Our DIY outdoor kitchen build began with some ground excavation and measuring for slab height as compared to the existing concrete patio. This was very important as we planned to add brick pavers from the patio to the base of the outdoor kitchen and we wanted it to match up perfectly. Once we determined the proper slab height, we built our wood forms, tamped and prepared the ground, added our steel mesh, and got to pouring the concrete.
My father in law and I worked in tandem, with me mixing and pouring the concrete and him screeding the wet mix. Within 35 minutes, we had the concrete done and we waited for it to start setting up.
Two days later, we pulled the forms off and exposed a great looking L shaped slab that was waiting for some mortar and block. Once the block laying began, we worked for approximately 6 hours to complete the rough block build.
We mixed our N-type mortar in a mixing bin and got 15 blocks mortared in place with each 60-lb bag. This is how much you can generally get done if you don’t waste or lose too much mortar on the ground.
@Charbroil for Functionality
We dismantled a Char-Broil charcoal grill and built a base for the cooking system to sit on. The counter height was a standard 36″ and with a gorgeous flagstone, the raised bar and counter was finished. The outer edge of the flagstone was a very cool chisel cut for a rustic look.
Finish Work – Stucco and LEDs
I applied stucco to the sides of the structure and painted it to match our previously built outdoor fireplace. We ran some low voltage lighting cord and added great looking LED lights for additional ambiance. We hoped to keep the outdoor kitchen build to a minimum and we ended up spending right at $1,000 total on the structure. This cost included the material, lights, counter, and even the grill. Amazing what you can do when you have a plan to follow. A DIY outdoor kitchen can be in your future.
Let us know how we can help you with a DIY outdoor kitchen construction plan. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg so let us show you how to do it.
How Much $$$ Can Be Saved?
Backyard Renovation Pricing
Backyard Flare is dedicated to helping our customers. We want you to have as much information as possible before you step into a backyard addition. We want you to understand backyard renovation pricing. One question I get quite often from inquisitive DIYers is how much money can be saved by not using a contractor to build an outdoor fireplace. With this question, there is no “one” answer and the savings, albeit a guarantee, cannot be exactly quantified. There are costs that will be a surety, such as labor, but each contractor bills a little bit different. There is no exact savings amount, other than saying a lot, unless you have an itemized quote from a contractor that you then compare to what you will spend.
Now let’s break this down a step further. Most contractors do an excellent job and I believe you will get your fireplace built if you choose to go the route of a contractor to get it done. I can’t step on the back-breaking work that they perform day in and day out. It’s a tiring business for sure and they definitely deserve a pat on the back and some kudos.
Backyard Renovation Pricing
Having said that, you may be wondering about how contractors bill for jobs. If you have elicited the work of a contractor for anything in the past, you will notice that some will give you a written estimate and others will come over and throw a monetary figure at you after looking at the building area for a few minutes.
A written estimate is better for you, provided it is broken down into independent materials and labor costs. This will tell you roughly what they think the materials will cost with their slight mark up. Most contractors will make a few dollars on materials as well, with the understanding that they had to go load them, deliver them, and then unload them at your worksite. It’s a lot of work so it’s an okay upcharge, I guess.
Tactics and More Tactics
The contractors that throw out a price with no explanation of materials and labor make me smile. These contractors are betting that you will jump at the offer and that you won’t throw up any objection. Long and short, they don’t want you to know the breakdown of the profit they are making. It’s okay to haggle and negotiate too. Remember, this is your backyard, and they will be working for you. You dictate whether they leave each day with trash all over the place and you will be watching them while they finish the build.
These two quotation methods from contractors drastically differ but both are widely used. Some that don’t write the job estimate are good at what they do and will provide a breakdown if asked to. Just remember that you will probably be a bit shocked at how much contractors will charge for labor. It will make up the majority of the quote. It’s a good living for company owners, believe me on that one.
So What Do You Do?
So, you have an option. Either go with a contractor or elect to try to build the fireplace with your own two hands. This is where the music is queued, and we emerge at the top of a hill with a DIY construction plan. We swoop down to your backyard and hand it to you, and then we stand off to the side, waiting for questions while you build. The trailer for the movie seems so awesome, but deep down we know that the movie will probably never be made. I guess we’ll stick to creating the construction plans and to our design work.
