Everything used to be simpler: until the 1980s, garden owners were allowed to light a fire on their own property at will. Today it’s different. Open fireplaces have long been subject to the law – a permit is required. Depending on the municipality, the Ordnungsamt or the Umweltamt are responsible.
Before the purchase of firewood, bowls and other utensils the discussion with the authorities is thus lining up. There you have to register the fire. However, there is no guarantee for the approval. Apart from special dates in the year, above all Easter, the authorities are very careful with the permission. In order to have any chance of obtaining the permit, you have to take a few things into account. Check Homease for inspiration to your own lovely garden.
The basic rules for a fire in your own garden:
The open fire must not pose any danger! Keep a distance of at least 50 metres from the edge of the forest.
Do not start a fire if there is a great risk of dryness, wind or forest fires!
Accelerators such as petrol or spirit are prohibited, there is a danger of deflagration!
Only use dry wood. Fresh wood is usually damp and leads to strong smoke development.
Only use natural, clean wood. Polluted wood can contain harmful substances. Resin is also a risk as it can ignite explosively.
The fireplace must have a non-flammable frame. This can be simply constructed by stones themselves.
Keep an eye on the fire at all times – it must never be left unattended.
A ready-to-handle fire extinguisher is mandatory. As an alternative, extinguishing agents such as sand or water can be used.
Very importantly: It is in principle always forbidden to burn garbage or other objects in the garden. Violations are punished with high fines.
These Verhaltenstipps are all the more important if one considers that open fires in the garden are usually not insured. With an accident thus also large financial damage threatens.
Pile of wood becomes the trap for animals
Small animals often use a pile of wood as shelter. In order not to run the risk of falling victim to the flames, you should not stack the wood until the day you want to make the fire.
The use of fire bowls
Because of the strict guidelines for private campfires, the fire bowl has conquered German gardens. It protects the soil, brings a high level of safety and is very mobile. With these characteristics, it has developed from an alternative to a trend object.
If you use suitable wood of this type, no official permit is required for the fire in the garden – a clear advantage for the fire bowl. With modern technical aids such as wood splitters, you can even prepare the wood yourself.
Place the fire bowl correctly
Fire bowls and fire baskets may only be used outdoors and without roofing. The substrate must be level, stable and fireproof, e.g. stone, sand or tile flooring. Fire baskets are usually supplied with a base of fireproof material, as embers can fall out of the basket. If you want to prevent this, choose a model with a close-meshed wire insert. Also important is a sufficient distance between the fire bowl and the floor to prevent heat accumulation.
A spark protection hood made of close-meshed wire mesh helps to contain the flying sparks from the fire bowl. Sufficient distance from buildings and combustible materials must be maintained to avoid the risk of fire from heat or sparks. The responsible public order office or the municipality will inform you about the valid distances. In Bavaria, for example, a distance of five metres from buildings and at least 100 metres from flammable materials such as hay, paper or forest land applies to open fires.
In the interests of good neighbourliness, however, you should light the fire in the garden only occasionally. Some fire bowls can also be used as a grill, for example as a central element in a swivel grill.
Choosing the right fire bowl
Fire bowls from the trade are usually available from a diameter of 30 centimeters. The ideal size depends on the intended use and the available space. Small bowls of 30 or 50 centimetres are a wonderful decoration and are also suitable for terraces. For a fully-fledged fire experience, it is better to reach for 80 or 100 centimetres.
For additional safety you can use a spark arrester. This is especially true in the vicinity of flammable environments, such as at the edge of the forest or next to the garden furniture.
A further selection criterion is the material. Commercially available models are made of stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic. The latter are particularly elegant and visually enhance the garden, but are all the more sensitive in return. They are not suitable for grilling and must not be used in wet conditions, as moist ceramics tend to crack and crack when heated. This also applies to fire bowls made of clay or terracotta.