How to Create a Chessboard Patio
This attractive patio adds a modern look to the landscape and doubles as a game board.
Use a fiber-reinforced concrete shell for your base. Fiber-reinforced concrete is light but very strong and will make your finished bar/grill unit sturdy. When you’ve decided on the location where the bar/grill unit will be built, move the shell into place. To make sure you have enough room to work, leave at least a foot of space around the unit for access.
Take measurements of the height, width and depth of both the grill unit and kegerator. Use these measurements to make markings on the face and top of the shell for the cuts needed in order to fit both the grill unit and kegerator into the shell. Use a piece of chalk or other type of washable material when making markings. With an electrical saw, cut two rectangles into the face of the shell, a hole for the kegerator tap and holes on top for the grill, using the markings as a guide. Use caution when operating electrical saw.
Measure and cut a large piece of bluestone to place on top of the unit. Set stone in place using mortar. Apply a 1/2-inch layer of mortar to the top of the bar/grill unit (making sure to leave open the kegerator tap and the grill top holes). Set the bluestone into the mortar, applying pressure. Allow to set for two hours.
Take apart an existing grill unit or use a grill top that has been pre-made for built-in use. If using an existing grill, remove the grill top from the legs of the grill unit. Position the grill top onto the top of the unit shell.
Bring the kegerator up to the lip of the cutout hole in the unit shell. The kegerator should slip right into place if you’ve made the correct measurements. Align the hole for the tap on the top of the kegerator with the hole in the unit shell.
Measure the surface area to be covered with thinstone veneer. Trim veneer stone to fit using a wet saw, hammer or chisel. Spread a 1/2-inch layer of mortar directly onto the thinstone with a notched trowel. Tilt the trowel to a 45-degree angle and drag it along the surface of the mortar to raise ridges for better coverage of the unit shell wall.
Place the veneer stone from the bottom up. Apply firmly, with a slight twisting motion to set the stone. Wait an hour for the mortar to begin to dry. Fill the joints between the placed stones with mortar. This will help secure the stones. Remove excess mortar from the surface of the stones. Allow mortar to firm for two hours, and then level the mortar in the joints using a striking tool or stick. Wipe out and remove excess mortar from joints. Compress mortar in joints, making joints an even depth. Allow mortar to set for three weeks, then apply a layer of stone sealant to protect the surface of the stones.
The hole in the top of the kegerator should be aligned to the hole in the unit shell and bluestone. If not, position kegerator so these holes match up. Get the tap and line the notches up with the hole at the top of the keg, push the ball bearing down, slide the tap into place in a clockwise motion. Maintain downward pressure while spinning the tap into place. Once it’s turned into place, it should lock, and your tap is ready to use.