Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fire, Fire: Part 2

Yesterday I mentioned the giant brown spot in the lawn being no more.  'Tis gone.  Forever.  (Until The Dog moves to a new area)

Remember my first Fire, Fire post?  It was basically me whining about not having a big enough yard for a designated fire pit area.  It also included photos of ridiculously beautiful yards with gorgeous fire pits.

Well guess what?  I, Mindy, am now the proud owner of a fire pit.  Uh huh.  And I'm pretty darned excited about it.

I've been contemplating taking out a small area of the minute amount of lawn we have left for months.  I finally just went for it.

This is how I did it:

First, I layed out the hose as a guide, to get an idea of where I wanted to start digging.
Then I used white flour to draw my line.

Then I took my trusty garden butcher knife and cut along the line.

Next was the fun part.  
I recommend hiring/begging/forcing someone else to do this part for you.
I've removed every inch of sod in this yard, but most of it was done in my late 20's and I wasn't knocked-up.
Removing sod with a shovel is hard work and it sucks.

Here it is half done.
I took this picture after having a mini stroke and needing to take a break.

Here it is with all the sod out.  
I did a little happy dance.  
Okay, I didn't, but I did smile really big.

The kids drug their chairs over.
Clearly watching their mother sweat made them think they needed to relax.

Next, I needed to dig a small trench for the bender board.
After all that digging, I was seriously dreading it.
I went to put the kids down for a nap first.
When I came back out, The Dad had it dug for me.

We used some plastic edging that we already had.  

Once that was in, I needed to dig a hole for the pit.
We had one of those metal fire bowls, so I used the insert from that.
I positioned it where I wanted it, drew a line in the dirt around it and started digging.
Once the hole was deep enough, I put the bowl in it.

We had some buckets of sand from leveling out our patio this spring, so I spread some of that around to level things out.
 Then it was time for pea gravel.
Pavers would have been super fantastic, but pea gravel is cheap.
The Dad took 10 of our buckets and filled them for $1 a piece.

That's as far as we got yesterday.
This morning, we headed to Home Depot to pick out something to go around the edge of the pit.
After going back and forth, we picked one we both liked, that also happened to be the cheapest.
They're pavers and they were $.78 cents each.  
We needed 24 to go three rows high.

Here's the best part of the day...I headed off with The Kid to get some paint samples while The Dad and The Girl paid.  
When I got to the car, he told me they were offering $25 dollars off if you opened a new Home Depot card.
Shut the front door!
We already have one, but apparently you can open five accounts????
(That could get a person in trouble)
Anyway, our pavers came to $37.44 and then they took the $25 off of that.
That's $12 bucks and some change folks.
Plus, he didn't even have to use the card to pay for them!
He just payed cash.
Insanity I tell ya.

So here's our new $12 pavers.

We put some more sand down around the perimeter of the bowl and started laying them out.

Second level.

The third and final row.

Here's the big reveal.
Drum roll please........

I love, love, love it.  
We had our coffee out there this morning and tonight we'll have our first fire.

Here's a cost breakdown:

Labor:  Free (tell that to my back and thighs)
Sand:  Free
Bender Board:  Free
Fire bowl insert:  Free
Pea Gravel:  $10
Pavers:  $12.44
Grand Total:  $22.44

And here's the reason I started digging in the first place.

How can you not love that face?

Please see my sidebar for the parties I link up to.


  1. What a cute face!

    Your yard is so pretty! Good job on the fire pit that whole area looks so nice and I'm sure you're enjoying it. Removing sod is THE worst job isn't it! It's so hard - really back breaking work. But it was all worth it because you have such a great area to enjoy now!

  2. Now your baby will love gardening too, lol! I absolutely love this. I really want a fire pit but we're kind of clumsy people so I'm not sure it's a good idea. I guess I'll just keep looking at yours and enjoying from afar. :)

  3. Love it! We have a fire pit and our fire bug girls really love it. Of course, with the high 90's and triple digits it doesn't get much use in the summer, but fall, winter and spring it is the site of many a marshmallow and hot dogs on a stick roast. Even at 14 and 18 the two youngest love building a fire and just watching things burn (when they were little they liked burning holes in black construction paper on the driveway with magnifying glasses).

  4. OK, now I'm even more envious of your backyard.
    It's gorgeous! Great job on the arbor and the fire pit. Enjoy!

  5. This.Is.Awesome! We have a big "natural" area (natural b/c it's full of weeds). I would so love to do something like this. I can't believe this cost you less than $25! Amazing!

