I love outdoor fire pits. Growing up I was always the one in charge of building and lighting the fire, but when I moved to the city, my days of outdoor blazes were over, until, that is, I purchased an outdoor fireplace for the back deck. Not only does it safely contain the flames, but it looks great amidst the deck ambience; plus, it adds a bit of heat. And in early fall, heat is key to outdoor living.

Just because fall's setting in doesn't mean the end to patio season. After all, golden sunsets, grilled grub and comfy chairs still suit outdoor living. Sure, it's getting colder, but that chill's got nothing on outdoor heaters and fireplaces. So before you start trucking your chaise lounges to the garage for winter storage, check out the following options.

Before I begin, though, it's worth pointing out a few caveats. For one, not all municipalities allow outdoor burning, so before you build or buy an outdoor fireplace, make sure it's allowed and meets any by-law requirements. Heaters, of course, are fine and don't require any permissions because there's no open flame.

One more thing: fall is the best time to buy outdoor furniture and accessories. Hardware stores and other retailers are already thinking winter, so outdoor living is usually on clearance. So even if you don't plan on building any outdoor fires this year, check out the following for the spring.