Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FABULOUS guesses my dear friends, but...

It's not a Rain Garden or a Gazebo.
It's not a lovely round Pond or an enchanting Summer House.
It's not a circular Garden or Patio Built for Two.
It's not a stately Fountain, Pergola or Mirror Pool. 

Ahhh... but what DID we build 
in our 14' by 14' by 4' hole in the ground?

Drum roll please....

A Firepit
A place where family and friends gather
to watch the flames flicker 
and enjoy each other's company.
A place to roast hot dogs and marshmallows 
and make delicious S'mores.

This has been a dream of mine for the past several years.
Thanks, Honeyman... 
for making another dream come true. 

Here are the steps we followed to build our Dream Firepit:

 We wanted our Firepit to blend into our landscape 
rather than stand alone like an island in the lawn as the trampoline did. 

So we played around the area with string 
to help us visualize how we wanted it look, 
laying the string on the lawn to mark berms 
that would later become flower beds.

Once we knew what areas of lawn we wanted removed, 
we marked the outline with chalk, 
then we rented a sod cutter and went to work. 
"We" as in my Honeyman... remember, he does all the hard stuff. 
I'm so blessed to have him in my life. 
I can't believe I talked him into making more flower beds. 
"Do we NEED more flower beds to weed?" 
Yes we do. 
We actually removed quite a bit of sod... 350 square feet.

♦  ♦  ♦

Laying brick pavers requires a layer of mason sand 
on top of the road base to allow for final adjustment. 
The sand was easily laid at a uniform level by placing lengths 
of 1" PVC pipe on top of the roadbase spaced approximately 3 ft apart. 
After dumping sand between the pipes, 
a straight length of wood was dragged across the pipes 
to screed the sand to a uniform level.
Sorry, no picture, 
but to see how we used this method in another project... 

The rest was easy. 
We used a blue chalk line to snap a line down the middle of the sand 
to establish the center of the patio, 
then carefully laid brick pavers along the line.

"But I liked the trampoline" the little grandson in orange whispered to me softly.

We had already established the pattern we planned to use before we ordered the pavers, 
which were conveniently delivered adjacent to the work site.

Enlisting help from our sons was a great idea, 
some day they may use these same skills as they build out their own landscapes... 
and we definitely needed their strong muscles.

Besides... they brought with them a whole host of voices to cheer us on.

Worker Bees are double checking to be sure that the pattern 
will result in edges ending 
right where we had planned.

With all the pavers in place, we secured the edges of the patio 
with Pave Tech Pave Edge
Follow the link to read more about it.
A bit expensive, but well worth it for a secure patio.

The Pave Edge was secured in place by driving large metal spikes through the edging into the ground.

Once the pavers were in place, 
we spread sand liberally on the top 
and used the vibrator plate compactor 
to force the sand down into the joints. 
The pavers themselves were pushed about 1/4 inch into the base sand in the process.

We continued the operation until the cracks between the pavers stopped accepting sand.

(And until the show offs had shared all their tricks.)

The final step was to sweep any loose sand on top and around the patio, 
then mist it down slightly to clean it off.

With the base finished, 
we hauled in soil and mulch to raise the beds 
and create a gentle slope.

We then planted the area with carefully chosen plants 
that will fill in quite nicely and make this area a favorite place to be.

A Firepit with gently sloping landscape.

This project was completed last month. 
Next year the landscape will be glorious!

Looks like it's always been there.

Thank you for all your sweet comments and ideas!

I shall place each of your ideas on a slip of paper 
and put them in a jar in the cupboard.
Then on a cold and Wintery day in January, 
my Honeyman will draw out a slip, 
read it aloud 
then say...

"Here's our Summer Project for 2013... let the planning begin!"

And yes I'm dreaming.

Actually he tells me we're done with Summer Projects.
(I figure I have til next Summer to change his mind.)

Another question for you all...

What little creatures in our gardens are giddy with delight 
over this new garden 
and surely must think we planted it just for them?

The secret revealed in my next post!


  1. How wonderful to document such a big project. It will be great fodder for taking on projects with similar demands.

  2. I love this...when we created our large patio we contemplated a fire pit built in but I went with the pond first...amybe someday...very creative and what a great crew...the lanscape is gorgeous and I can't wait to see it grown out next year.

  3. Congrats for your new firepit! It look awesome!

  4. I am so impressed!  I love the new area, although my heart ached just a bit for the little boy in orange that will miss the trampoline.  :(  You know if you ever need funds, you could rent out your honeyman!  He would be in great demand!

  5. Jen @ MuddybootdreamsJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    A wonderfully succesful project. 

    Sorry I can't read these fine fonts, and can't see the letters clearly enough to rewrite the darn thing.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  6.  No worry, Jen.  I figured out how to make the font larger... just for you!

  7. Oh how wonderful Carolyn. That is going to be so much fun. Wiener roast never go out of style no matter the age and I am sure the kids will love it. You made such a beautiful sitting area and garden bed with it. I just love it!

  8.  Thanks, Lona.  It will be more fun when the weather cools down.  We just had another 100° day. No one wants to build a fire when it's so hot. Thankfully we cool down a lot each night.

  9. Your honeyman (and friends) did a great job! And the plants near the patio are lovely, too!

  10.  Thank you :)   Those friend are actually my strong, buff sons. They so bless my life!

  11. Love it!!  Especially with the garden placed around it.
    That is so sweet how your grandson missed the trampoline.  I'm sure he'll love roasting marshmallows and making smores with the new fire pit!

  12. CarolynsshadegardensJanuary 9, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I really admire how you (the royal you) do these projects yourself. They seem so complicated and you just charge ahead.  The firepit looks great.

  13.  Thank you Carolyn. My sweetheart is the detail man. I think he secretly enjoys the challenge each new project brings..


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