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Building a outdoor living area and kitchen

 
pioneer
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I am working on building a outdoor living area on the south side of my house. This will be a place to cook and grow plants. Right now there is a wooden deck that is going to be replaced will a ground level patio. I am thinking about using pervious Concrete block as the flooring. I am thinking that I could make these blocks but if anyone has a better idea, my ears are open. Has anyone used pervious concrete? The place I live has a lot of rock. You cannot dig a hole in this town without hitting rock! I am thinking that this rock would be used to make the beds for the plants and cooking area.  
 
steward
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What is the rock like? Is it bedrock, broken up rock? Depending on what the rock is like, maybe the rocks could be part of the flooring???
 
pollinator
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Round here, outdoor kitchens generally exist on the east or north of the house as it is miserably hot on the south/west in summer, when the most use is made of them.. is this an issue in your area?
 
T Blankinship
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Dave Burton wrote:What is the rock like? Is it bedrock, broken up rock? Depending on what the rock is like, maybe the rocks could be part of the flooring???



It can vary from very big pieces like the size of a car to as small as your hand. I could use rock as a floor but it would take a lot of work to make it easy to walk on.

Dillon Nichols wrote:Round here, outdoor kitchens generally exist on the east or north of the house as it is miserably hot on the south/west in summer, when the most use is made of them.. is this an issue in your area?



The south side has a lot of shade from trees and my home has a lot of shade trees around. It is not to miserable in the summer to sit outside my house.
 
T Blankinship
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I was on Youtube the other day and found this video. I will try and make some next week.
 
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Is pervious pavement  suitable for use in places that get freezing weather?
Seems like it would be prone to being destroyed via the freeze thaw cycle.
 
T Blankinship
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William Bronson wrote:Is pervious pavement  suitable for use in places that get freezing weather?
Seems like it would be prone to being destroyed via the freeze thaw cycle.



I do not know. I plan to test the pervious Concrete by freezing it in a chest freezer with water and without water. I will post what takes place.
 
T Blankinship
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It works. Weather was in the high 80 Fahrenheit with a Relative Humidity of 60% to 40%. I used 3 liter of pea gravel, 1 liter concrete mix and 250 ml of water. After mixing the pea gravel and concrete mix, I add the water. Then I add about 200 ml more water. I tested the concrete using a weak tea and some of the leafs fell on to the concrete. This week I will test the concrete by freezing it with and without water. I have a chest freezer at 25 F, after a night in the freezer I will then set it outside in the morning. The weather this week will be in the high 90s to the low 100s F with a heat index of 103-108 F. I will post what happens.
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Pervious Concrete
Pervious Concrete
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Things used to make the pervious concrete
Things used to make the pervious concrete
 
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Crushed rock with a top coating of quarter inch minus roadbed , can make a pervious paving without the need for cement. Use of this would eliminate any problems with winter damage. Very little maintenance is required, if it's done right in the first place.

When using pervious paving it's important to have chair and table legs that spread the load and that aren't so skinny that they end up loosening individual pebbles.
 
T Blankinship
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Crushed rock with a top coating of quarter inch minus roadbed , can make a pervious paving without the need for cement. Use of this would eliminate any problems with winter damage. Very little maintenance is required, if it's done right in the first place.

When using pervious paving it's important to have chair and table legs that spread the load and that aren't so skinny that they end up loosening individual pebbles.



Could you please explain in detail how to do this. How does one prevent the rock from sinking into the ground over time?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Where I live, that's not a problem. I've never put gravel on heavy clay or on a boggy type of soil, where the gravel could sink. Most of Vancouver Island is a low grade of gravel and we call it soil. If sinking is an issue, a solid slab makes a lot of sense.
 
T Blankinship
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Update:

After putting the blocks though a three day freeze and thaw cycle. One without water (top left) and one with water (top right) no major changes. Both are in good shape. The bottom one is a different story. I asked a friend to run over the control block. Which was sitting in my car for about two weeks. He used a John Deere skid steer and the test was done on concrete floor, it did not last two seconds. But this is not a failure. I wanted to see what would happen under very heavy weight. Now I know what could happen when the block fails.
There is still a lot to do before I start making these. Like the outline of the space and removing the structure that is there now. I am planning the space in a 3D program and will post an image when ready.
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testing previous concrete
 
T Blankinship
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After some work I got the lay out done. I used a 3D program called Blender to help me. The top of this picture is north and bottom south. Left is west and right is east. The yellow across the top is the south wall of my house. My plan is to plant herbs so when one is cooking fresh herbs are close. The bottom right is a combination rocket stove and oven. I need to find plans for this so if anyone has ideas or a place to find plans please let me know. On the upper left is a compost/ worm bed. I have not made up my mind what to do with this. I still need to think about. This is a start and I hope the weather will be nice in a few weeks. So I can began to build.
kitlayout.jpg
outdoor kitchen design
 
pollinator
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I like outdoor kitchens and living areas. Definitely worth the effort, especially if they are somewhat protected and include a seating area and are close on the indoor kitchen with easy pathways between. That way it's easy to use both at once in most weather and storage, water, counters etc don't all need to be duplicated because it's just a couple steps from one space to the other.

