As promised in yesterday's posts about our new fall flowers, today we are showing you how we installed the Pavestone seat wall and fire pit kit. Why?… Because it is utterly amazing and we are in LOVE with the space after all we have done. Basically we have tried to spend a lot of time back there doing whatever we can!! We've invited both of our extended families over several times and a few friends. It is just so much fun to be back there.
Last night one of my sister in laws was saying that she had never really been in the backyard before, it seemed so small, she didn't realized there was a huge lively shade tree. It's amazing the difference it made to design the spaces for certain purposes and how that made this seemingly small yard feel bigger, and much more usable.
Where The Seat Wall & Fire Pit Kit Are In The Design:
Here is a view of the entire back yard plan. In the design, the wall and fire pit are right in the middle, wrapping around an existing pear tree. These are two of the main architectural elements that we will see out our kitchen window. The fire pit is laid out to be centered to the existing pear tree and the window of the house.
The dimensions of the wall are – 48 square face feet (meaning the front of the wall that is exposed), 32 feet long, 19 inches high (including the cap) and 14″ wide. The wall has three curves and has a small set of three steps that take you up to the bigger garden area.
The dimension of the fire pit kit is a 45″ outside diameter.
When I was first thinking about the wall, I had no idea what it was going to be made of. I knew that ideally I wanted stone, but we played around with a few different concept ideas.
When we worked with on the patio project, and we were closer to having to have the wall in place, I started to do some research. I found the RumbleStone outdoor building blocks , by Pavestone, and thought that it was a great fit for the look that I was after. The great thing about the RumbleStone block, is that I would be able to build the seat wall to the shape of my design and have a matching fire pit to go with it. Here is the image that got me excited about the new wall and fire pit. IN LOVE!! Yep, it is true!
|This is what the seat wall would look like.||This is what the fire pit kit would look like.|
Now you know what it will look like, let me show you how I installed it. (which was actually one of the easier outdoor projects, it just took a little time!!
List of Materials
- (4) Pallets of RumbleStone Block – Sierra Blend Color – I used a total of five different block sizes and types. Three different rectangle sizes, squares, and trapizoids.
- (1) RumbleStone Fire Pit Kit – Sierra Blend Color
- (30′) of 3″ Drain Pipe – Drains water away from the wall at the base. This is typically a free standing block wall, but because it is a 19″ seat wall, and it will retain some soil pressure on the other side, I needed to keep the water from flowing through the wall into the pipe.
- (1) cubic yard of Gravel – For back filling over the top of the drain pipe.
- (15) Construction Adhesive – 30 oz. bottle the bonds the blocks together to prevent movement.
- Paver Saw – Rented from The Home Depot – $65 a day –This saw cuts 3 1/2″ thick block
- Large Caulking Gun – For the bigger construction adhesive bottles.
- Hand Broom – Sweeping off gravel after filling gaps.
- Floor Broom – Cleaning up the gravel.
- Wheelbarrow – Hauling the blocks to the site.
- Shovel – Moving the gravel
- Medal Straight Edge – marking lines for cutting blocks
- Wax Pencil – marking lines for cutting blocks
- Tape Measure – measuring the cuts
1. Wall installation
Before I started laying the block in place I connected the drain pipe and laid it next to the cut out soil edge. Then I started off with the base layer of trapezoids, squares and large rectangles.
Once I laid out the first layer and the wall shape looked good, I applied a good amount of construction adhesive and flipped it over in place. Smiley faces are not required, but were appreciated by my little girls. They thought it was hilarious and wanted to see other types of faces. This made the process a lot more entertaining and little less boring.
I made sure that the radius of the curves were as true as I could (using a central point and a string to curve it out perfectly). Now, one thing that I didn't mention yet was prepping the base that the wall blocks would sit on. When I poured the patio, I made sure that I added rebar to the concrete on the edges, to give it extra strength to hold the additional weight of the wall. I knew that some sort of wall was going to be there so I prepared ahead of time. The patio also gave me the perfect flat surface to glue the block wall to. You would have to the leveling prep a little different if you are just installing the wall by itself. Pavestone should have installation instructions, I would be sure to follow them step by step.
