Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gardening Article: Choosing a Chiminea as a Centrepiece for your Garden

If you’re thinking of doing a spot of landscaping, or simply looking for ideas to refresh and revitalise your garden, it’s worth considering setting aside a space for relaxing and entertaining guests. Make it large enough for a few good-quality garden chairs, lay down some decking or paving, and try cordoning it off with decorative fencing or ornamental hedging to create a stunning, relaxing quiet space in the garden.

And when it comes to choosing a centerpiece for your new retreat, it’s worth thinking about whether you want to heat your new outside space. Adding an outdoor heater ensures you can enjoy your garden in the spring and autumn as well, and even late into the summer evenings. One of the major benefits of buying a chiminea is that you and your guests will be able to enjoy the joys of a real fire, and, positioned properly, it will also make a great centrepiece.

Place your chiminea in a central position, make sure the space is large enough to accommodate your chosen model, and arrange a semi-circle of chairs around it (or select an open-bowl chiminea). Remember to leave a sensible gap all around the bowl of the chiminea. Alternatively, if you have a smaller garden or patio space, you could arrange chairs around a firebowl and supply a side-table or two for drinks.

Which sort of chiminea you choose is entirely dependent upon your garden design. Chimineas are available in modern or traditional designs; cast iron chimineas, often available with integral BBQ grills, are more convenient for more frequent use and add traditional style to your garden, whereas steel chimineas are more modern, often cheaper, and a lot lighter if you ever need to move them. You can find chimineas in a variety of colours and finishes, so even if your garden is a riot of colour, you should be able to find a chiminea, perhaps a clay chiminea with a vibrant Mexican-inspired style, which will fit right in. Having access to a real fire in your garden means you can quickly set up an impromptu barbecue or sit around with cups of cocoa and toast marshmallows long into the evening. 

Chimineas can also be very environmentally-friendly depending on the fuel you use, and some people believe that the smoke (particularly from aromatic softwoods such as pine or ocote (Montezuma pine)) acts as a natural insect repellent. There are also various brands of very cheap recycled fuel, or you can make your own. There are a variety of log- and briquette- makers on the market which will take a variety of household and garden waste, and the logs can be made in advance and stored in a cool dry place until needed.

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Laura Phillips is an outdoor living enthusiast and writes for

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