Design Ideas

Travertine Retaining Wall and Fire Pit

If you're looking to embark on an outdoor home improvement project in order to add elegance to your home and better enjoy your outdoor living, adding a retaining wall and fire pit is a wonderful idea. Retaining walls made from natural stones such as travertine pavers make an attractive option that will wow your friends while still being affordable. Fire pits can also offer endless hours of entertainment, enabling you to share quality time with those you love – maybe even while cooking up a few hot dogs or s'mores to go around.

If you're handy and a little bit ambitious, this is a DIY travertine installation that you may want to consider taking on yourself. DIY home improvement projects can save you a considerable amount of time and money, and will leave you with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Just make sure you are comfortable working with paving tools and mortar!

How to plan your retaining wall and fire pit
Before starting any outdoor home renovation, make sure you know exactly where your property line ends, and consider how your installation might affect those living around you. Will the retaining wall sit adjacent a neighbor's property? If so, it may be a good idea to go over your plans in detail with your neighbor so you don't encounter any unexpected conflicts down the line.

Once you're sure where your property lines are, plan your DIY travertine installation accordingly. Use stakes and string or colored tape to plan your layout so you can get a feeling for the size and scope of the project. This will also help you more accurately order your building materials.

Finally, check with town hall as to whether you'll be needing a permit in order to start your renovation. Some towns and cities require permission before building an outdoor structure.

What supplies you'll need before beginning
Before ordering your travertine pavers, consider which color of materials would look best in your living space. While some homeowners prefer a single type of stone, others may like a variation that separates the wall and the pit distinctly and better enhances their space. Travertine pavers blend naturally, so no matter which colors or patterns you choose, the end result will always be beautiful. When ordering sizes, bear in mind that 16×24 or 24×24 are most popular for retaining walls.

You'll also need to order a bonding agent (mortar) and ensure you have the right tools to complete the job. You can use a traditional mortar agent for this task. You'll need a flat shovel to create clean edges, a tamper to pack down your soil, sand to create a solid foundation and serve as a buffer for the pavers, and a trowel to help you apply and smooth the mortar. You may also want to use a rubber mallet or sledgehammer to set the tiles after the installation is complete.

Which installation method is best?
Those completing renovations in colder Northern climates will want to use the mud-set method, which will help protect pavers from the winter freeze-and-thaw cycle. The mud-set method, when done correctly, can help provide a sturdy and insulating foundation that reduces the chances of stone fracturing, breakage or erosion.

Those installing patios, fire pits and retaining walls in warmer climates may use the dry-set application method.

If you're unsure which method may work best in your area, talk to the friendly professionals at Travertine Mart. these experts can help you choose the best materials and determine the best procedures for DIY travertine installation in your area.

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