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Thread: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Seeing as people had some very nice compliments on the picture of our patio I had posted my pre-planning thread in the Construction forum for phase II of our backyard oasis (finally a pool!!), I figured I would go ahead and post the whole patio build here.

    Link to pool pre-planning thread in Construction forum:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-Concept-Phase

    The concept for this project was to turn what was a useless West facing, hot and miserable in the summer and cold and wet in the winter small patio pad into something a little more.... nice. We spent a couple of months simply pondering what we wanted. Well, mostly I pondered and showed my wife and she smiled and patted me on the head.

    #1, We wanted shaded space. So this meant roof. Lots and lots of roof.
    #2, I wanted lots of cooking options (I am the cook in the family. Both inside and out.). If we were going to do this, we were going to do it right.
    #3, I wanted a koi pond. I've wanted one for a LONG time, and this seemed like a good opportunity to get one put in.
    #4, We wanted a very nice and relaxing space that we could entertain in.

    Beyond that, things just slowly fell into place as I made revision after revision after revision in Visio trying to get things just right so we could go to an architect/builder and have a very clear understanding of what we wanted to accomplish. And so we did.

    Total new concrete poured was approx 1100' sq. Just under 200' of that was for a 3/4 bath and storage room. The 3/4 bath so we had a shower when we finally got a pool.

    The outdoor space (about 900' sq added to the existing pad space of around 200' sq) included:

    A lounge area with 10' fire trough under a mechanized top pergola. The pergola blades will rotate to either open when you want to let in more light or close when it is raining or too sunny.
    The koi pond. 8' x 8' and 6' deep. Approx 3000 gallons
    A wet bar with an ice storage bin and fridge
    A kitchen counter with sink and storage
    A large dining area
    An Argentine style wood grill
    A wood fired pizza oven
    A standard gas grill
    A 300k BTU gas jet boiler
    An electric smoker

    We wanted an open feeling yet protected space. I think we got it just about right. After interviewing 5 contractors and presenting them a list of questions like they had never seen before, we finally made our selection in June of 2012 and broke ground in August of 2012. All said and done, the whole thing took about a year to complete and be done with the fixes to a few snafus.

    Please be patient with me as this will take a day or two to get everything posted.

    So with out further ado, I present the build:

    August 2012. We break ground. That is all greenbelt at the end that feeds into a park and eventually a very large lake.





    The koi pond is dug. They did this all by hand. It took up to 6 guys at one point a total of 3 days. The finished pond is 8' x 8' x 6' deep. I would guess the hole ended up to be about 10' x 10' and 3.5' deep. The final pond is raised 2' above grade so you can sit on the edge.





    The bottom drains and lines are placed. 4" sched 40 lines. The bottom drains are aerated. You can pump very fine air bubbles up through an integrated membrane that sits on the top of them. This adds oxygen to the water and REALLY helps pull in the fish poop to the drain so the floor stays perfectly clean.





    The dual bottom drains joined to one main line.





    Moisture barrier and and perimeter concrete forms added.





    Final placement of bottom drains. There was a critical mistake made here. It caused a few months of grief. This is what happens when you do something that 99.9% of builders have never done before. I had actually tried to get this subbed out to a pool builder, but none were interested. I should have tried harder.... The trench and basin the bottom drains are sitting in were not deep enough. That combined with duct tape and baling wire wrapped around the drain housings compromised the seal and we had ground water leakage into the pond. It was originally designed as a drop in EPDM liner pond, but due to more mistakes, was changed to spray-in polyurea (truck bed liner), which in the end turned out to be the best thing possibe (at least so far).





    Rebar forming station with some cages built up. These all went into the foundation footers and around the pond.





    That's all for now.
    plat.
    Last edited by platipus; 03-04-2015 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Added link to pre-planning thread in Construction

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    And so the re-bar went in, and the perimeter and pond wall forms.


















    Once that was prepped, it was finally time for concrete!!! It had been 3 months since we signed a contract this was the first time it actually felt like REAL progress.





    The pond walls were the one piece that made me nervous.





    After that, the rest went QUICK.





    The pond forms looked like they were doing their job.





    A couple days later and voila, we had a patio!!!

    Last edited by platipus; 03-05-2015 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    With the concrete in, it was time to move on to the primary construction phase.


    I had to share this photo though. It almost looks like a sad little face. Who knew this was foreshadowing of the total pain that this would be with the ground water leakage issues. You can see the duct tape and plastic on the bottom drains that would be the bane of my existence later on for almost 3 months as I tried to mitigate the leaks.





    Framing begins!!! This is what will become the 3/4 bath and storage room.





    The old balcony/patio cover is removed





    Framing for the back feature wall that will be behind the koi pond.





