Being that winter seems to be never-ending this year, and the snow amounts have been substantial, I have found myself dreaming about spring and setting up our porches and patio for warm weather. And I thought now would be a perfect time to share with you our tales of building our back yard patio and fire pit.
A dear friend of ours, Kevin, is a landscape designer and we conned him in to helping us with the design, engineering, and eventually building of our back patio.
We wanted a substantial size so we would have plenty of comfortable seating / entertaining space, and have a fire pit on a far corner. We also had to plan / design around a future outdoor kitchen area that is still in the “dream” stages.
It all started out ok. A neighbor of ours (above) has one of those backhoe things and he was digging away. But quickly, he ran into A LOT of rock, and a random pipe. This blue machine was no match for all the rock.
Sean was at work when this initial dig started I FaceTime-d him so he could see the rock and random pipe issue, and along with several Stage Hands, they all weighed in. We had to go with the big guns. As much as we appreciated the neighbor’s efforts, our job turned too difficult for his machine.
Enter Kevin. Again. And before I knew it, we had and excavator and front in loader in our backyard, along with a lazar that helps measure and level the area.
Even with the excavator and front in loader, this job was still challenging. So. Much. Rock.
Kevin brought over his friend Rob, as Sean and I don’t have a clue as to how to work those big rigs. And working well into the night, we got most of the area dug and cleared.
The following few days, Sean and I worked on clearing out the rest of the rock, and Kevin would come over during his lunch hour and for a couple hours after work to help.
Huge project. And we were under a time crunch. We were hosting a Garden Club party in 2 weeks, and this project had to get done.
Once all of the rock was cleared, and the ground was level, I rolled out ground cover fabric. Then, Kevin delivered 9 tons of pebble for us to spread and level out. I’m proud to say I did the majority of that task by myself. For about a week, my arms looked really toned.
As the pebble was level, Sean and I took on building the fire pit. We mixed and poured the cement. We had the kids write their initials by ours before the cement dried. Then we layered the fire brick.
We attempted to lay the granite. We thought it looked ok. But then Kevin stopped by and cringed in the most polite way he could. Then offered, politely, to “tweak” what Sean and I had done. And thankfully he did. Turned out awesome, and so not cookie cutter, which was our goal. We wanted rustic.
By hook and crook, we got this project done. With no time to spare. We were sweating it out, but no way could we have done this without Kevin. The party was a success, and everything looked beautiful.
We are thrilled. We love having a fire pit, and up until we received all the snow, we were enjoying s’mores on a weekly basis.
I cannot wait for warm weather to arrive, so we can enjoy the patio again. We’re looking forward to installing pavers, designing new landscaping, and maybe some stairs (we’ll only need about 4 or so) on the hill. I’m thinking stairs like these would look great:
All in due time.
What kind of pavers would you recommend we use for our patio? I would love to hear everyone’s ideas!