You need to have clarity of your vision about what the project entails in design, scope, materials, time and certainly your budget. Quite simply, be sure you are on the same page.

This is the one time when you don’t want to agree to disagree.

Most often a DIY masonry project is an attempt to do something you are not familiar with. It can also be labor intensive and if your regular work involves something like working behind a desk it may be a little hard on the body. What all this says is stress.

To make the project go smoothly doesn’t it make sense that you have a plan clearly outlined from the very beginning?

Even more important is that you have the same game plan… It is a good idea to exercise the muscle between your ears ahead of time.

  • An excellent way to do this is to have tear sheets from design or home decorating magazines that show examples that you can visualize as a design concept of your finished project. If you are talented – a sketch is also helpful even if that means the back of a napkin sitting at the kitchen table. Trying to explain what you see in your head to your partner and expecting them to get it usually doesn’t interpret as well as having something concrete on paper.
  • It is helpful to go to supply yards, fireplace stores or anywhere that sells masonry supplies as they usually have displays just to get ideas. Makes sense right? After all they are trying to upsell ideas to you. Home shows in your area are another great way to see design concepts, just make sure you bring a camera with you. You think you will remember what you saw, but your brain tends to get caught in overload easily.
  • A nifty tool designers use is to make a project board. By taking a board the size of a poster or so, you can lay out all your chosen materials in the exact samples you have decided on. This gives you a very clear snapshot of how everything balances out in terms of texture, color and contrast.
  • Set a budget of all the supplies you have chosen. Now add 10 percent for waste. And now add another 10 percent for unexpected costs. Yes, they will happen. Murphy’s Law always comes into play! The same rule applies for budgeting your time. Ask at the masonry supply yard how long you can expect the project to take if you don’t know. Now multiply that times 2. In the end, no one’s expectations are out of whack when reality comes into play. Because in reality, as a DIY masonry home project, it will probably take you twice as long. Take the time and do it right.

You are planning on building a DIY masonry brick or stone home project, but building your relationship is just as much a part of the process.