As we wait patiently for our permit approvals with Phase One and Phase Two, Kevin and I decided to tackle some smaller projects around the yard. We have beautiful views of the sea and marsh, so it’s important for us to design outdoor entertaining areas to take in these views.
We also have an endless amount of wants and needs when it comes to our lifestyle. Working together as a team is critical when it comes to planning. The large expansive deck plans for Phase Two are on hold until we have the house built. So with idle time on our hands, we are focused on the old boathouse and the dirty ponds on the property. The boathouse renovation has to wait until we have the new bulkhead completed.
We have two ponds on the property and I am so happy we do not need permits for this area of work! There is a small pond on top of the hill and a very large pond built into the lower portion of the hill.
The lower pond is being demolished and will accommodate a large fire pit area with ample room for seating. We will add flagstone for a patio base to blend in with the original retaining walls and other stonework surrounding the new fire pit. My vision is to create a design which will preserve the characteristics of the existing property. A historic “old” new patio, a gathering place that will look like it was built 50 years ago:)
I am so excited to dig in (pardon my pun) and create a beautiful and unique entertaining area for family and friends. I can envision us seated by the fire in late fall when the leaves are turning a fabulous hue of oranges and reds while enjoying the views with a glass of wine and maybe a smore or two.
The ponds are both deep and need to be filled in with soil. We also need to add a good layer of sand in the perimeter of the lower pond to accommodate flagstone. We have a gravel base which has been here for many years, so the ground is really solid to add the sand and then the stone. Some like to use granite instead of sand, we have always used sand. It comes down to what works for you:) Back to the hill…there is no way I am wheelbarrowing sand and soil up and down our steep hill LOL Even though this is a “DIY” project, sometimes outside help is required and this is exactly what I plan to run by Kevin:) I have a limit when it comes to DIY projects and this is one of them! Kevin and I decided to hire our landscape gardeners to bring in the sand and soil and also do the labor work of wheelbarrowing and filling:) I also decided to order and arrange the planting for one tree on the far side of the new firepit. Our views along the bay are beautiful during the fall season and I wanted a tree which would turn a gorgeous fall color, so I chose the Autumn Red Maple:) The trees are extremely hardy for NJ climate and easy to maintain and not fussy when pruning is required.
We let the sand settle as we collected flagstone around the property. There is so much stone located on our 1/2 acre, it is wonderful to be able to use what’s available here and save on costs. This is why they call it “DIY” right? So with our heavy duty garden cart, we went scavenger hunting and picked flagstone. The most important part of laying flagstone to use for a patio, is to find the largest diameter and smoothest rock so your chairs can sit solid without risking uneven texture which can create wobbly patio furniture! Can you imagine drinking wine on a wobbly chair? LOL We definitely need a ton of flagstone for our firepit patio. It takes a village, or at least husband and wife team to create and put together a huge puzzle of flagstone:) Kevin and I laid the groundwork until we have enough stone to start the process of laying them close together in a puzzle formation.
The flagstone has been laid together and the fire pit is snug as a bug with large boulders creating an old world charm. The fire pit is 18 inches in depth so you can add large logs, creating a good fire and see the flames from where you are seated. The next step is to level and tamp to secure the flagstone in the sand. From this point we will add polymeric sand between the stone to create stability and secure the stones so they do not shift and move. I am incredibly proud of how this project is turning out!
So here we are at the end of the fall season with winter on the horizon. We did a great job with creating a new fire pit and patio area just like we had envisioned a few months ago. The time, labor and delays were all worth it and we had the opportunity to sit by our first fire just before Halloween. We decided on 4 Adirondack chairs with a extra large 6 foot weathered dock post, the large post was left for us after the new bulkhead was completed. The old dock post gives us extra seating and brings a balance of rustic seaside charm to the patio. The project and design seems like it has always been there and blends so well with our other landscaping features. There is a few more details i would like to add to the patio area such as landscape lighting, a few outdoor side tables and stone planters to help pull everything together. This will be done in summer of 2023. Now if you will excuse me…I will be heading to the kitchen to make a batch of mulled wine:)