Alex, Chimeneas, Fire Pits, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, How To

What’s small, Mexican and made of clay? A chiminea! Well, although this is true, these days there are almost as many different types of chimineas as there are ways of spelling the word itself. All this choice can be a little confusing so we have prepared a guide to help you make often the first decision: Which material will be perfect for you garden?

Clay Chiminea

Clay

Clay chimineas are our most popular type with many of our customers enjoying the authentic feel that they create. Historically, fired clay was used as an inexpensive material used to create these fire pits which were an essential for both cooking and heating back in 17th century Mexico. The chimney directed smoke outside meaning that it could be used inside without filling your home with smoke and the design also funnelled fresh air in to fuel a hot, clean fire. This was useful for providing more heat for the home whilst meaning that there was less ash left behind as a more complete combustion took place.

Clay Chimenea
In more recent times, clay chimineas are more often used in the garden and offer both aesthetic appeal and functionality. The authentic look provided by clay lends itself effortlessly to rustic design and these chimineas seem to blend in perfectly with any background. They also add a little foreign charm to a garden, especially the models with Mexican or Italian designs. For guidance on how to prepare and look after your clay chiminea, visit our page full of handy tips.

 

 

Cast Iron

Cast iron chimineas burst on to the scene later than clay, providing a different option for consumers. The different material has several advantages over clay in some areas, but also some drawbacks, it really does depend on what is more important to you and what you plan on using your fire pit for.
One of the main plus points is that unlike clay versions, you won’t have to cure before use; it’s ready to go straight away. Cast iron is a more durable material, less susceptible to damage caused by temperature change, and should outlive even the best quality clay chimineas.

Cast iron Chimenea
In addition, they are less likely to be damaged accidently. Cast iron versions are not easily knocked or blown over as they are heavy and so more stable. This makes them ideal for cooking, and many of our cast iron versions come with a grill included.
Cast iron fire pits come in stylish colours such as bronze and black and can help create a more modern look if that coincides with the theme you wish to create in your garden. They are also easily re-paintable, whether you are looking to give it a fresh coat after it has faded over the years or after a change in colour to give an entirely new feel to your fire pit.

 

One slight downside is that being metal; they are prone to getting rather hot. You will need to consider where you place the fire pit. Ensure it is not pushed up against anything that may be affected by the heat and that it is placed on top of a fireproof surface. It is also wise to consider keeping it in an area where it is not likely to be bumped into when in use, especially with children around, and extra care must be taken when operating to ensure that you don’t accidently touch the hot metal.

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Alex

Alex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Garden Design, How To, Sally

Chimineas are amazing additions to any garden. Not only do they provide warmth, but they look great and can be used for practical tasks like barbecuing. Clay chimineas in particular can be a real statement piece and bring the flavour of Spain into your back garden. If you are thinking about or have already purchased a chiminea, there are a few tips and tricks you ought to know. These handy hints will allow you to enjoy your clay chiminea for years to come.

Medium_Tortuga_Clay_Chiminea
Medium Tortuga Clay Chiminea

A clay chiminea must be cured before it is used for the first time; this will help prevent cracking and should give your chiminea a longer, happier life. It is a relatively easy process but can take a little time. I recommend making the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon to get this task done.

Step One: Place sand in the bottom of your new clay chiminea. Keep filling it up until the sand reaches ¾ of the way to the lip of the opening. We are doing this to ensure no flames touch the clay directly the first few times we light a fire. The main reason for this is we want to warm our clay chiminea without burning it.

Step Two: Start a small fire, using only bits of paper and kindling. I wouldn’t recommend any larger pieces of wood at this stage. Allow this fire to go out naturally after it has been burning for a few minutes.

Step Three:  Always allow your chiminea to cool after any size fire has been lit within it. Chimineas are great outdoor heaters because they hold and radiate heat. This means that they take time to cool and can remain hot even when the fire is extinguished. Touching a chiminea too soon before it has cooled can result in burns. Remember to empty out your chiminea of all remaining ash, once it has cooled, and do this before starting another fire. If you are an avid composter like me, this ash can be added to the compost bin or used around the base of plants. It is a natural source of potassium so it’s great to help even our acidic soil.

Step Four: Repeat the first three steps, each time allowing your fire to become slightly larger. I would suggest repeating six times. During the third time you light your fire add some larger pieces of wood. The sixth and final fire should be almost the size of the fires you will be regularly making.

And voilá! Your beautiful new clay chiminea is cured, so you can sit back and enjoy it for years to come, without the worry of it cracking or splitting.

Deluxe_Chim_Chimenea_Weatherproof_Cover
Deluxe Chim Chimenea Weatherproof Cover

Other Tips:

  • I would recommend always lining your chiminea with sand for any size fire even after it has been cured. This is an extra step, but it will help prevent cracking.
  • Keep your chiminea dry. Chiminea covers are your best bet if you are looking to leave it outside. If you do leave it out and it gets wet, let it dry completely before use as damp clay will crack under high heat.
  • Fires can be dangerous, be aware of where children and pets are when around any open flame.

