The ambience from the glimmering light, the warmth radiating from the flickering flames as the sun goes down, the marshmallows drizzling with Baileys, ready to toast.
Now that’s the perfect setting for a summer’s evening in the garden.
And that’s why you need a chiminea.
What is a Chiminea?
In a nutshell, a chiminea is a free-standing, open-fronted fireplace with a bulbous body topped with an elongated chimney (the name actually derives from the Spanish ‘chiminea’ meaning chimney).
The first traditionally designed clay chimineas are commonly believed to have originated in Mexico over 400 years ago and were popularly used for keeping warm and for cooking.
What Choices of Chiminea Are There?
There are 3 types available to choose from:
- Fired clay
- Cast iron
The traditional option.
Mexican clay chimineas offer a fabulous rustic feel for your garden, handcrafted to give them a lovely charm with a fabulous array of colours and decoration to choose from. A lot of chimineas are inspired by eye-catching Mexican, Mayan and Aztec art. Gorgeous.
A really enchanting focal point for your patio.
Avoid cheaper clay models. Look for a good quality clay chimineas handcrafted in Mexico which have large mouths enabling the fire to get a strong draw of air for a cleaner, hotter flame.
Clay chimineas require less maintenance than their metal counterparts and don’t require any assembling.
They should always be cured before use to help prevent cracking – check out this video for helpful advice
Use only dry wood as fuel in a Mexican clay chiminea – charcoal or coal burn very hot and can cause damage. It’s always advisable to put 50mm of sand or lava stone at the bottom of a clay chiminea to protect it from direct heat.
Made from thick clay, these lovely chimineas soak up the heat of the fire and radiate very well, giving a fabulous source of heat and acting as a radiator long after the fire is out.
Although barbecue grills aren’t a usual feature some do come with them and removable grills and cooking accessories can be bought as optional extras.
Always protect clay chimineas from bad weather and frost damage with waterproof covers.
Based on the design of wood burning stoves, cast iron chimineas are solid, strong and durable. They are also staggeringly heavy so are very stable and not easy to move around.
They burn any fuel – wood, charcoal or coal – at an incredibly high temperature which makes them very efficient at heating large areas.
And if outdoor cooking is your thing, a cast iron chiminea offers great versatility, many having swing out barbecue grills that are perfect for your bangers, burgers and even pizzas on a pizza stone resting on the grill.
Cast iron is less prone to cracking compared to clay.
It is important to protect cast iron chimineas against rust. Give any bare spots a rub with wire wool and touch up with cast iron paint. Always use a weatherproof cover.
Some self assembly will be required.
Add a stylish, modern twist to your garden with the sleek, contemporary design of a steel chiminea.
Comparatively lightweight compared to its cast iron counterpart at less than half the weight, a steel chiminea can be moved easily.
It won’t rust as easily as a cast iron chiminea and isn’t as prone to the same cracks as a clay chiminea which makes a steel chiminea far easier to maintain.
Although steel doesn’t heat as efficiently as cast iron or clay, a steel chiminea is still very good at radiating heat and any type of fuel can be used.
And, like cast iron chimineas, many come with inbuilt barbecue grills.
It is important to protect steel chimineas from bad weather with a cover.
So there you have some food for thought as you plan for the long summer evenings ahead.
Take a look at our superb range of chimineas for more ideas.
And whatever style you decide on, enjoy! What are you going to dip your marshmallows in??
Cinammon, pine cones, orange peel, bacon(?!)….check out my ideas about what aromatic fragrances you can burn with logs in a chiminea