Our backyard backs to the woods. Can we still have an outdoor fireplace?

by Liz Byham
(Voorhees, NJ)

My dream is to have a huge outdoor fireplace centered on my dining room window, so you can see the fireplace from the dining room. I've looked into ordering the fireplace kit and plan to incorporate it with a low retaining wall which will be necessary because we have to dig down to put in our patio. My only concern is that the woods are right there. Is there a requirement for how far the chimney needs to be from trees?

Thanks. (and I have a ton more questions, too!)

Dear Liz,

Thanks for writing. In Richmond, VA, I have not encountered any codes on the distance of the fireplace from the woods. When I do a landscape plan with a fireplace, fire pit or grill I am very careful to keep them away from the house and any other flammable objects. You do not want to put the fireplace close enough to the woods that a spark could get in the overhanging branches and start a fire. Visit my Outdoor Fireplaces page. In the second picture down, the fireplace is at the edge of the woods. It is about 20 feet away. The fireplace feels very safe at that distance. If you don't have that much room, I would consult your local fire department for a recommendation. I have found them to always be incredible helpful and polite. They might even come out and take a look.

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