Excavating was tougher then I thought it was going to be. First off, there was a huge stump I had to dig up. After I got it up, I struggled with the roots. I got it mostly level--I'll let the sand do the rest of the leveling.
So here goes. I decided to expand the fireplace. I'm going to do it in three phases. Phase one: Excavate. In order to do that, I need to grind down the stump of the tree I cut down which is right in front of the fireplace. There's a bunch of ways to get a sump out. There's the expensive way (yeah right) and the poorman's way. I need to dig down roughly 4 inches. I don't see a reason to up root the entire stump, so I'll just take a chainsaw to it and "dig" down a bit. Phase two: Lay the brick. I was cruising craigslist yesterday and ran into an guy giving away "200+" brick. I showed up at the guys house and started loading them. I ended up loading around 1,000 bricks in two trips.
Phase three: Benches. Right now I use five tree trunk rounds to sit on when we're having a fire...lame. I'm going to build two, maybe three benches out of cob. Something sort of like this. Cob is the ultimate in freebie structure building. All you need is sand, clay, water, and straw. The sand and clay come from the dirt in the ground, water from my rain barrel, and straw from the feed store around the corner. ALL FREE.
I started working on the bbq at like 10am this morning and finished around 7:30 pm. I did take a lunch break and a couple beer breaks :)
Final total is spent is $264.94; however, with the trailer selling for $240, I only spent $26.94. Pretty good if you ask me :)
The only thing I would like to do is to add a little shelf on the left side of the bbq so I can have some room to grill. This will definitely be done later though (unless I randomly find more bricks). I have around 40 bricks left over, but I'm gonna need like 50 more to make the shelf.
I decided not to take a week off and we're going camping in the morning, so I figured now was the best time to finish. Since one of the brick loads I scored where coved in mortar, I ended up with a giant pile of mortar dust. In the spirit of recycling, I used that as the foundation. I also got some hardibacker from some lady on CL and I put that over the mortar dust. Then I build another wooden guide to help me stay lined up.
The second stage of this fireplace build is to add a BBQ to the side....well, I got one on CL today (for free). The plan is to dismantle the legs and the racks, leaving only the BBQ with the lid and the controls. Then I'll brick up in a "U" pattern and then I'll attach the BBQ--leaving a space at the bottom for the propane tank, or I'll turn it into a charcoal, or I'll look for a 55 gallon drum and make one. Not sure yet.