 

 

You can also have a look at our video guide to building and curing a chiminea:

Sally primroseSally works in the Marketing team here at Primrose.

She spends most of her spare time looking into the latest developments in social media. Sally loves travel and wants to step foot in every continent in the world. When not travelling the Globe or working, she likes to relax with a bit of DIY.

She is a novice gardener and doesn’t claim to be an expert, anything she learns she will happily pass on.

See all of Sally’s posts.

Cat, Chimeneas, Decoration, Fire Pits, Gazebos, Lighting, Outdoor Heating, Patio Heaters, Solar Lighting

Bonfire Night!

Halloween is almost over, but exciting autumnal festivities continue. Time to put away the pumpkins and reignite your festive mood for Bonfire Night! Celebrate in style and warmth with our garden heating and lighting ideas!

Here’s the recipe for your stylish Bonfire Night:

Fire Bowls and Fire Pits from £27.95!

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Chimeneas, Fire Pits, Fireplaces, Outdoor Heating

Outdoor Heating

Now that winter is fast approaching, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to keep warm whilst enjoying your garden over the coming months. There are so many different types of outdoor heater that can suit any garden style, taste or price limit. Here we’ll run through just a few of the options available to you, along with their relative benefits and costs.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are a great source of heat, and are extremely easy to use which is probably why they have become so popular. All you really need to get up and running is a nearby electrical output, although these heaters work best in smaller areas, so are ideal if you’re looking to create an intimate patio setting, and work well in sheltered or enclosed areas.

One advantage is that, contrary to popular belief, electric heaters are actually quite eco-friendly. They don’t consume vast amounts of energy, and also don’t release soot and other nasties into the air. Another plus is that they warm up almost instantaneously, meaning you can have instant heat as and when you need it.

Of course, another advantage is that there are now so many styles and varieties to choose from, that you can find most styles to suit your own tastes. You can have stylish,    free-standing heaters that can blend right in with your other garden décor, or you can have simple, wall-mounted halogen heaters for something a bit more functional. Of course, you have to take into account that they only cover a limited area, but if you’re only looking for a small heated area, then an electric patio heater could be right for you.

Chimeneas

This is another type of garden heater that has recently become very popular. Originating from Mexico, these free-standing open fireplaces make a great addition to any garden, and are a fantastic traditional way to bring heat and ambience into your garden.

Whilst they were originally made from clay, there are now a wide range of materials, designs and sizes to suit all gardens and personalities. From traditional clay, beautiful cast iron and contemporary steel, there really is something for everything.

One thing to bear in mind of course is that you will need a source of fuel, which could start to add up if you don’t have endless amounts of wood laying about! Nevertheless, chimeneas look fantastic and come with added bonuses – My personal favourite is wrapping a potato in foil and throwing it in, for a delicious evening meal. You can also get some fantastic accessories, including scented firelighters to help delicately flavour your barbecues as well as creating a pleasant, fragrant environment.

Fire Bowls, Baskets and Pits

If you’re looking for something a bit different, then a fire pit may just be the thing for you. Whilst it may sound like a bare open hole in your garden, a fire pit is actually a fire contained in a free-standing, decorative basket or bowl on legs. They too come in a vast array of styles and finishes, and many also include safety features which are ideal if you’re concerned about an open fire around small children and pets.

The most basic version are fire baskets, which are literally steel or iron baskets in which to burn wood or coal. Most come with a grill, and it’s also wise to check whether a tray is supplied which can collect the fallen embers and ash, making cleaning up a lot easier.

If you’re looking for something slightly more decorative, then a fire bowl may be just the thing. These are a lot more contained, and usually come with a lid or insert, making them perhaps slightly safer.

All will usually come with grills, meaning they can make a stylish alternative to the standard barbecue. What’s great about them is that they are generally small and lightweight, making them ideal to stick in the back of the car if you’re taking a trip to the beach or going camping. The only downside of these fire pits is that, due to the fact there is no chimney, they can smoke rather a lot.

Outdoor fireplaces

For the ultimate statement in outdoor heating, you could always opt for an outdoor fireplace. There’s nothing quite like the ambient glow of an open fire inviting you in, and these can really enhance the environment if you’re entertaining outside. While this category could technically also include chimeneas and fire pits, the difference in style and cost warrants its own special mention.

They are by far the most expensive of outdoor heating options, but can be such beautiful, permanent fixtures and could even add value to your home. You can opt for ready made fireplaces that make the whole thing a lot easier, and even better means you can take them with you if you ever move home.

It will probably be cheaper to build your own, and whilst this could be a bit more effort, it means that you can build it to look like an existing wall, for a truly authentic feel (although you may want to check your local planning codes beforehand!). Outdoor fireplaces are great both for when you are hosting guests, or even if you just want to relax outside with a book and a glass of wine. You can cook a huge variety of things on them and they can create a real focal point in your garden.