November 2021

DIY Fire Pit and Patio

Over the past 15 years, Bob and Vickie Kronengold have transformed their once-barren back yard into a series of revelations. Join us as Bob walks us through their most recent endeavor, as well as a few of their earlier projects. (Photos by Renee Sauer and Bob Kronengold)

Bob tells us: I visited Courtney at Stone Garden and learned about the best materials to use for my new patio and fire pit. Then I came up with the design and sketched it out. Prepping the area was tough. I had to use an axe to cut up all the tree roots.

The patio was designed around an existing arbor. After looking at different fire pits online, watching a lot of YouTube videos, and bouncing a number of ideas off of Courtney, I knew exactly what I needed to accomplish. I’ve always loved a challenging project.

Billie, our beloved German shepherd, spent many hours supervising my progress.

The piggy-back forklift truck delivered my stone and base material on the same trip. Thanks to the handy Supersacks* there was no mess left on my driveway.

Roping out the area gave me a good visual guide. Once everything was level, it was ready for the flagstone. The metal insert fit securely into the fire bricks.

I have never seen flagstone so beautiful. Just like fine wood, it is art in and of itself. I love it’s rich, reddish-orange color. Piecing it all together was a time-consuming, but crucial, step.

For the fire pit itself, I did at least a hundred cuts. Once I switched to a power saw rather than a cordless circular saw and developed a good technique, it was much easier. I really like the way it turned out.

I’m a perfectionist and have been known to tear down projects after 2-3 years if I’m not happy, but I am very proud of this project and feel it will last.

Vickie, Billie, and I are very pleased with the finished project. We often do oyster roasts or make s’mores with the grandkids – they love a fire. We even enjoy our morning coffee here. I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Everything was well thought out. The design is simple and fits perfectly into the landscape.Peaceful Pathways

Other projects that Bob and Vickie completed prior to the fire pit include a series of pathways leading to unexpected places.

NC Chocolate Gray flagstone pathway leading to the pool.

In the muddy side yard we used river rocks to create a pathway outlined in stone and built an Asian arbor to welcome guests into the backyard.

Curved Southern Bench nestles aside a TN Crab Orchard pathway.

We like to create resting spots within the landscape.

Many years ago we used stacked stone to create this raised garden bed and added a disappearing fountain.

3/4″ River Jax (center) with Cane Creek (left) and NC Midnight Blue wallstone (right).

It amazes me what you can do with river rocks as there are so many different sizes and colors. They are super versatile and practical, and look good, too. We have used them around the patio, on pathways and in edging our gardens.

4-10″ River Jax

These small boulders create a tidy garden border.

Congratulations to Bob and Vickie, winners of our $50 DIY award.