Tag Archives: patios

Fun Designs for Old Concrete Patios

A patio can often be revitalized. you just have to come up with an interesting idea or design plan. For instance, an old concrete patio may gain new life with an interesting boulder border around it. You may think it fun to break some of the interior concrete up to plant flower gardens. You might add a top pond by using boulders and huge rocks or you might even want to try this easy project of turning your old concrete patio into a pebbled paradise.

An Interesting Pebble Patio

If your old concrete patio is looking worn and needs a slight facelift, you can do this inexpensively by adding a pebble overlay. You will get a brand new patio that looks somewhat like a sandy beach; a fun look that makes you feel like you are on an island resort when you really are just in your own backyard.

Clean-up Time

Before starting on a project like this, you have to make sure the patio is clean of all debris. Use a power washer to wash off the concrete patio and remove any stains, sticky films or mildew. Let the concrete dry fully for at least a few hours before starting your project.


Decide on what the perimeter will look like. If you want that great island effect, place boulders around it. You may even want a boulder design in the center or off to the side of the patio. You can create a garden area from a boulder and rock designed perimeter in the center of the patio.  Play around with the perimeter design on paper before making your final decision. Set mortar around the perimeter of each bolder you set so the voids are filled and mildew cannot set in. Smooth out the visible mortar by using a mortar sponge.

Spread pebbles over a small area of the patio in a back corner. Mix a two part epoxy mixture in a bucket and stir the mixture for about five minutes. Pour the mixture over the pebbles and fold the mixture into the rocks by turning over the pebbles with a shovel. Make sure there are no dry areas left.

Even it Out

Even out the pebbles with a trowel before the epoxy dries. Get an even coating of the pebbles. Continue with the other sections of the pebbles in the same way. Use a clean trowel to clean out tracks you need to keep for rain runoff.

Allow the pebbled concrete patio to dry for a day or two before you decide to start walking on it. Make sure you don’t allow the patio to get wet while the epoxy is drying or it may turn a filmy white color. Cover the patio with a tarp if it looks like it may rain. After a day or two you can start enjoying your new patio.

Grades and Elevation–How High or Low Should your Patio or Deck Be

Outdoor living spaces add a new dimension to your home, especially because they make it enjoyable for you and your family to spend time outdoors. This is why adding a patio or deck offe

rs both emotional and monetary value to your home.

People who want to add this home feature often have a general idea of what they want, and may  think; “Hmm, we’d like a new stone patio.” While others often say; “My idea is to add a deck off the kitchen.” Some people can even visualize or draw out their plans. Of course, then there are those of us who know some type of outdoor living feature is needed, just don’t really know which to choose. So what decisions should you make? Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.

Grades Vs. Elevation

This is the one factor that may influence the decision for you. If for instance, you want a deck out your kitchen door, you need to consider the elevation of the door. If this is close to grade or just a single step from the door to the yard, then it may not be possible to construct a deck, as there isn’t enough room for framing or supports. In these cases a patio may be the only option, as the base for a patio is dug into the ground.

On the other hand, there are times when a deck works best. For instance, when an area has a significant or steep slope, making it difficult to level out for a patio, then a deck is your option.  A deck may also be a viable option when you need a deck or patio in a shady tree area, as this feature can be built over tree root areas.

The elevation of a deck will vary according to the design requirements you have, even when there is no structural need to change the elevation of a deck. So, a deck can really be built to the elevation you need. It can be a high or low deck as needed.

Grading a Patio

If you do decide to install a patio you’ll need to prepare and grade a base where the paver stones can be laid. This is probably the most important element to installing the patio. The process begins by digging the area to about 6 to 8 inches below the finished height of the patio level you want. Usually the patio paving stones take up about 2 inches of the height and you want a gravel base under this. If possible, you want to use a landscape fabric under the gravel to protect the base and the pavers from the soil and weeds.

Once you have dug the area you must add about 4 inches of gravel and then grade the patio base with a 2X4 by sliding the length along the gravel and smoothing it in a slightly sloped. This will give the area an evan but sloped base for water runoff. You want to slope the area towards where you want the water to run off. If the patio is large then you need to grade with 2 2X4’s that are nailed together.

Add another 2 inches of sand to the gravel and grade again with the 2X4. Use a compactor on the area before setting the pavers.


As you can see, there are differences in the way a deck and patio are constructed. This is why you need to analyze the outdoor area and determine which is the better and least expensive option. To best do this you may need to call in an experienced deck and patio contractor to help you with our decision.