I think Dale has a very good point, though, about a surface hard enough to withstand common furniture usage. There can be a _lot_ of force and wear associated with occupied chairs getting pushed around, tilted back on the hind legs, etc. Another consideration for the surface will be cleaning it. For spills, but mostly considering debris like leaves, needles, bugs, sand, etc. A smooth floor that will sweep clean w/out disturbing the surface would be the best. Drainage may not matter much, even if the area is not protected, provided it is not too large. Draining away from the building, all water simply flowing over the edge of (whatever) surface, can be handled by a simple french drain, maybe associated with a hugel for some close plantings. A relatively impervious surface would also reduce water in the soil below and thus reduce plant growth coming up through the floor which would not be needed or desired in this area.

Another point to consider is the wall of the building  at grade getting rained on will receive a lot of splash water - 16" up the wall in my experience just with common top soil. Any kind of roof overhang will move the splash line further away from the wall and will help. If there is a weather cover over most of the area (to enable use during wet weather) then both splashing and perviousness of the surface is much less an issue; some accommodation for the water can be made around the edges or the "roof".


Regards,
Rufus
 
T Blankinship
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Today I was cleaning up around the deck and thinking about the next steps. I looked under the deck and saw that I have a sidewalk going from the south steps of the deck to the house. I am now thinking about using brick as the base. Then using the pervious Concrete blocks like one would use drainage grates. I have watch water pool on my drive way both during and after a good rain. My concern is water backing up in the living area and not draining away.
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[Thumbnail for DSC_0059.JPG]
deck
 
T Blankinship
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Update

A few months back I removed the deck. I saved the wood and found out that there is a sidewalk under the deck. I am thinking that this spring I will use brick and pervious concrete together for my cooking/living area. My idea is the brick will look good and add strength to the area. The pervious concrete will help with water draining into the soil.  To date I have not found any rock that is usable. So I will start to look for bricks. I am also trying to find good plans on a rocket stove and oven. Anyone had experience building build a rocket stove and/or oven from plans?
 
pollinator
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Not sure whether to start a new thread or add to this - separate as appropriate. We're looking for input on an outdoor kitchen space, which is the part of a bigger project that I'm floundering on a bit.

We're hoping to re-build this shelter that my dad put up in 1970.




For the shelter, we're replacing the roof, adding screening, adding a "room" for a compost toilet (bucket and sawdust). That's all pretty straightforward, though not a small job. The north-ish side will be where the cooking happens. Thanks to my architect big brother, I have a couple purty drawings.



upload image

We hope to dig a well, again if we can swing it. Right now the water comes from a spring down the hill, so not a easy source though an awesome workout. We think the well will be just north of the shelter, slightly downhill where we now have a jury rigged wash station.
 
T Blankinship
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Erica Colmenares wrote:Not sure whether to start a new thread or add to this - separate as appropriate.



I am OK with it because I am waiting on the weather. Also if you have a spring that is up hill from the shelter one could have a small tank next to the spring. If done right one could have good water pressure.

Update

I tried to dug a little in the patio area and talk about tree roots. There were lots of them. I was listening to Paul Wheaton's pod cast on "Just Enough Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan.  There was talk about an earthen floor but I will need to get more information. As with any project plants change. With the Coronavirus happening right now work will be slow on this project. Right now I am reading up on rocket stoves and have found about 120 bricks. I have started a garden bed with a few things but I am waiting on the weather to warm up to plant more in the bed.
 
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I would love to make an outdoors kitchen here in middle Tennessee, but it rains quite a bit in the spring and fall. We have such high humidity ALL year long! I would really love to make a clay oven- is that even possible to do that here or am I just dreaming?  Any tips or advice would be most welcome & appreciated!
 
Erica Colmenares
pollinator
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Crystal Lowery wrote:I would love to make an outdoors kitchen here in middle Tennessee, but it rains quite a bit in the spring and fall. We have such high humidity ALL year long! I would really love to make a clay oven- is that even possible to do that here or am I just dreaming?  Any tips or advice would be most welcome & appreciated!



That is a good question. We're hoping to get advice from Andy Sahn (Earthen Home Natural Building) who lives in Ashland City. We're building in Dickson Cty.
 
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