Outdoor Fire Pit and Patio

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping

Design Considerations and Details

The actual patio and fire pit are fairly straight forward and do not typically require any special considerations other than a good sub-base (clean draining gravel). However, when the project starts becoming an outdoor living space there are some additional considerations that need to be planned out. Some of the details that I recommend be considered are:

  • Electrical Power & Lighting – When you look at magazines and beautiful backyard living spaces you’ll notice that a majority of them include accent lighting and power for accessories like fans, radios, and even refrigeration units. Planning for power in the early stages will pay significant dividends in both your wallet and stress levels!
Electrical conduit installed in column for outdoor lighting.

Electrical conduit installed in column for outdoor lighting.

  • Foundations – If you plan on incorporating structures like the pavilion we’re going to build foundations to support them must be considered in the early planning. We installed four pre-cast concrete piers under our patio that will eventually support the pavilion. If those were installed later, the entire patio would need to be moved at a substantial cost.
Precast Concrete Piers To Support Future Pavilion

Precast Concrete Piers To Support Future Pavilion

  • Custom Layout? – This is a rather big issue and one that factored into this project. Drawing a design on a piece of paper is one thing, building it without turning things into a complete custom fabrication is another thing entirely. Once we chose a material supplier for this project the landscaper ordered materials and things seem to be off to a fast start. He and I both quickly realized that the blocks we chose for the walls were not easy to form the radius of the wall that I had designed. If we had chosen a product, and matched up a standard radius for those blocks, the project would have been much quicker. The lesson here is to work very closely with the landscaper to choose materials that produce the project you want, without turning into an expensive custom application.
Complicated Wall Layout with Landscaping Blocks

Complicated Wall Layout with Landscaping Blocks

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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