  6. oh Mindy! I am so happy that you got your fire area! It looks so wonderful! Removing that grass is such a crappy job and you can't even enjoy it in the hot sun with an ice cold beer, but I think that a few hot dogs, and smores will do the trick! What a great deal that you got on your pavers! I've never seen them that cheap!

    Ps i love that bench... and your dog....and the beer.... you're yard is so nice!

  7. Pss. I'm also impressed that you did this all in one day!

  8. Thanks everybody!
    @Amy: The only reason it was done so fast is because I'm the most impatient person in the world. I can't stand having something torn up. I want the "pretty" immediately. :o)

  9. Hi - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Firepits and I love yours!

    Thanks for showing your step by step process - that was a major project (tell you back and knees and I said hello and happy recovery!)

    I live in South Florida, but we still do firepits in our backyard in the winter -more and more we have cold spells that make it a delight to sit out back with the firepit and cocoa.

    AM Your NEWEST Follower, too! Love your blog!

    Happy Monday! (visiting from the hop)
    beachside cottage

  10. PS-Yes, I love your doggie - I'm a big dog/animal lover!
    beachside cottage

  11. HOLY SMOKES woman, BRAVO!!! That is awesome!! I'm in total awe right now! I didn't think your yard could get any prettier but apparently I was wrong. It looks so great!

  12. Hi Mindy,

    Great job on your fire pit area! That is very funny I did my fire pit area and posted at the same time! Thanks for posting a comment and yours really came out great. I love that stone bench. I still have some work to do and 'green up' the area. Cute puppy too!


  13. Really nice work. What's really impressive (besides your beautiful back yard) is that you did it on a shoestring, did it yourselves, and did it in a day!

    That's the kind of project we all love. Hope you're getting to enjoy it now. I know I would.

  14. Mindy, I LOVE your post, your garden, your yard, your fire pit! We have similar tastes. I'm going to check out more of your posts. Have you had a hot dog roast yet? Nancy

  15. Thanks Nancy! We have NOT done hot dogs yet, but it's most definitely on the list! We did have s'mores last night after the kids went to bed. Shh, don't tell. :o)

  16. WOW! Awesome! I want one please! This is wonderful, thanks for sharing! :)

  17. I've been wanting a fire pit forever but had no idea where to start. Super excited to get started on one.

  18. Love It! Just what i've been dreaming of for my patio and the price is sooo right. I may have to steal your idea. Thanks.

  19. Steal away!!! I'm sooo glad I finally went for it. We're using that part of the yard so much more now. I'm still completely smitten with it. :o)

  20. Great job!! Love it!
    Thank you so much for linking this up to {nifty thrifty sunday} last week!! I would love it if you joined me again tomorrow! :)

  21. What a fun spot for a fire place! You have an amazing back yard! Great work :) I'm a new follower. I found your blog through the Vintage Revival link party :)

  22. Wow! I am so impressed with the fire pit. I have always wanted one and was sure that I could do it myself. You just showed us how to do it, too! Your yard is lovely. We're stewing in our own juices here in, hot, hot. It was great to see your flowers.

  23. Looks great! The hubby & I have DIY firepit our on list of things to do. I really like your bench too! Where did you find that? Again great job!

  24. My mom made me the bench out of a slab of glulam. :o)

  25. J.E.A.L.O.U.S. On so many levels...

  26. Wow!!! OK, I know how hard it is to dig out grass -- possibly the worst job ever. You are a rock star. This is so fun and it turned out great -- I'm pinning!! ;)

  27. Looks great! My husband and I built one in our yard and we LOVE it. We have gotten so much use out of it!
    I'm your newest follower!

  28. I love your fire pit. You make it look pretty easy. Good job.

  29. Oh congratulations, Mindy, now owner of a fire pit. :-) Did you do it all by yourself? The result is just amazing! Your garden looked more magical with that fire pit there. I totally get why you exhaust yourself in building fire pit just to see your dog smile. It’s totally worth it. :-D

    Nohemi Tutterrow

  30. I have been wanting to put a fire pit in our garden, because they're fantastic for entertaining, but I was feeling a bit intimidated. Thank you for the inspiration. A fire pit is back on my to do list.

  31. Amazing fire pit! I like it.Very significant article for us ,I think the presentation of this article is actually superb one.
    patio, gazebo

  32. Your yard is so awesome, especially the joyous bursts of color all around the fire pit. I can't help but smile (as you probably do) with each thought of the wonderfully magnetic oasis you've created. Let the memory-making times roll.


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