We Think DIY is the Best Build Decision
Enough already… we have more explanation to get back to. When you build yourself, the labor that contractors charge won’t be an issue. There won’t be a subtraction from your bank account for labor as you’ll be the labor force behind the entire build. This shouldn’t scare you either. We have had a lot of customers who have done amazing at building their own fireplaces and they have never worked with mortar or block.
One such customer, Jason, sent us pictures of his DIY Pima II outdoor fireplace to share. After sharing them on our Instagram page, we asked him some pricing questions about his DIY build. Jason replied, “I got quotes for $7k-$9k to build this exact plan and I built it for $1,600-$1,800. Two easy weekends with my dad. It was super easy with your step by step guide. I’m a banker by trade so I’ve never done concrete block work ever.”
We’re so happy that Jason had a great experience and that’s an amazing savings of at least $5,200. That’s a lot of money still in Jason’s bank account and the best part is it sounds like he really had a good time with his dad while building the fireplace. Backyard renovation pricing wasn’t a big deal to Jason because he opted to save the money and pay sweat equity instead.
We’re Here to Help
Think about that when you contemplate your options. Building your own DIY outdoor fireplace doesn’t have to be stressful or worrisome. We have what you need to walk you through the process of a DIY outdoor fireplace. Visit us at www.backyardflare.com for great design ideas and information. We can help you with a great layout and will work with you personally to ensure you have the information you need to comfortably move forward in the DIY construction world. Build with one of our DIY construction plans and let us worry about the logistics of the design. You simply have fun and marvel at what your hard work. Thank you so much for reading and as always… happy building.
Welcome back my fellow DIY’ers and welcome to this edition of, “That Awesome DIY Fireplace” where we introduce a DIY homeowner, tell you what state they reside in, and show you how awesome they were at building their own outdoor fireplace. This one is awesome to say the least.
Who is Our Contestant?
Let’s go to the southeast, beautiful Georgia to be precise, to introduce homeowner John. John had a bare space out his backdoor that needed a little sprucing up. After checking out the construction plans at www.backyardflare.com, John decided to build the Pima II outdoor fireplace, and he purchased the plans.
John had to clear a grassy area to get ready for the footprint slab to be poured. Once he mapped out the positioning of the fireplace, John excavated the area and did his ground prep. John built a wooden frame and added gravel and steel beneath the concrete. After pouring the concrete, he removed the wood, and he had his footprint slab ready for some mortar and block to be stacked.
John spent the next few days building the cinder block structure, following the construction plans to a tee. John paid attention to detail with the mortar gaps and even though he hadn’t done much block work, he built beautifully.
When John was getting the cinder block structure finished he began thinking about his finish material. John added his firebrick to the inside of the firebox without mortar gaps between them. He took the recommendation of Backyard Flare and used high heat construction adhesive to adhere the firebrick to the firebox walls.
Finishing the DIY Fireplace
John picked out a great veneer with a dark tone. The chimney and hearth portions were covered first, with the keystone added just above the firebox, centered. The seating material was adhered to the top of the hearth with matching grout, before the center section of the fireplace was covered with veneer. The mantel was stuccoed for texture and the top of the chimney was adorned with a very cool cap stone.
Adding the Small Touches
Dark colored mulch was spread all the way around the fireplace and up to the edge of the very green grass. Two planters were added to the sides of the structure, which will probably have great looking flowers in them someday.
John bought a very decorative fire grate and added a few logs to it in anticipation of his first burn. Oh, and what a beautiful sight it was when John started his first blaze. He was so excited to share these pictures because he wanted to show off his DIY labor and show that it was possible to build it yourself.
Want to Build A Fireplace of Your Own?
We sure hope you like John’s fireplace and that it inspires you to think about one of these fireplaces in your backyard as well. It’s really not out of reach to achieve a stunning outdoor living space. John believes that if he can do it, anyone can do it. If you have the DIY mindset, we can help you achieve greatness. We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, realize their potential to build fireplaces just like John’s, so you can do it too. Visit Backyard Flare to learn more so you can begin your journey too.
