The Garden Guide

Chiminea,fire pits and garden bonfires - review

A fire is a focal point - visually compelling as well as a source of heat.

The discovery that fire could be utilised, some 500,000 years ago, was fundamental to the development of civilisation and fascination by fire remains instinctive. But the garden bonfire has come under attack on safety grounds. Pessimists point out that bonfires release carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Optimists reply that 'it is the dose which makes the poison'. Check with a Google search, but we are not aware of a single recorded instance death caused by inhalation of emissions from an outdoor bonfire. One should investigate the risks and take care not to upset neighbours. That done, one can strike a match and participate in an ancestral thrill. The Zoroastrians, a significant influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, made and make Fire Temples.

Fire needs to be controlled in a garden. The possibilities include:

  • an outdoor bonfire site, marked by a circle of rocks or logs
  • a brickbuilt fireplace, perhaps with a chimney and a barbecue grate
  • s purpose-made steel or iron fireplace
  • the Chiminea is a Mexican invention, originally used to bake bread. They were originally made in clay. Modern Chimineas are available in iron and aluminium.

Steel garden fireplace

Cooking fire

Bonfire place in Austria

Mexican Chiminea

Bonfire place in Holland