i should be mopping the floor: DIY Firepit Patio

Thursday, April 30, 2015

DIY Firepit Patio

We're done with phase one of our DIY Firepit Patio Area. We're already loving it, y'all! Check out how we created this low-maintenance area, as well as see our phase two plans below. 

DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
True story...the bulk of our DIY Firepit Patio was actually finished last summer. But posting about fixing up your yard in September or October just seemed a bit off to me. We had a colder than usual winter, though. So, this is truly the first time we're regularly getting to enjoy this area. We also have some fun plans for phase two...they include party lights and pretty plants and flowers in this area. And by golly, I will get to enjoy those this summer!



DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
This is the before. The shadowed area right around the patio, especially under that window, was a hot mess, y'all. Hot. Mess. We have a French Drain to deal with a horrid water situation that just won't quit...but that area still floods every time it so much as clouds up. So, it stayed a muddy mess all the time. We couldn't get grass to grow in between the rain. Plus, our outdoor patio area isn't huge. We were really wanting a way to extend our outdoor living area so we could enjoy our backyard a lot more. 

I'm going to be totally up front...this job was very labor-intensive. It wasn't necessarily difficult...just a boatload of manual labor. We were able to do the bulk of work during my husband's couple of weeks off from his job last summer {principal perks...they're a thing}.


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
If you decide to do this, just know...it's a lot of work. I know I'm getting kind of repetitive, y'all. But no amount of advice got into my brain last summer about how much work this really was {I get it now, dad...thanks}. I don't want to sugar coat this in any way. Be prepared to work. A lot. And then a lot more. And then rethink the whole thing and wonder what in the heehaw you were thinking. I'm pretty sure the above was about that moment for us. 


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
There's no rhyme or reason...the sod must be removed from the area. Every ding dang piece of it. We made our shape the super technical way...we walked it out. And then used some spray paint to roughly map it out. We also laid out some sting between two stakes to keep it taught to make sure our lines were straight. And then we grabbed the shovels and away we went. My husband free-handed the slight curve in the corner {rockstar, much?}.


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
After the sod was completely removed, we made sure our surface was level. We used both a tamper and extra dirt to level it.Then we lined the area with plain bricks and lightly tapped them in. Because of the sod removal, the bricks almost sat evenly with the level of the grass. 


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
Next, we rolled out and pinned down a weed barrier.
 It was easy to use...just cut it with scissors at the end. 


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
At this point, we were able to get the massive pile of pea gravel off of our driveway...more work, y'all! We probably hauled 100 wheelbarrow loads of the stuff to the backyard. We'd pour it and then tamper it down. The little brick in the middle marked the spot where the firepit was going. If you decide to create one of these areas for your home, I highly recommend ordering your gravel from a local yard that will bring it to your house via dumptruck. Buying 200 bags of pea gravel at the hardware store just didn't even sound appealing. These big landscaping yards sell it by the square foot (the place we used had a minimum requirement). You'll need to calculate the square footage of your area before placing your order. For this 20'x10' area we have, we spent about $160 for our gravel...to give you a rough estimate.


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
Then we used the curved stones to create the pit. We did a pretty simple design. We just bought the insert on its own and the bricks by themselves. I wanted something that was easy to change out in case I want a new style. After the circle was formed, we just laid the insert in it and lit it up! ;)


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
Firepit perfection.

DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
It's been an awesome spot for our family. We've already had our fair share of s'more-filled nights. It's still missin' a little something. You'll have to check out our plans for phase two below {I'm seriously giddy, y'all!}.


DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
I know it's tougher to see the actual firepit in this photo, but I also added a porch swing on the edge of the covered patio to separate the firepit area from the patio/eating area we have outside. I kind of wish the weather would stay just like it is right now so I could swing-a-ding-ding all summer long. 


PHASE TWO PLANS: 
DIY Firepit Patio: Step-by-step photos and instructions to create your own backyard firepit area.
Can I just say I'm super excited for phase two? Y'all, I had so much fun adding party lights in Photoshop above...imagine what a mess I'll be when they're really installed! 

While we've loved the firepit patio area...it needs a little green and a little ambiance...and those kickin' party lights, y'all. My fourth wish would be Willie Nelson and his gee-tar singing us some songs 'round the campfire...but that may be a little lofty. We've been working to add four planters, engineered to have poles concreted all the way down into the ground through the bottoms' of the planters. It's not as simple as it looks above {a girl can dream, right?}. The poles have to go well into the ground because of the storms we have here in central Texas. And the lights will need to be put away fairly quickly, too. But, I've brought in the big guns for phase two...my dad. My husband and I love doing projects together, but it's his crazy season at work, y'all {although, I did sweet talk him into digging the four holes for us in this insane rocky soil!}. I think my dad is excited to engineer these crazy Texas-sturdy planter poles for us. I'd love to plant some lovely flowering plants and vines that can travel all the way up the poles, too.

UPDATE: We're done! Click here to tour our entire backyard.





6 comments:

  1. This is so close to your house. In our area we have to be 17 feet from any flammable surface ( even a fence). suggest anyone making this check local bylaws. I love the idea just away from the house

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    1. Thanks, Christine. Since this is not a permanent structure, we were okay with our city's codes on this. Our brick is not set here, so we can move it anytime we want. We also hose it down whenever it's used and keep the proper precautionary items nearby. We have a very small yard and this was the only space available.

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  2. Wow. Looks great. Where did you find your fireplace insert?

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    1. Thank you, Courtney! It was from Home Depot.

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  3. Kristi how is your water situation, we are in a very similar position. I was actually on your site for the gravel tutorial but read about the water problem. We are about to do a fire pit area but on the other side of our house we are considering installing french drains.

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    1. It's actually improved a lot...but I will add that it got worse before it got better. GAH! We started having a very wet spot in the outer corner of the pea gravel patio...so much that the wheels from the mower sank into it when we turned the corner. We actually had a festering leak in our sprinkler system's pipes for a long time and never knew it. We had to have this area dug up and find the leak. We also capped one of the sprinkler heads close to the house that didn't water too much actual grass once the gravel area went in. This all helped tremendously. The area stays a lot drier. If we have a rainy few days (which is rare in Texas), we still have one large puddle that forms right next to this area...but we don't have any muddy or wet areas IN the actual patio area. Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by!

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