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How to Install a Natural Stone Patio with Fire Pit

Ask This Old House landscape designer Jenn Nawada installs a bluestone patio with a reclaimed granite fire pit

Steps for installing a patio with fire pit:

  1. Before digging, always call a utility locating service to locate underground pipes and wires.
  2. Excavate the area for the patio down to subsoil by hand or using an excavator.
  3. Rake out the subsoil to a smooth grade and then compact it with a gas plate compactor.
  4. Fill the area with a base material that’s a mixture of ¾” stone and stone dust about 3” at a time. Rake out the mixture smooth and then compact it with the gas plate compactor. Repeat until the base material is about 3” below finished grade.
  5. To cut the granite to length, drill a series of 3-4” deep holes on 3 sides of the stone. Insert feathers and wedges into every hole and then tap each one a little at a time with a mallet until the stone breaks.
  6. Use the excavator to move the four granite stones for the fire pit into position.
  7. Fill the center of the firepit about a third of the way with ¾” stone.
  8. Apply a layer of stone dust over the base material and compact it with the plate compactor.
  9. Lay the bluestone in place. To properly level the natural stone, use a mallet to hit down the high spots. If there are low spots or voids under the stone, add more stone dust to fill those areas.
  10. Once all the stones are installed and level, sweep stone dust into the joints. If the stones are dry, polymeric sand can also be used.

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