Thanks so much for reading about another great DIY fireplace build. We’ll bring you more soon, and as always …happy building.
Let’s Take a Trip to Visit a Gorgeous Outdoor Gas Fireplace
Hello all you DIY’ers and welcome to this edition of, “That Awesome DIY Fireplace” where we introduce a DIY homeowner, tell you what state they reside in, and show you how awesome they were at building their own outdoor fireplace. We’re going to see a stunning outdoor gas fireplace in this article.
Introducing Our DIY Homeowner
We venture down the street and across the tracks from Backyard Flare headquarters to introduce homeowner Jim, who wanted a short in stature outdoor gas fireplace. Jim specifically wanted to burn natural gas. Jim was restricted to natural gas and a short finished height by his homeowner’s association due to his home’s location on the golf course. Jim’s backyard was on the 12th tee so there is quite a view.
Jim contacted Dan at Backyard Flare and explained his fireplace design and restrictions. No sweat at all for the Backyard Flare team. Dan did a couple site visits to Jim’s backyard and they came up with a plan of action. Dan was contracted to build the fireplace, but Jim was able to save a bit of money because he helped Dan through the process …and Jim learned a lot, very quickly. It’s always a blast when homeowners can help because they learn and have a great sense of accomplishment.
Getting the Area Prepped
After the fireplace location and width was determined, a diamond blade was used to cut through the existing flagstone patio. This area was excavated and framed for the concrete slab with rebar inside the pour. An inexpensive Harbor Freight cement mixer was used which made this job relatively quick for two people.
Once the concrete cured for a couple days, Dan and Jim started laying block in a running bond (staggered) pattern.
The firebox in the middle was sandwiched between two wood storage voids on either side. An electrical line was routed through the blocks to install a 110v outlet. This outlet was used to plug in a power transformer for the structure and backyard ground low voltage lighting.
Lot’s of Finishing Options Were Added
When the structure block work was completed, firebrick was added to the inside of the firebox.
The natural gas line was plumbed up the backside of the structure and a shutoff valve was added inline before it was installed into the back wall of the firebox. This gas line stubbed out a few inches inside the lower right corner of the firebox. Gas tubing was added to an H pipe and a few test burns were done before anything was solidified.
The wire for the structure lighting was routed to the front of the hearth and to the inside of the storage voids, figuring out where each light would be located. The front face of the structure was adorned with a beautiful stacked stone, which was mortared in place. The remainder of the structure was covered in a smooth coat troweled stucco, which was later painted.
Natural Stone Added So Much
The horizontal surfaces were covered in a gorgeous light tan flagstone which Dan and Jim cut with a chisel method for a rougher edge. This was a bit time consuming and much slower than a saw cut front edge, but completely worth it in the end.
With the leftover flagstone, Jim extended the flagstone patio to the far-right side of the structure and filled the joints with matching mortar. After it was pressure washed, you can’t even tell where the old flagstone patio and the new came together. Totally amazing.
A vertical piece of flagstone was added to the front of the firebox after it was chiseled to resemble a mountain range in Jim’s home state of Colorado. This piece of stone helped contain the local river rock that was added to the top of the H pipe. This rock completely hid the pipe, making it look as if the flames “originated” from the rocks.
Tying the Structure to the House Decor
For continuity in the backyard, the fireplace stucco was painted to match the house. New outdoor furniture was added to the patio and many nights have been spent eating, drinking, partying, and relaxing in the backyard. So many golfers stopped to see the fireplace and to offer kind words, complementing Jim on his design.
With the ambiance of the lighting in the voids and quick start of the natural gas in the firebox, Jim and his wife have been able to say, “hey want to have a fire?”, and enjoy it in a matter of seconds. Easy on and easy off is what Jim wanted and it turned out great.
You Ready to Build One?
We sure hope you like it too, so let us know how this DIY fireplace inspired you? Are you ready to build your masterpiece like Jim did? Even though this outdoor gas fireplace included natural gas, low voltage lighting, and chiseled flagstone, it can all be done by you too. If you have the DIY mindset, we can help you achieve greatness. We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, realize their potential to build fireplaces just like Jim’s. You can do it too. Visit Backyard Flare for more information and DIY construction plans.
