In this update I take you through the process of adding a fire bowl to your pool area, this post is a follow-up to my blog about building swimming pool as an owner-builder. The first step was to get a couple of planters from a local nursery that were 28 inches in diameter. I then water-proofed the planters with water sealer and then painted them with indoor/outdoor matte white finish.

Back when we were building the pool I dug a trench behind the pool area to run the gas line to where I planned to install the fire bowls. I also ran a two inch white PVC conduit from the gas line through the concrete of the pool area right to the spot where the fire bowls were going to sit. All this was pre-planned and done in advance – so if you’re building a pool in your backyard, plan ahead to where you want to add fire bowls or other features that may require a gas line/fuel source.

Most of the planters you find come with a three-quarter inch hole at the bottom for drainage, so running the PVC conduit through them worked out really well. Once we got the fire bowls in place and painted, I ended up running gas lines to them and used a no-whistle hose line, a flex hose that’s similar to what you’d find in a fire pit. If you use a flex hose (like a yellow one for an appliance) those tend to have a whistle to them, so keep that in mind when installing it on your fire bowl.

The next step was to fill the fire bowl with sand and top it off with a cement board and layer of DG (decomposed granite). A final layer fire glass on top of everything completes the look. I fired up the bowls to test them out and the results, especially at night, were stunning. I was very pleased with the fire bowls and the effect was exactly what I was hoping for. I think they look great.

Before putting all this together I was looking at different options for fire bowls and I found that every build offered by pool manufacturing companies were quite expensive. The advantage of going with a professional installation job is that there’s some automation involved so, for example, you could sync the fire bowls with the app and have them turn on and off like they do with the pool lights or the pool equipment. But realistically, I don’t plan on using these fire bowls very often. I’ll only be using them whenever I have people over so I don’t mind having to come out here and manually turn them on every week or two.

Here’s a quick summary of all the parts I used and how much they cost:

  • 28-inch terra cotta pots bought at the local nursery = around $100 each.
  • 18-inch fire rings = $60.
  • Bag of fire glass = $40
  • Couple of bags of sand and DG (decomposed granite) = $10-$15
  • Whistle-free flex glass line = $20

Fire Ring I Used (Affiliate Link)
Gas Hose (Affiliate Link)
Gas Valve (Affiliate Link)
Fire Glass Home Depot – 10 lb. Cobalt Blue Reflective Fire Glass

If you’re using propane or natural gas, then you’re going to have to factor in the cost of getting gas or getting your fuel source to the fire bowl. I ran a conduit when we did the pool concrete and because I knew I was going to add fire bowls at a later date.

So, I think for a couple hundred dollars, I’m really happy with the end result! Adding a feature like a fire bowl is just a nice feature that really enhances the pool area at night.

If you haven’t already check out my blog on building the pool and check out all my other DIY posts.

Erika was out of town on business so I took Ethan and Aiden with me to the construction site of our new home. As the kids run around, I offer some useful tips that anyone buying or building a new home can use. First and foremost: take pictures of everything! Especially before they pour the concrete for the foundation. Pay special attention to the plumbing areas and electrical outlets. For someone like me who absolutely needs to have a sink in the garage, it is vital I know where the plumbing spots are where I can attach a sink or even a washer/dryer. It’s true that the builders will do it for you – but at a steep price. If you know where all the plumbing and electric outlets are you can do the same job yourself with a contractor you trust for significantly less money.

A framer once told me to pay attention to the walls before they put the drywall up and advised me to go to every room and take photos of every wall in each room. This will be useful when you want to do miscellaneous projects around the house in the future – your contractor will appreciate it and knowing where all the beams and joists are will cut down on construction time and save you money in the long run. You can print out the photos and keep it in a binder for future use or keep it online in a folder. Just make sure to label them properly.

For more Tips For Building a New Home check out the other DIY posts in our blog.

As I explain in this video, this is my personal experience building a swimming pool as an owner builder. I think the vast majority of people should use a pool contractor when they decide to build a swimming pool. We spoke with several pool contractors in our area here in Southern California and all of them were months out from being able to start the project and some were not even considering taking on new projects. 

Be sure to watch both videos, part 1 and part 2 to see all the entire project from start to finish. If you have any questions please leave them as a comment on YouTube. I will do my best to answer these questions. 


We moved into the new house and I was going to start a number of DIY projects around the house including a set of Custom DIY BUNK BEDS. However, soon after moving in we found out Erika was pregnant, and she gave me an ultimatum to get all my projects done before the baby arrives – so I had to hop to it! In this video I install a custom DIY BUNK BEDS for the kids’ room with help from my friend David. I sent a designer friend of mine the dimensions of the room and he came up with an amazing design for the bunk beds and loft area that both Erika and I loved.

The project took around 90 hours spread across a couple weeks, a little longer than I expected – but it was well worth the effort after seeing how much the kids love these bunk beds.


In this video I share an effective way to hang Christmas lights around the house. This is great for people like me who don’t want to climb up and down the ladder to install and remove Christmas lights every year. I highlight the different placement options depending on the style and roofline of your house. Because we are in Southern California and have stucco around the roof, I used a system of bicycle hooks and pipes to easily mount and remove the Christmas lights. I also highlight the different ways you can hang Christmas lights if you have, say, wood paneling.

I’ve seen a lot of bar/kitchen custom outdoor TV enclosure setups where the TV is exposed to the elements – this was not an option for us because the patio cover for the area is still a couple months away and with our current setup the TV would be left exposed to the elements. That’s why I started this little project last September to make an enclosure where the TV is easily accessible but hidden and out of sight when not in use. We faced some problems with the support struts, but eventually figured out a way to make it work.

Also in this video is a quick review about the tv that we put outside. Screen brightness and visibility in sunlight are major factors when buying a TV for outdoor use and (I think!) I picked the perfect model: the 65″ Hisense ULED TV. I like this model because it’s one of the brightest and most affordable TVs available in the market from Hisense, making it a no-brainer for our outdoor build.

Gas struts used for my custom outdoor TV enclosure –
65″ Hisense ULED TV –