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What Is A Chimenea? What Is It Used For And How Do You Spell It?

by Lianne Jones May 25, 2022

What Is A Chimenea?

Even if you aren’t confident that you know what it is, the chances are that you have probably heard of a Chimenea.

These outdoor wood burning fireplaces are popular all over the world, and many people have one in their garden. But what exactly is a Chimenea?

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at exactly what a Chimenea is, where it comes from, what it is used for, and, strangely, how you spell it.

That last one might seem a little strange, but by the time we get to the end of this guide, it’ll all make sense.

So, if you want to find out more about what a Chimenea is, then keep on reading to find out!

What Is A Chimenea?

First things first, let’s take a look at exactly what a Chimenea is. Well, as we have mentioned, a Chimenea is a type of outdoor wood burning fireplace.

It is a freestanding fireplace that has an opening at the front through which wood can be added to the fire to keep it going.

Generally, the bottom area where wood is added is rounded and bulbous. Whereas the top of the Chimenea is long and thin – an area where the smoke generated by the fire can escape.

A lot of people have a Chimenea in their garden. Many people like the aesthetic look of a Chimenea, while others like the ability to light it if they want to warm up their garden in the evening.

Either way, it is a common feature in many gardens all over the world. But where did the idea of a Chimenea come from?

Well, Chimeneas actually originated in Mexico. Traditionally, they would have been made with either terracotta or clay. But now they are made with lots of different materials, including steel, cast iron and copper.

Chimeneas have multiple different uses, let’s take a look at what they are.

What Is A Chimenea Used For?

As we have stated, chimeneas are very popular, and lots of different people have them in their gardens. Some people have a chimenea in their garden purely just for the look of it.

But, the majority of people who have a chimenea use it for one thing or another. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that chimeneas can be used for.

Well, some of the main uses of a chimenea include:

  • For atmosphere. 
  • For light. 
  • For warmth.
  • For toasting marshmallows to make s’mores. 
  • For cooking food. 
  • For decorative purposes. 
  • And lots more…

Depending on what you want to use your chimenea for, a different style of chimenea might be better suited.

For example, if you plan on cooking in your chimenea, then you might decide to purchase a chimenea that comes with grill trays that allow you to cook in it.

Likewise, if you plan on using your chimenea to toast marshmallows, it is probably best to look for a chimenea with a large opening – allowing you to toast your marshmallows with plenty of space.

Alternatively, if you are purchasing a chimenea purely for aesthetic purposes, then it doesn’t really matter what the chimenea does.

Instead, you will just want to ensure that the style, color and size of the chimenea suits the area where you want to keep it.

Chimeneas have lots of uses, and depending on what you plan to use it for, a different design will be better suited to your needs!

What Is The Design Of A Chimenea?

What Is The Design Of A Chimenea?

Now that we have taken a look at what a chimenea might be used for, let’s take a look at the design of a chimenea. As we have already established, chimeneas have a simple yet sweet design.

They are not overly complicated, and this is a big part of why they have become so popular.

In order to light your chimenea, then you need to design the inside of it in a specific way. Most chimeneas will be bought empty, so it is your responsibility to prepare the area ready for a fire to be lit.

The area of the chimenea where you will light a fire is often referred to as the bulb. This is the large round area at the bottom of the chimenea. To prepare it for a fire to be lit, you should line the bottom of this area with sand.

Fires will require a bed, so laying sand better prepares the area for a fire, and increases the chances of the fire surviving. Then all you need to do is add the wood and start the fire.

Every chimenea has a “chimney” area which is the long column running up from the bulb.

When a fire is lit in the bulb, then a lot of heat will escape through the hole at the top of the chimney – along with the smoke. However, a lot of heat will also be released from the front of the chimenea too.

One design feature that is very different between traditional and modern chimeneas is this open area at the front of the chimenea. On traditional clay chimeneas, this area will be permanently open, without a door to close.

This makes traditional chimeneas less safe. In contrast, most modern chimeneas will have a large opening, but they will also have a door that closes over it. Making your chimenea much safer if you have children.

This is something else that you must consider if you are thinking of purchasing a chimenea.

Tips for Using A Chimenea

Even if you already own a chimenea, you might find yourself reading this guide, simply because you want to ensure that you can get as much out of your chimenea as possible. Here are some tips for using your chimenea…

Keep It Flat

Chimeneas work best when they are kept flat. So, if you have uneven areas in your garden, avoid these, or simply create a platform that is flat for your chimenea to rest upon.

Purchase A Chimenea Cover

Even the places in the world with the best weather get rainy patches – consider purchasing a chimenea cover so that you can light it, even when it is wet out.

Keep It Away From Your Home

Chimeneas give off a surprising amount of smoke, so you should keep them in an open area away from your home. 

Avoid Flammable Surfaces

You should also avoid placing your chimenea on flammable surfaces, such as decking.

This is especially important if you have an open-front chimenea as it is possible that embers from the fire could spit out onto your decking. 

Should I Buy A Chimenea?

Whether, or not you should purchase a chimenea depends entirely on your own situation. If you want to make your garden look nicer, you might consider purchasing a chimenea.

Likewise, if you want to be able to cook food while you are outside, you might also consider purchasing a chimenea.

No matter your circumstances, there is no denying that chimeneas are great! They have lots of different uses, and look really nice at the same time.

They are perfect for late summer evenings as it starts to cool down after the sun has dropped, and they are perfect for sitting around to toast marshmallows with your family.

One of the other great things that might tempt you to purchase a chimenea is the fact that they actually aren’t that expensive.

Depending on the make and model that you purchase, you can get them fairly cheap. Hopefully, by reading this guide it has helped you decide whether, or not, a chimenea is for you.

How Do You Spell It?

Now, let’s get to the question that you have been eagerly awaiting the answer to. That is, of course, how do you spell “chimenea”?

Well, on the surface this might seem like a silly question. But there are actually more ways that you can spell chimenea than you could imagine – so which one is correct?

The answer isn’t as simple as you might expect. This is primarily because the word is spelt differently in different areas of the world.

Perhaps the most common way to spell chimenea is “chimenea” which is why we have spelt it that way in this guide. However you can also spell it “chiminea”, “chiminiea”, “chimania” and lots of other ways too.

But, no matter the spelling, all these words are used to refer to the same thing, and that is the chimenea that we have discussed in this guide. Just don’t be alarmed if you see it spelled in a unique and unexpected way. 


In short, a chimenea is a type of wood-burning fireplace that is of Mexican origin. It can be used for a variety of different purposes, including generating heat and light, cooking food, and simply adding a nice aesthetic touch to your garden.

When you research chimeneas, you will likely notice that the way in which this word is spelt differs greatly from place to place. There really is no correctway to spell chimenea, but the most common spelling is “chimenea”.

Thank you for reading!

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