Thanks so much for reading about another great DIY outdoor gas fireplace build. We’ll bring you more soon, and as always …happy building.
Hello all you DIY’ers and welcome to this edition of, “That Awesome DIY Fireplace” where we introduce a DIY homeowner, tell you what state they reside in, and show you how awesome they were at building their own outdoor fireplace.
Who is Our DIY Builder?
We venture to Illinois to introduce homeowner Mario, who decided to build the Douglas Mini design. Mario reached out to Backyard Flare and ordered his DIY construction plan.
Mario’s backyard has a great looking grassy area with a brick patio. The corner of the patio needed a new addition though, so an outdoor fireplace was the obvious choice. Mario started building his fireplace as per the construction plan and got to the top of the firebox lintel.
Mario elected to make some modifications to the chimney portion of the build to give the top an angled look.
To achieve these angles, Mario used metal stud for the framework, using small self-tapping screws to tie the metal sections together. It’s very important to make sure the angles are the same on each side.
Finishing the Fireplace
Mario finished his fireplace with a beautiful stone veneer and natural stone horizontal surfaces. The firebox was finished in a red firebrick, providing a cool look. Mario bought a metal fire grate and it looks like a perfectly cut piece of aspen pine is laying there ready for a good burn.
The brick patio was laid back down to the front of the hearth, giving it an almost seamless look. If you look closely, the angles of the chimney match the door on the shed behind it. I really think Mario did this on purpose to tie the backyard together. It really works, and we love it.
Are You Ready to Build? Now is a Great Time
How has this DIY fireplace inspired you? Are you ready to build your masterpiece like Mario did? Backyard Flare can help you with any worries or concerns of the masonry word, and even with design help. We have assisted hundreds of homeowners who are weekend DIY’ers, and we can help you realize your potential to build a fireplace just like Mario’s. You can do it too.
Check back on our blog page periodically and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for additional photographs and information. We love to share great pictures and we really enjoy bragging about our customers, so we hope to hear from you.
Thanks so much for reading about another great DIY fireplace build. We’ll bring you more soon, and as always …happy building.
Let’s talk about two beautiful DIY fireplaces built by the same people, years apart, in two different states. These fireplaces transformed their backyards into such welcoming areas. But first, let’s meet our player
s. Husband and wife team, Marko and Kelly, were customers of Backyard Flare years ago and they built a stunning DIY outdoor fireplace and pizza oven combo when they lived in sunny Florida. They used a Backyard Flare construction plan and the backyard was positively changed forever. The structure drew lots of accolades from Backyard Flare followers and it was definitely a beautiful, one of a kind, fireplace. It’s easy to see why so many people were raving about it. It was so different than most.
I have seen lots of pizza ovens and most are earth tone colors. Marko and Kelly decided that a bold and deep reddish color would look great on their oven instead of keeping it like everyone else’s ovens. I have to say, I was impressed with the color choice. It worked so well with the surrounding area and it brought a pop of color not seen anywhere else in their yard. Coupled with the dark tones of the accent tile and the light color stucco, it was a hit. I’m sure it made a huge impact in the sale of their home, bringing in more money on the sale, than they would have had with a plain Jane backyard.
And then They Moved
Now fast forward a few years, with Marko and Kelly relocated to the great state of Utah. They bought a new home and needed to bring the backyard up to a standard they were used to. The new fireplace structure, although smaller than the Florida fireplace, is no less impressive.
The fireplace sports a square topped firebox and an equally wide firewood storage void under the hearth. Natural stone is on the horizontal surfaces, including the top of the fireplace. Keeping with the earth tone feel, Marko and Kelly added a wood mantel and a beautiful faux stone veneer.
It’s not just the fireplace that brings the total feel to the backyard. The natural flagstone table in front of the fireplace draws the earth tones to the patio. A huge pergola with a large outdoor table is the perfect place to have an outdoor dinner or just a place to sit and really relax. The white picket fence in the background with the bold green grass, adds contrast to the whole picture. The large boulder wall behind the fireplace and the slight hill with natural vegetation adds to the rustic look as compared to the veneer on the fireplace. The bold color on the pots to the sides of the fireplace make the structure appear to be wider than it is.
