We weren’t planning on renovating the outside of our house until we finished up the inside, but last weekend’s amazing weather had us jonesing for an outdoor project. So we got a head start on the yard reno and made a fire pit.
Neither of us has ever done anything like this before. We didn’t really plan out this project. It was just something we decided to do when we woke up on Saturday. “What a nice day. …let’s make a fire pit!” Yeah. We’re nuts.
We have big plans for our back yard. What we currently have is a rectangle of patchy grass, gravel, cement and perennials randomly bordering the fence. What we want is a functional space — a vegetable garden, a compost pile, a stone patio for BBQs, some chaise lounges. So we’re basically going to split the yard in half. Everything in the picture above is going to be scrapped and replaced.
We started by removing some big stones from the end of the yard:
This may have been a decent-looking stone patio at one time, but it’s pretty haggard now. The stones are in good shape, though, so we’re going to reuse them.
Next up, we had to set our fire ring.
That’s a heavy-duty ring of steel that we picked up from a local metal fabricator. It cost $54. I made coffee while Bradley centered the ring between the fence and the cement walkway. Then he started digging:
Bradley used a shovel, a level, and a rubber mallet to set the ring into the hole.
Ta-da! We have a fire pit! We went to Home Depot and picked up some treated lumber, a rake and a tamper.
Then we stopped by a local nursery and ordered a pallet of stone and some gravel. They delivered it the next day. All of our materials cost about $300.
We spent Saturday framing the stone patio.
On Sunday morning, the nursery delivered the stone and gravel. We also ordered some weedkiller fabric so nothing will grow in our stone patio.
We also picked up some hardware to bolt the lumber together:
After that, we started carting in the gravel:
One of us brought in the gravel and the other tamped it down.
After that, we brought in the stones.
We started with the big stones we pulled from the yard. Then we added in the smaller, new stones to make a grid.
We basically had to play Tetris with the stones.
We had to use a grinder to cut a few pieces.
Here’s how it looks now:
It’s obviously not finished. We still have to level each stone and fill in the gaps with gravel. It’s going to take another weekend to wrap up before we can start making s’mores.
We’re already talking about building an L-shaped bench, a concrete coffee table and some huge planter boxes for the patio. We’re not sure if the rest of this side will be stone or something more cost-efficient, but we’ll figure that out later. For now, we’re just glad to have something useable in our yard.
We’ll wrap up this project over the weekend if the weather cooperates. Stay tuned for that, plus some updates on other small projects we’ve been working on. Happy spring, everyone!