Archive for the ‘exterior’ Category

Cooking pit

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

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This is the next step in the side yard project and I have a feeling we may get some crap for this. We are making a little fire pit! Don’t mind the weird black strip, it’s not staying. I checked out the city codes and technically this is a “cooking” pit. And yes, I do need an outdoor “cooking” pit – don’t mind the BBQ over there.

I did my research rounds around the interweb (cause I’m lazy and the library is only open like two days a week now) about DIY’ing a fire pit or cinder block cooking pit. We just started finalizing the plans for our little gravel patio and are currently at the laying it out and trouble shooting stage.

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Cinder block is not a great fire pit choice. It can crack and degrade over time and some say even EXPLODE (well, under
extreme heat and moisture). Upside? It’s cheap, temporary, industrially modern and goes well with the architecture of the house. It’s also small enough to meet code.

I’m nothing if not a risk taker.

We dug down about 6 inches to inset the base and still need to dig a center hole and fill the bottom with gravel for drainage and air flow. Another three inches of gravel are going down around the exterior to level out the rest of the patio. The blocks still have to get mortared and leveled out as well as possibly have interior firebricks installed.

After it all cures completely in a couple weeks we could have a small quaint fire. For cooking of course.


Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


Time Travel! Waaaaaaay back to the beginning of the battle with the weeds. Not much has changed in the past few years…

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We started clearing out and redoing the side yard in continuation of 2010 Year of the Exterior. The plan is to install a small fire pit and gridded cement paver patio area as well as create a planter area out of the wacky pony wall.

Here is my rad plan below. I know, it’s just a garbage map, but hey this is fledgling landscape design (I have illustrator and this shit is hard).

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The big circles are trees, the little ones? I don’t know maybe some feathergrass or kangaroo paw, maybe a cactus thrown in here and there.

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What we did:

-Remove tree stump.
-Add dirt.
-Level it out.

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-Stake down about 400 sq.ft of geotextile fabric.

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-Shovel more gravel.

-lots more.

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Still to do:

-MORE gravel
-Level it out
-Build fire pit
-Install landscape edging
-Install cement pavers
-Clean out debris
-New fence
-Figure out the rest of the yard
-Plant some stuff

Side Yard

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

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Some of that leftover gravel is headed over to our side yard which will be turned into an entertainment space fitted with cement square pavers, a fire pit, and lots’o crazy drought tolerant plantings. It’s going to be A to the Mazing if all goes as planned…

But, what have we accomplished in the two years of thinking and planning this area?

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Here is a before pic (from our inspection) of the area connecting the back yard to the side yard located behind the garage. We think the previous owner used it as a dog run or something else way more sinisterly creepy. It was lined with plywood, janky wood pallets and TONS of that hamster wood-shaving stuff. Smell = gross.

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We cleaned all that scariness out, lined the area with geotextile fabric and dumped about four inches of the driveway gravel down.

Much better.

So much more to do: fix the fence, create planting areas, level it all out, actually put paint on the house. It’s still not fully primed yet…six months after we began…jeeez.

2010! Year of the exterior!