This is such a beautiful fireplace and I am sure this backyard will create lots of great memories. Great job Marko and Kelly. We are sure you will continue to enjoy your backyard paradise and we hope you will continue to share your fireplace with us.
Kudos Go Out
Special thanks to Marko and Kelly for sharing these great photos with us and allowing us to share them with the world. Also, thank you to all our faithful readers out there and to those who just found us. We can help you with your outdoor fireplace dream. Visit our website at www.backyardflare.com for some great inspiration and fireplace ideas.
Check us Out on Social Media
Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of cool info and fun pics and video. Thanks for reading and as I always say…happy building.
Is there a day that goes by where you don’t contemplate the perfect S’more or the ingredients that it takes to construct one? I don’t think so, as these quandaries are what keep lots of people up at night. I often lie there for hours at a time, beads of sweat collecting on my forehead, while I count marshmallows and small squares of chocolate. Did I break the graham cracker perfectly, so the two sides are equal? Is the marshmallow gooey enough? The perfect S’more…oh my…so much to consider.
Funny to think about, and “no” I really don’t drive myself into crazed sleeplessness over something as simple as a S’more. Having said that, I thought this would be an amusing blog post to write about how to build the perfect S’more and to get some feedback on what constitutes your perfect S’more.
So Many Questions
What is the perfect roast level of the marshmallow? How much chocolate is necessary for these tasty and crunchy dessert sandwiches? These seem like crazy questions and an over analyzation of a simple sweet snack, but really think about what you do when you build the perfect S’more. You make a lot of micro decisions when you are in the S’more frame of mind.
You will usually impale a helpless marshmallow on a skewer or metal stick and hold it over the open flame without mercy. The question lies; however, do you hold it just outside the flame or catch it on fire? Do you require a golden brown slow roast, or do you prefer the stick mounted flaming marshmallow ball like a torch used by Indiana Jones? How long do you let the marshmallow burn before you blow out the flame? Is there a point when too much burn is too much, and intending to start over, you resort to flinging the sticky mess off the stick for the dog to devour?
Do you prepare your graham cracker and chocolate before the marshmallow torture or do you yell at others in panic to get your cracker and chocolate ready? If you’re like most, you do the latter. You were so focused on the marshmallow torture and open flame that you “tunnel-visioned” yourself out of paying attention to the chocolatey crunchy portions of the sweet treat. Remember that your failure to prepare the cracker and chocolate should not constitute an emergency on the part of your family and friends.
S’more (Some More) Questions
Do you forget and leave the graham crackers open, so the dog gets into them, “Pavlov Dog Style”? Do you viciously eat a good portion of the chocolate beforehand, and then realize that there may not be enough to go around? Are you the one that puts the hot and sticky marshmallow skewer down on the chair in haste not realizing that it will glue itself to the seat cushion?
With so many things to consider, should we as humans even be stepping into the tough decisions necessary to build the perfect S’more? Is it better done as a team event? This blog post has not done anything except make me hungry for a S’more and nervously anxious at the thought of building one. I hope the next time you decide to make the perfect S’mores that you talk it over first with your guests. Think about logistics and have a game plan before indulging in such glorious delicacies.
Or just have fun. S’mores are a great way to share memories with family and friends. Leave a comment and let us know some of your S’more memories or thoughts. We’d love to hear them.
Build Your Own Marshmallow Fireplace
Please visit www.backyardflare.com if you are interested in a DIY fireplace or outdoor kitchen construction plan. They are perfect places to build a fire necessary for your marshmallow torture. Thanks for reading, and as always…happy building.
Oh my gosh, I am excited about this DIY summer. So many people are diving into great DIY outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen projects. We have received countless emails and calls about custom fireplaces and are really pumped to see these structures built. There are so many great ideas and backyard spaces that are begging for a stunning outdoor fireplace. Do you have one of those spaces? If you said yes, we want to hear from you too.
