Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes’ Night, is almost upon us. And since it falls on a Sunday this year, lots of us will be having bonfire parties this weekend.
There’s lots of planning involved when it comes to Bonfire Night. Gone are the days where we could make a bonfire out of whatever rubbish we had lying around – we don’t want to pollute the atmosphere, upset the neighbours or disturb wildlife.
So how can you prepare your garden for a Bonfire Night party? Read our 8 tips to find out.
1. Ensure that your garden is big enough
According to RoSPA Safer Fireworks, there should be 25 metres between the spectators and the fireworks. That means that if your garden is smaller than this, you should take great care. Consider buying smaller fireworks and sparklers to enjoy the experience.
2. Check for overhanging trees
If you’ve got overhanging trees, stay away from fireworks that fly up in the air to avoid setting fire to them. Also bear in mind that you shouldn’t light bonfires under trees, as the hot air kills buds. You’ll end up with a tree with large dead areas next year.
3. Take precautions to prevent fire
Make sure there is plenty of space around your bonfire to avoid setting fire to plants, fences or sheds. The Royal Horticultural Society recommends a 10m space around the fire, but in smaller gardens you could get away with a small fire lit closer to flammable materials. The safest way to light a fire in a small garden would be to use a fire basket.
4. Prepare for the worst
It’s a good idea to have buckets of water around during a bonfire and make sure your hose pipe works if you have one. Fires that seem well put-out can reignite later on, so make sure you damp it down thoroughly afterwards and remove any flammable materials that may be lying near the bonfire.
5. Build your bonfire as close to the time as possible
The best way to avoid harming wildlife during your bonfire party is to build it as close to the time as possible. On the day is best. This is so that hedgehogs or toads don’t have time to take shelter in the heaps of material that you have put together.
6. Only use quick-burning wood
Quick-burning woody materials are the only things you should be burning on your bonfire. If you add weeds into the mix, you’ll get a nasty plume of smoke. Even worse, if you burn plastics or treated wood you could release toxic smoke into the air and pollute the environment, as well as making your guests feel unwell.
7. Secure Catherine wheels safely
The RoSPA recommends that you nail Catherine wheels to timber uprights about 1.5 – 2 metres off the ground. There are different types of Catherine wheels and static ones need to be nailed to posts differently, so make sure you read the instructions.
8. Light your bonfire carefully
Professional gardener and Ground Force star Alan Titchmarsh recommends using long matches to ignite your bonfire, using a trail of newspaper that leads into the heart of the heap. Never use paraffin or firelighters as it could get out of hand very quickly. Make sure you’ve got your buckets or hosepipe ready in case the fire starts getting too big.
Whether you’re planning a huge party or a family night in, it’s important to prepare your garden for Bonfire Night to keep everyone safe. It also ensures that your garden thrives just as much as it would if you hadn’t had a bonfire.
Holding a bonfire party this weekend? Tweet us your pictures @Quotatis!