Your Guide to the Perfect Backyard Bonfire

What better way to enjoy an evening than with a bonfire? Whether you’re partying with friends or getting cozy with someone you love, a bonfire is the perfect backdrop, especially on one of the many cooler late summer nights we have here in Indiana. Let us fire off a few important tips and tricks.

Shopping - or Scavenging - for  the Perfect Components

You can’t have a bonfire without wood, that’s a given. But, are you stocked with the other backyard essentials? We’re talking about: - Kindling - Ignition source (matches, lighter, etc.) - A large bucket of water or a hose - Seats - Blankets - Snacks - Beverages (of the family-friendly or adult variety) - A cooler and ice (see below) - Bug spray And speaking of bonfires, where are you going to burn yours? Invest in a quality fire pit from your favorite local home improvement store, or better yet - build your own. There are tons of free fire pit plans on the internet. One of our favorite how-tos comes to you from the fine home pros at This Old House. e you choose, just remember to set up your pit away from the house and any other materials that could catch fire or be burned by hot embers. And always always always have a water source like a bucket or hose nearby.

Proper Firewood Storage

No matter how or how often you use it, firewood is something you can obtain all year long through any number of means. The best wood is seasoned, meaning it has had time to properly dry out. The perfect piece of firewood is one with less than 20% moisture. Not only does seasoned firewood burn more efficiently, it is also much easier to light and keep lit. One more thing: hopefully it goes without saying (and we definitely say that a lot in these blog posts), but never burn treated wood in your bonfire, or anywhere else for that matter. Treated lumber is full of potentially toxic chemicals you don’t want to breathe in via smoke.

The Perfect S’More

Yeah yeah, we know the perfect s’more is the one in your hand that you get to eat. Graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey’s chocolate will always reign supreme, but if you’re hosting a backyard get-together, consider spicing things up. Literally (add a dash of cayenne pepper and kosher salt). Or, something for you chocoholics out there (chocolate grahams, chocolate marshmallows, Ghirardelli dark chocolate square). Or, a nod to the King of Rock and Roll (grahams, peanut butter cup, marshmallows, sliced banana). Or, something a bit more savory (grahams, marshmallows, chocolate and salted caramel, crispy bacon). Our mouths are already watering!

A Cooler Constructed for the Outdoors

A plastic cooler is fine for a bonfire. For you Mr. and Ms. Fix-Its out there, this is WAY better. Try your handy hand at this DIY patio cooler guide from the home improvement gurus at Shanty 2 Chic. Its rustic, weathered look is perfect for the patio, and the wood components are built around a cheap, easy to replace styrofoam cooler. It also saves your guests a trip into the kitchen, which in turn helps keep the bugs outdoors.

Natural Bug Repellant

Speaking of bugs, if you needed another reason to have a bonfire, it’s one of the best ways at keeping those little critters at bay. That means you can enjoy more of your summer the way it was meant to be enjoyed - outside. Just in case though, it doesn’t hurt to have backup bug spray (just remember not to spray it near the fire) and other repellents, such as citronella candles, tiki torches, and your favorite battery-powered pest controllers. Happy, safe bonfiring from your friends at Lawn Pride of Indianapolis. Are you a fan of photographs? Share your bonfire pics and tag @LawnPride on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!