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.

Bird Baths, Celebrations And Holidays, Chimeneas, Clocks, Decoration, Gardening, Lighting, Mothers' Day, Solar Lighting

Show Your Appreciation This Mothers’ Day

A big day is coming up – the day when men and women across the country will be spending their time with good old Mum, showing their appreciation for the woman who took care of them throughout their childhood and beyond.

If you are looking for a special gift to show your mother how much she means to you, Primrose has lots of fantastic gift ideas to give you some inspiration!

Why not give her a gift that will light up the fresh, spring sky, with some beautiful solar lights? From path markers to guide your way through the garden, to sparkling light strings to brighten up any tree, these delightful solar lights are eco-friendly, cost nothing to run and would make an ideal gift!

If your mum is a keen gardener, consider buying a grow kit so she can grow her own produce – our herb kits sit neatly on the window sill and come with everything needed to grow a range of fresh herbs such as parsley and basil, perfect for use in everyday cooking. Or let her try growing her own delicious strawberries with a strawberry barrel kit! There is a lot of fresh produce you can grow yourself, from tomatoes and herbs, to potatoes and beans, all easy to grow, tasty and satisfying!

And why not cook those home-grown potatoes and tomatoes, along with some burgers, sausages and kebabs, on the barbecue, or for something a bit different, consider grilling them over the fire in a chiminea! Chimineas are both useful and decorative garden features – use one for warmth and cooking on sultry summer evenings.

A garden clock is a fantastic gift idea – these smart, practical items come in a range of styles and will look elegant fixed to any wall. Some even light up in the evening so it is easy to read no matter what time of day.

If you know your mum is a fan of nature and wildlife, why not help her get the most from her garden and both attract and protect the local animals? A bird bath or bird house is a great way to entice a wide variety of birds to the garden, while a bee box or hedgehog house will provide sanctuary for some of the UK’s more endangered species.

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.