After the base course was glued down and cured for a couple of days. I worked on the next layer. This wall took me about three weeks to do by myself. I worked on it when I could about 2-4 hours at a time, for the most part. I was okay with that. It gave me time to get it done just the way I wanted it.
This is where the drain pipe starts at the house and works its way to the lawn. I have another project with rerouting all the sprinkler wires to the clock right here. that you can also see… The list never ends, in fact it just gets longer!
This is with the gravel back-filled over the pipe.
Because of the curved design, there were gaps left in the middle of the wall between the trapezoid pieces. Cassity had a great idea to fill in the holes with the gravel to help prevent spiders from moving in. The last thing she wanted was to sit on the nice new wall and have a spider crawl on her from so creepy crawly hole. I actually found three different Black Widows that had moved in just after a few days of building the wall. Thanks honey for the great idea to keep them out!
Here I had to make sure that both sides looked good, because of the sloped flower bed. I like how it turned out though, to see both sides of the wall.
I tried to keep the joints from lining up between each layer of block. This makes it stronger and look a lot better. I also tried not to create a repeated pattern, but to alternate how the little blocks were placed in each layer. At this point with five layers I was ready for the cap pieces.
2. Here is how I did the stairs.
The stairs were a little tricky. I decided to keep the drain pipe going under the first step. I had to make sure that the slope of the pipe would work and still drain water. Luckily it did and I was able to hide it under the second stair with no problem.
I cut back the soil where the stairs would go up, and took out a little extra for room to work. After that I poured in a 2″ layer of gravel for the base of the block to sit on. This way I was able to level it perfectly.
I decided to try and use our trusty little tile saw to cut the top of the stairs to the right shape. They are 1 1/2″ thick, twice as thick as my little saw could handle. In order to cut it all the way through, I had to flip it over and cut the other side. I had to cut the block without the guard and this is what happened. It sprayed all over me. Cassity thought that it looked SO funny and had to take a picture of it. It took me 4 hours to get the first step blocks cut to shape. That was way too long. And was just about the time the renting a REAL saw started to sound really good!
Here are some progress shots of the steps going in.
At this point I was able to cut the steps faster with the paver saw I rented. This is all cut and in place.
We added two raised corner platforms for interest. They also make the perfect place for a cute little potted plant!
3. The top cap
Now with the wall in place and at the right height, I was able to get started with the cap. We decided that this wall had to have a cap to cover up all the gravel holes and make a nice finished seat. We also decided to add a small 1″ lip to the cap for dimension. It worked out perfect to cut a long rectangle in half for the pattern to work. We didn't have a lot of extra waste because of that.
Because of the radial design, I had to cut each side of the block to make it a trapezoid. This took a lot of time, but it was well worth the final look. I also hammered the cut edge to look rough to match the other rough edges.
I rented the saw for the whole day. It took me the WHOLE day to cut all the cap pieces, from 8 am to 9 pm at night. I think I got my moneys worth. It even rained half the day but I still kept cutting.
Cassity thought that the fire pit should have a cap as well. THANKS HON!… sigh. But really, I thought that was another great idea from my fabulous wife! The kit has only three layers then the black black bowl and lid. We added an additional layer since we had some leftover stone, and it seemed like a safer height for toddlers. Then we did the top layer and a cap for the safety of the little people that love to walk by the fire.
Fire Pit Kit
With the fire pit I had to lay a little bit more concrete to complete the circle.
I added two pieces of rebar to the new patio to tie the new piece to it. This will keep them from settling apart from each other.
It was about 4 bags. A lot easier than the 200+ for the patio.
I smoothed it out and let it dry.
After about 3 days I was able to start staking the fire pit blocks together. All you need to do is alternate the pattern on each layer as you see here. Just keep the lines on every other layer lined up for a nice look.
Here is the final cap we added last minute. I am glad that I took the extra time to add it.
And the final reveal:
So what do you think of the DIY seat wall and fire pit kit? It is definitely the crown to the whole backyard project!! To see more of the final patio, you can go back to the fall color post.
* We worked in partnership with Pavestone on this project. All opinions are my own.