    The big support beams go in.





    More Bathroom/Storage room framing.





    And the first construction rain to help slow things down (and fill the pond prematurely).... No harm done. In fact it probably helped with additional curing. This made me really want to add fish....





    The roof framing gets started.





    The door to nowhere. It was fun to open up and look out.





    Sheathing goes in.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Just a note to keep an eye on those drain fittings you used on the suction lines. They are not schedule 40 and thus do not have as much mating surface and are more likely to leak. Certainly should not use them on the pressure side.
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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    The koi pond is a gravity fed filtration system. Those drains flow to a 300 micron mesh screen sieve in an open "box" sitting below grade that has a self leveling weir and from there to a pump that runs a pond bead filter and the return lines. There is no significant pressure or suction per se.

    The drains are ABS. Transition cement was used to make that connection (and only that connection) to the 4" sched 40 lines.


    Thanks for the feedback!!
    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    At his point, we were making good progress almost every day. The framing guys really tore through it.

    New sub-panel added to the storage room to feed everything and electrical was roughed in.





    Roof opening for the chimney of the Argentine grill and pizza oven.





    Some serious support steel was put in the one corner. This corner of the patio is a literal fortress. It's sitting on top of 2' of concrete extra wide footer that was poured there to anchor everything in and support the weight of the pizza oven, Argentine grill and associated masonry work.








    Plumbing rough in. This is the sink area and wall mounted faucet for the 3/4 bath.






    Gas main tapped to feed the beast. Gas BBQ, Argentine grill fire starter, jet pot boiler and the fire trough.







    Gas lines run for the gas BBQ and pot boiler jet.




    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    With framing mostly done, the masons could get back in. The 2' raised walls of the koi pond were laid.





    One of the return lines.





    Exterior brick getting laid. There was SOOOOOOOO much brick. We opted to stay with the style of the house which completely brick except for some dormers. This took a long time to complete. It was one guy with a helper. We were not real happy with our GC for subbing this out like that.





    Tongue and groove pine floor planking was used for the ceiling.





    Base of the pizza oven





    The 3/4 bath progressing with a shower pan now and a small niche for whatnot.







    Sheetrock in the bathroom





    Pizza oven getting ready for it's cement base to be poured









    A secret message for some future generation to find and ponder.





    I think that's it for today.
    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Looks awesome. Where in Houston are you?
    ~Paul
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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Thanks. I'm in Kingwood.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    So now we are in early November of 2012. It's been about 10 weeks since breaking ground. Good progress had been made up to this point, but the constant mess and hassle of construction going on was wearing on me to be honest. The closer we got to completion, the slower things seemed to go.


    Ceiling up and stain on.





    Most exterior brick up and the finished pizza oven base.





    3/4 bath mostly completed, just pending tile, fixtures and finish work.





    Custom floating bench and counter in the bathroom.





    The view from one of the "windows" out to the green belt side of the house.





    Stainless doors on and plumbing in for the wet bar.





    Stainless doors on for the main kitchen counter area





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    The pizza oven build we had subbed out to a mason that we found through a friend who knew someone who had actually done one of these before.


    It arrived in one big crate. Very exciting indeed.





    Insulated base in place.





    Oven assembled and clay deck installed.





    The oven is a modular oven from Forno Bravo. You can see the placement numbers painted in red. The final #5 piece drops right on top. The hole on top towards the front is for the chimney vent.





    On top of the oven goes an insulating blanket. Then it's covered in wire mesh and finally a stucco coat is applied.





    Lastly the vent pipe is installed. You are pretty much done at this point. Everything else is just finishing work.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    The Argentine grill took a bit longer. It was all hand built by the main mason.

    Side walls up.





    Firebrick in back.





    Top deck in place with holes for chimney flues. The left side is the main grilling area. The right side is where you burn your logs to get coals. This way (with left and right chambers) you don't get the bad smoke and fire from fresh burning logs under your meat.





    Mostly built out at this point.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Next came the brick work for the pizza oven exterior.





    The pizza oven is in the corner, but I had it designed to look like it was a full circular or tubular build.





    I have to give credit to the masons here. This, to me, was art in practice as they got the tube built and the front arch for the opening. Looking at this, it was almost good enough to leave as-is with red brick. It just didn't match the color scheme we had though so it would eventually be covered. I laugh a bit too because this was throw-away brick they picked up to do this.









    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    A quick step back in time by a week or two. I found this panorama photo. The image the forum is showing does not do it justice (it's shrinking it from the PhotoBucket page for some reason). View the image (how ever your specific browser lets you do that) and let it zoom to 100%


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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    The original plan was for a drop in EPDM liner to be used in the pond. This is the felt liner that went in under it.