The best part about a late spring and summer build is that you can take your time on the construction. By doing most of the building during the hotter parts of the spring and summer, there won’t be any rush to complete the structure. Your construction can be solely a few hours each weekend or sporadic hours throughout the week. Those cooler days will arrive and when they do, the fireplace will be ready to go.
I was at a graduation party a couple days ago and it just so happened to be at a friend’s house where I built Backyard Flare’s second ever fireplace. This structure is absolutely huge. I remember building this structure in the heat of the Arizona summer, under the beating rays of the sun. Plenty of water was consumed and I think we are still paying off the credit card bill from our purchase of sunscreen. We killed a saw while cutting block and even drew a little bit of blood during the build. Those things at the time were a nuisance, but now I look back on them and smile, remembering all the fun we actually had during construction.
Reminiscing an old DIY Summer
During the graduation party, I ventured out into the backyard and walked around the fireplace to reminisce. It was built on an old basketball court after the homeowner’s kids grew up and moved out. I wanted to stoke up a fire, but because the temperature was still in the 90s, I decided that that wasn’t necessary. I took a few pics to show my wife that the fireplace still looked great after more than ten years.
What I’m getting at is that a well built outdoor fireplace or kitchen becomes backyard furniture in a sense. A decade later, a fireplace will still be there, begging to be used.
Let us know how we can help if you are interested in stepping into a fantastic DIY build. Visit us at www.backyardflare.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Dan at 520-269-9740. We would love the opportunity to help you design a beautiful fireplace or kitchen. Take care and as always…happy building!
I have been traveling quite a bit lately. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to have gone to some really neat locations. Just a few visited in the past few months are Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Winterpark, Colorado, El Paso, Texas, and the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. When I go to a new place, I love the opportunity to walk around and explore the old and new.
One thing that seems timeless is the fireplace built in an old house lot. They still stand, absent the house or an old cabin. I love walking around these towns and noticing great outdoor fireplaces built in new areas, at shopping malls, at apartment complexes, and even outdoor patios of fancy bars and restaurants.
The old vintage stone fireplaces through their cracks and stains can sometimes tell a silent story, letting your mind wander at how much they have seen and been witness to over the passing years. Who graced the hearth and seating around these graceful structures? What conversations and decisions took place in front of the fire?
Imagine the fireplaces in the homes and parks of West Virginia that kept home owners and those fighting in the civil war warm. They used them every day during the harsh winters. Imagine the fireplaces in the Grand Canyon lodges that kept tourists warm during the 1930s when the park was really becoming a destination. Now those are old fireplaces with stories too abundant for us to even imagine.
How About the New?
But let’s think about how we can create our own memories and stories around an outdoor fireplace. When you spot an outdoor fireplace at an outdoor shopping center, stop and check it out. Sit on the hearth and if it is providing heat, enjoy it for a few minutes. Relax and even grab a drink if you have time. Become the history that can be told by that fireplace 100 years from now.
Pay attention to where you are and if you see an old or even a new fireplace that needs to be in a photograph, take a pic and send it to us at, email@example.com. Let us know where and how you found it.
Oh my…the Christmas season is in full swing and decorations are being added to everything indoors. Why not add some spice to the outdoors too? Add some small things or even some big things to your fireplace and make it spectacular. Some people add great decor to their structures and turn them into a “Christmas Fireplace”. We have seen some spectacular outdoor fireplaces this 2017 Christmas season that we just have to share.
Does it get much better than a decorated outdoor structure with signs of noel and joy? I don’t think so. Check out the mantel covered in red berries and a green pine wreath above it. With the vases full of flowers, this fireplace makes me want a warm glass of cider or some hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
It doesn’t take much to turn an already gorgeous outdoor fireplace into a seasonal masterpiece. Another wreath makes this fireplace step right into the Christmas season and the lighting overhead adds a lot too. By adding reds and greens, as well as lighting and images of Christmas, you will turn a nice space into an even more welcoming space.
What are some of your holiday decorating ideas? Write a comment and let us know and even share a picture of how you designed. Thanks and we hope you have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Care to add a DIY fireplace to your backyard? Visit us at www.backyardflare.com for great information and ideas for your next project.