(BPT) - The coronavirus continues to keep people at a distance, which is why many are turning to outdoor entertaining as a safer option to get together. Being outside lets people enjoy food and each other’s company, all while maintaining a social distance. That’s why homeowners are feeling the inspiration to update their outdoor living spaces.
Adding a fire feature or an outdoor kitchen are two ways to transform your backyard into a prime gathering place for friends and family. An outdoor fireplace adds a focal point to the yard, while also making it possible for the get-togethers to continue well into autumn. A permanent grill station elevates the ordinary cookout into a special occasion and will bring your kitchen to the great outdoors on hot days.
However, starting these projects can seem beyond the reach of most homeowners. As a DIY project, stone-built projects are complex and daunting for beginners. And hiring a contractor to do it for you can quickly become too expensive, due to the skill required to design and custom-cut the stones.
That’s where Stonegate No-Cut Designs emerge as a solution. Keystone Hardscape has adapted its popular Stonegate retaining wall system to create kits that make it easier for homeowners to build the attractive and durable outdoor living spaces of their dreams.
- They come with course-by-course instructions that make installation easy, fast and efficient. Even if you’re a novice, putting it together is an achievable weekend project.
- If you opt to hire a contractor, Stonegate’s system streamlines your project and keeps it within budget.
- Stonegate offers the elegant, weathered beauty of stone, and comes in colors that are relevant to your region, offering an authentic and lasting addition to your yard.
- Outdoor features like these are a great way to expand living space, which adds value to your home. Home sellers recoup about 71% of the outdoor kitchen costs, and 67% of the cost of the fire feature, according to the National Association of Realtors' most recent analysis.
What you need to build your backyard retreat
- Step 1: Choose the design that’s right for your scheme. For the fireplace, you can opt for a two-sided access to liven up the party, or a one-sided design. The grill station can be a simple straight rectangular grilling space that holds the grill and offers an outdoor counter space to place your ingredients and tools. Or, make it L-shaped, with or without seating, for ease of preparation and serving.
- Step 2: Choose the accessories, which are sold separately, for your project. Access doors for your propane tank, the grill inserts and fireplace burner are all things you’ll need to bring your creation to life.
- Step 3: Build a foundation for your outdoor structure. These features make a great addition to any patio. Before you get started, the fireplace and the grill station would need, at minimum, six inches of crushed stone or a reinforced concrete leveling pad. Visit www.QUIKRETE.com for more information and to watch an instructional video.
- Step 4: Create a durable surface for the fireplace hearth and top, along with the grill station countertops. The good news is you can achieve the look of granite or marble at a fraction of the cost by using QUIKRETE Countertop Mix. Visit QUIKRETE.com to see the full instructions along with a how-to video.
- Step 5: Assemble, install and enjoy. Once you have completed the above steps, full assembly of your fire place or grill station will take two people about an hour. (Longer if you opt for an L-shaped grill station.) To view the plans and watch instructional videos, look for Stonegate No-Cut designs at KeystoneHardscapes.com.