Tue, 03 Jan 2012 by Allen, Kristi
It is the beginning of winter and I am already dreaming of warm summer days. You can plan now for a fun summer project that can improve the value of your new home in Utah by adding more entertaining space in your backyard. The project took my husband and I one long weekend plus a few evenings. The cost is relatively minimal if you take the time to find a good deal on flagstone. We got ours on ksl.com for a fraction of the price that it would have cost us at a stone distributor.
- Firepit Kit from Lehi Block Company- This includes the stones for the firepit and also the metal ring. You can choose one with or without grates for barbecuing. www.lehiblock.com We used Lehi Block Company because it is near our new home in Lehi, UT. There are other distributors that may be nearer your own home.
- Flagstone or pavers for the patio area- We used about a 1-1/2 tons of 2" thick flagstone to cover our 10X12 area.
- Concrete sand- We used about 3/4 of a cubic yard. You can purchase this by the bag at Home Depot/Lowes etc. or get it loose from Lehi Block or similar companies.
- 2X4 for leveling sand
- Wheelbarrow for hauling dirt in and out
- Rubber Mallet
- Masonry Adhesive (We used Liquid Nails brand from Home Depot)
Check with your city and neighborhood regulations to be sure firepits are allowed. Many cities have requirements that dictate how far your firepit must be from your home or other buildings.
Clear the area where you will build your firepit and patio. Then dig the entire area down at least 3-4". You will need to dig deeper if your flagstone is very thick or if you are using thick pavers for the patio surrounding the firepit.
Use your firepit ring to determine exactly where the firepit will be located. Be sure to allow space for people to sit and gather around the fire without sitting too close to the flames. Fill the area in and around the ring with 1-2" of concrete sand. Use the 2X4 to compact, smooth and level the sand.
Place the first stone against the ring and use a rubber mallet to pound the stone tightly into the sand. Make sure the stone is level in every direction. You will probably have to add or remove little bits of sand. It helps to wet the sand slightly with a watering can or hose. -You can see my husband's cute pink watering can in the background of this picture. :)
Continue setting stones around the firepit to create the first layer of stone. Make sure each stone is level to the next and not tilted in any direction. Spending extra time on this first row of stones will ensure that the next layers go smoothly. It took us about 3 hours just to create this first layer of stone, but the next 3 layers took only 20 minutes total.
Once your first layer of stone is complete you can remove the fire ring and continue adding layers of stone until your firepit is the desired height. Make sure to offset the stones so that the seems do not line up. Use masonry adhesive to bond the top 3 layers to each other. Adhesive is not necessary on the lower levels as the weight of the stones will hold everything in place. Check to make sure each layer is level as you continue.
When all layers are complete, reinsert the metal fire ring and fill your firepit with sand and/or gravel to 1-2" above the bottom of the ring.
If you will be laying flagstone, first spread out and level more concrete sand. Next lay out your flagstone in the pattern you would like. Take the time to arrange the stones tightly, like a puzzle. Set each stone using a rubber mallet and level, adding or removing sand as needed. When all stones are set, fill the gaps with more sand or use fill dirt if you will be planting moss in the cracks of the patio. Click here for more detailed instructions on building a flagstone patio from American Stone.