Toasting marshmallows on a fire

Keep the garden party going with a cosy campfire

Even with long summer nights, it’s not generally all that warm in the UK during summer, and as night falls, the temperatures inevitably drop. But if you want to keep enjoying your outdoor space well into the evening, one of the most satisfying ways to do so is with a roaring fire.

Here’s how to enjoy that campfire feeling safely in your back garden:

1. Make sure you use a real fire pit or chimenea – don’t go homemade! Homemade fire bowls or fire pits could melt, disintegrate or shatter when subject to intense heat, so to be safe it’s always wise to invest in proper equipment that will have been fully stress-tested.

2. Make sure you’re aware of the local smoke control regulations regarding open fires or bonfires – although normally barbecues, chimeneas and firepits are exempt from these rules.

3. Keep your fire away from leaves or foliage. Your fire should be around two metres away from anything that could easily go up in flames… including overhanging tree branches. Don’t pop them on your lawn, either, as the heat from beneath the bowl can easily scorch your grass.

4. Watch out for wind. Burning embers can easily be blown around, even with a more covered device like a chimenea, so find as sheltered a spot as you can.

5. Always watch your fire. It is essential that you never leave a lit garden fire unattended, and it’s always good practice to keep a bucket of sand, earth or water handy in case things get out of control.

6. Put it out properly at the end of the night. Soil or sand is best for putting out an outdoor fire as it prevents clouds of ash and steam. And of course, remember to let everything cool down properly before you try to move your fire bowl or chimenea.

7. Always use well-seasoned logs or charcoal on your fire as this will help minimise smoke levels – and never use ordinary house coal for an outdoor fire.

Follow these simple tips, and you can enjoy beautiful real wood or coal-fuelled flames that’ll keep the chill away right until bedtime.