have fond recollections of open campfires from your youth.