The dreams we have for our back yard are not big. they are not huge. they are EPIC. The dreams we have for our back yard are on a different level. They are borderline obscene. We want a do-it-all, have-it-all kinda yard. We want a yard that makes us never want to leave.
A few of you who have been around for a long time know that we like our house features, we like our space inside, and we like our neighborhood….but the real hearthrob of this property is the lot. It is what sold us this house. It is what we fell in love with. It is our dream. It is exactly where we want our family to grow.
Our lot has a big back yard that is relatively flat (a rare find in Atlanta suburbs) with a large private grassy area and wooded area behind that and has a creek in the back. It has the space we would need for a future pool and a spot for gardens and a chicken coop and a tennis court that was perfect for hosting my sister’s outdoor wedding. It is everything that we ever dreamed about. The only thing that we would ever consider leaving for would be lake front property….which is not really affordable in our state that only boasts man-made lakes. So this is literally the best thing we could get without playing Powerball or robbing a local branch of Wells Fargo.
One of the big things we want in our yard is a fire pit. Jeremy’s dad has one (you can see it here) and it is such a fun gathering place. So we decided last year that it would be time for us to jump on the fire-pit-bandwagon. But with any backyard project, especially ones with semi-permanent fixtures like a built in fire pit, we knew that a fair amount of planning would benefit us.
The best location in our yard was the space between the retaining wall and the deck/patio. This is also the septic tank field so we would never be able to put a pool or deck over this area…just in case the tank ever needed a future pumping.
Our fire pit wouldn’t be huge…a family size pit if you will…..and Jer’s dad gave us a large fire ring. It’s roughly about the size of one of the large fire bowls you buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s…the ones you put on a patio for roasting marshmallows. And Jeremy also got a grate in case we wanted to host a future weenie-roast with boy scouts. That sounds weird.
We had a grand time digging out the location and installing it…
Yes, I was eleven days overdue with Weston when I was digging. It did not induce labor…to much dismay.
Just to spoil the surprise, our end result is this beauty:
But this post isn’t about the fire pit-how-to….this is about how we planned for a fire pit.
Seeing as how a fire-pit usually will contain, well, FIRE…it’s important that your pit is far enough away from your house that you have clearance for the heat. You never ever want it to be in a covered area either….unless you want said covered area materials to be kindling. A lot of areas will not even allow fire pits – especially neighborhoods with covenants or regulations, so make sure you double check your codes. Also, different counties and districts have rules about how close your fire pit can be to your house.
In the area of safety first, we read that most pits should be at least 10 feet away from combustible materials…and we decided ten feet would be really too close to our house for comfort. So we chose that roughly 20 feet would be a better fit. Not only would it be farther from the house but it would still be close enough to use our 25 hose to wet things down. So in order to get our perfect layout, I sketched up our backyard area…
Then I took it to our home copier/printer/scanner and ran off several copies. This gives me some options for drawing up ideas. Remember when I said that I like to show Jeremy pictures when trying to convince him of a project? Well, when there are no pictures to show, I make my own 🙂 Here are the three options I drew:
All three options had similar functions…block the A/C unit from open view, allow a walkway to the patio and to the basement workroom doors, and give us a more plants and greenery to cover up some of that crazy retaining wall.
I think planning out plants, locations and future structures (all three options above have a wall of sorts that we would build) with a layout is one of the easiest ways to know exactly your cost, your plan of attack and your timeline.
And it keeps the boyfriend happy…
So how do you plan for outdoor projects? Do you sketch up your plan or just wing it? Or maybe you like to go to the plant nursery first and then plan around the plants you like? Or perhaps you are the live and learn type with char marks on your house? Not that we ever had that happen to us…
p.s. I’m in the running for Circle of Mom’s Top home design moms! AHH! If you are bored and have nothing better to do right now, I’d basically love you forever for voting for me! Click here (and thanks and smooches.)
p.p.s. More importantly than any little contest…we are sending love and prayers to the folks in Boston…including the first responders, volunteers, residents of Boston and those injured or loved ones of someone hurt or killed. What a tragedy. I have only heard that they are asking for any photos or videos from those there yesterday…anyone else know how folks can help?! Put it in the comments 🙂