Garden & Outdoor

How To Use a Garden Incinerator

a garden incinerator to get rid of garden waste

A garden incinerator is an easy way to dispose of organic waste, while also saving you from all those trips to the dump. However, it is really important to make sure you understand how to use a garden incinerator safely and correctly.

This handy how-to guide will show you step-by-step how to convert your garden rubbish into a  pile of  ash with your garden incinerator.

Before you begin, your garden incinerator should come with a manual that you must read.

Let’s start with what you’ll need.


  1. Get set up

    If you’ve just brought your garden incinerator home, it will need some basic assembly. Make sure the legs are screwed on firmly – and if it comes with an internal flue, fit that before you put anything else inside.

    There are a few safety points you need to think about when deciding where your garden incinerator will go.

    It should be:

    • Far from any building or structure – including your house, sheds, and fences.
    • Away from any roads – smoke is a driving hazard.
    • Positioned on bare ground or stone slabs.
    • Completely stable – any wobble and it could fall over whilst in use.
    • Away from trees, hedges or anything else that could be reached by hot embers.


  2. Remember to keep these safety tips in mind


    • Wear suitable heat-proof gloves, goggles, long sleeves and boots.
    • Keep pets and kids well away.
    • Consider which way the wind is blowing and how the smoke will affect your neighbours.
    • Check your local council policy on garden fires.
    • Have everything you want to burn ready to go and broken up into pieces that will fit comfortably inside the incinerator.
    • Keep a bucket of water close by, just in case.


    • Use the incinerator in very windy or very dry weather – burning embers can be blown long distances and dry conditions increase the risk of accidental fires.
    • Leave it unattended while it’s lit.
  3. Lighting

    Getting your incinerator lit is easy if you work in layers and make sure all the materials you use are nice and dry.

    First, line the bottom of the incinerator with scrunched up newspaper – don’t ball it up too tight, you want air to be able to flow through it easily.

    Follow with a loose layer of dry twigs/grass.

    Put some bigger branches on top, though avoid squashing everything down too much.

    Light the paper through a few of the holes around the base with a long match or safety lighter.

    Add only bone-dry material until the fire is well established.

  4. Burning

    Once you’ve got a good blaze going, you can start adding more garden waste a bit at a time, though be careful – adding too much at once  might cause you to smother the fire. Remember to use heat-proof gloves when adding more material.

    A few things to remember:

    • Use the lid to keep the garden incinerator hot so it burns efficiently.
    • Don’t overfill it, as it could topple over.
    • Adding wet material will cause a lot more smoke – don’t breathe it in and consider other people in the area.

    Here’s the dos and don’ts of what to put in:

    Do burn:

    • Hedge cuttings
    • Grass cuttings
    • Leaves
    • Twigs and branches

    Don’t burn:

    • Wooden objects/furniture (they can be coated in harmful paints/varnishes)

    Things you should recycle

    • Plastic
    • Food waste
  5. Emptying

    Once the contents are reduced to ash, you can take off the lid and give it a stir to help it cool down quicker.

    Ash can stay hot in the middle for a long time, so leave it overnight if possible. Don’t be tempted to throw water on it – the resulting sludge will make it harder to clean up.

    When it’s completely cool, use an old mug or trowel to lift out the ash and pop it in an airtight bag or container.

    You can also use the ash to mix  with compost, to combat excess acidity in the soil and add valuable trace elements.

    There you have it, a huge pile of garden rubbish transformed into a small pile of easily disposable ash.

    Now you’re all clued up on how to use a garden incinerator safely and correctly, why not take a look at what we have on offer?



Writer and expert