    The stacked stone feature wall behind the pond gets some progress.





    The columns get their stone veneer.





    Floor tile gets started.





    The fire trough structural masonry gets started.





    Stain on the pine T&G ceiling.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Part of a pizza oven build includes a curing fire. This is a 7 day process where you gradually raise the oven temp up to it's hottest level which is about 900(f), and one heck of a raging fire. You shoot to only raise up about 125(f) per day. So small fires gradually getting larger each day. This was actually done before the exterior brick went up around the oven, so we're stepping back in time again.









    Templating for the granite countertops.





    The EPDM liner in, filled with water and testing the LED sheer descent. A very nice shade of Cabernet, don't you agree?





    We are still a few months away from total completion, but most of the patio is useable at this point. The very first "test pizza" just going in.







    Annnnnnd I tear it. &%#&% !!!!!!!





    It was still the most delicious pizza I've ever had though (LOL)





    The second pizza was a little more respectable!








    Granite countertops on the wetbar.





    Almost completed (except for the pond). Gas grill ready to go in.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    The day had finally arrived for landscaping to go in. This was February of 2013. Six months from ground breaking.


    The rear facing "window" gets some screening.

    Two large Queen Palms.





    And a Pindo Palm to finish it out. The fronds all of the palms come in through the window opening which is great. It really helps get that feeling of merged indoor/outdoor space.





    Some Giant Bird of Paradise and a Loquat.





    Crinum Lillies, and Olive tree and Verbinum way in the back (they are tiny in the photo). The Verbinum is a great screening plant. Broad leaves, VERY cold hardy for Houston's occasional freezes and it grows up quick. They are about 12' tall today and completely block the view to the neighbors behind that corner of the yard.





    The herb garden finally back. It was original to the remodel.





    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    March, 2013.

    Everything was done at this point except for the pond. When the countertop crew laid the capstone around the pond, they ended up cutting into the liner and ruining it. It had to be scrapped. The problem was that the capstone was very fragile and already mortared into place. It would have been on them regardless, but I had an idea that could be a win/win.

    I had originally wanted to go with a polyurea spray in liner anyway, but the pricing I was seeing was very expensive. The liner was $900. Polyurea was pricing out to be around $3k. I called around and found a vendor/manufacturer that would do it on the side for about $600. It was a steal. Almost too good to be true. It wasn't though. Two years in and I am VERY happy this happened this way. The spray in lining is a much cleaner look.

    This is also where some additional woes came into play. Remember way back in the beginning I mentioned that the bottom drains had an issue because I thought they probably didn't get fully encased in cement and also were wrapped in duct tape and plastic? Well, when we cut the liner out, the pond had an inch of ground water in it that had built up behind the liner. This would have eventually run up the interior sides and kept the exterior stonework wet and probably caused a mildew issue.

    I had some work to do. Lots and lots of loud and dusty hand grinding work. It took 5 months from March before it would be done. Much of this was research and a bit of procrastination. In reality, I probably spent about 80 hours fixing this. It's too long and drawn out to fully detail, but I will say this. If you have water leakage issues or concerns with any cement project, look into Xypex. The stuff is a miracle.

    August, 2013.

    The polyurea sprayliner goes in. It took longer to prep than it did for the guy to complete the job. Literally 30 minutes at most.





    Here he is flashing the ABS drains to get better adhesion.





    November, 2013.

    The first two koi arrive. We drove to Louisiana to Purdin Fish Farms north of Baton Rouge to purchase them. The pond as a reminder is 8' x 8' x 6'





    A small toast to Christen them.





    And I am proud to present to you, Burt & Ernie. They are both about 22" long.




    plat.

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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    And to wrap the thread up, just some pictures of the final project.






























    Pond filter pad.





    Garlic & Rosemary Flatbreads.





    The fire trough.





    View from the house to the pizza oven. Easy to keep an eye on things.









    A Low Country Boil getting started.





    And the result.





    Three more additions to the pond.





    Burt & Ernie again up top. New adds Grover and P. Diddy below them and Mike the Tiger (not in frame).





    Dove pizza (from a hunt) with pineapple, jalapeno and spicy/sweet sauce.





    BBQ Oysters (a la Dragos in New Orleans)

    Cleaned.




    Shucked.





    On the fire.





    And on the plate.





    Woodfired Lobster. Cooked to perfection in about 2 minutes.





    Fin.



    Thank you for watching.
    plat.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Patio, Koi Pond & Outdoor Kitchen Build in Houston

    Wow, that is some amazing work on that pizza oven. True art. Good stuff! Love the koi pond pics! Very nice fish. The pool is going to make that the best backyard ever!
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