Unique masonry ideas for your home

A fireplace can add value to outdoor living, as it can benefit homeowners on warm and chilly nights. | Photo courtesy of Kevin Stehr

A fireplace can add value to outdoor living, as it can benefit homeowners on warm and chilly nights. | Photo courtesy of Kevin Stehr

Homeowners can encourage outdoor living in their backyard spaces by adding unique outdoor masonry touches.

A masonry contractor can help update any outdoor area. Consider adding one of these areas to your home to maximize your outdoor living space:

Outdoor fireplace
An outdoor fireplace should face the home so that a lit fire can be seen from any window that looks out over the backyard. The materials used in construction are cement for the foundation, cinder blocks for the construction and mortar to lay the block. A stone veneer is placed over the block with mortar to give the finished appearance. Usually a stone slab is placed on the top of the fireplace to complete the construction.

Pool waterfall
An artificial waterfall gives the pool the look of an oasis, and the sound of running water is refreshing and calming to tired nerves as well as minds and bodies. The waterfall is made from a cinder block base around a water pump on a cement foundation. The water pump recycles water from the pool. Mortar binds the blocks and the rock veneer to the cinder block base. Then, natural or cultured stone provides a natural appearance and makes the space inviting and sumptuous.

Retaining wall
Retaining walls can give a yard more space. A slope can be dug out and the remaining cliff can be reinforced by the wall. Some builders prefer to use cement in the trench at the bottom of the wall for added strength. The gravel is poured into the hollow space in hollow blocks after each layer is laid for further wall stability. Solid blocks do not need gravel. Dirt from the bank behind the wall is packed tightly against the wall as it's constructed. Layers continue until the desired height is reached.

Stone columns can be placed around a patio to further define the space. They can also be used for part of a backyard fence. They can stand at intervals around a swimming or garden area for trellises or pavilions. Materials needed for stone columns are rebar, cement, brick or block for the structure of the column and mortar. Stone veneer can line the outside of the columns. Holes are dug for footings. Rebar and cement is laid for the foundation footings. Every stage is carefully measured and straightened with a leveler and a plumb line so that the columns are straight.

People can create the backyard garden, kitchen, and pool area of their dreams. Adding some structures like a fireplace or waterfall make the outdoors so much more inviting for quiet afternoons reading and daydreaming, as well as summer days and evenings with friends and family.

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