Creating an outdoor living space has never been more popular. But if your home lacks the basics and you have a limited budget, you can always go the do-it-yourself route. In this case, start with a DIY patio.
Many homeowners pour a concrete slab or install a paver patio. While both projects produce beautiful results, they may be too advanced for novice DIYers.
Here’s an easier alternative: build a small concrete patio using manufactured forms! Anyone can pour concrete mix into plastic forms and, little by little, create a space for recreation.
Read on to learn just how simple it is!
About Quikrete WalkMaker
Quikrete’s WalkMaker forms help homeowners easily create pathways. Each plastic form creates an approximately 2-square-foot section using one 80-pound bag of premixed concrete.
Shoveling concrete mix into forms is a simple, DIY-friendly project — anybody can do it! You can create customized walkways that look like brick or natural stone, with the durability and affordability of poured concrete.
WalkMaker comes in four designs: Basket Weave Brick, Country Stone Pattern, European Block Brick and Running Bond Brick, so there’s an option that’s sure to match any style of home.
You can even color each concrete paver for a more natural-looking finish that blends in with your landscape design.
Now, what does the WalkMaker have to do with a DIY patio? Everything! Because you can tweak the pathway creation instructions to create a concrete patio instead.
Creating a DIY Patio with WalkMaker
Using WalkMaker to create a concrete patio isn’t much different from creating a path.
Here’s what to do:
Prep the Project Site. WalkMaker requires very little surface preparation. Simply remove any sod and level the surface. The form can be placed directly on the ground.
Mix the Concrete. Add water to Quikrete Concrete Mix or Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix, as directed on the package. Hand-mix it in a wheelbarrow or a plastic bucket with a hoe, masonry trowel or shovel.
Lay Out Your DIY Patio. The reusable WalkMaker forms come in four distinct designs. It’s easiest to use the Basket Weave Brick, Running Bond Brick or European Block forms, because they all have straight edges. Start from the home’s foundation and work out from the house.
Fill the Forms. Place the WalkMaker form on the ground and begin to fill openings with concrete. Using a trowel, press the concrete into the form. Work from the corners to consolidate the concrete and eliminate any voids.
Move the Pavers. Next, just smooth the surfaces and immediately remove the form. There’s no need to wait for the concrete to set. Afterward, simply rotate the form a quarter of a turn to vary the pattern for a random look. Before the concrete becomes thumbprint hard, in about an hour or so, use your towel to smooth any rough edges.
Cure the Concrete. Begin curing the concrete immediately after the sheen has left the surface. Freshly placed concrete should be water-cured for 3-5 days with a fine water mist. The curing step is necessary for concrete to achieve its designed strength.
To remove the need for water curing, you can use Quikrete Acrylic Cure and Seal. In addition to eliminating the water curing process, Quikrete Acrylic Cure and Seal applies a semi-gloss sheen that repels water and protects the concrete from grease, oil and food stains. It can be applied with a roller, garden sprayer or a brush.
Customize Your DIY Patio
You can always tweak these instructions to customize your patio. For instance, add liquid color to the concrete mix to give the patio a more natural-looking finish.
For every two 60-pound or 80-pound bags of dry concrete mix, blend one 10-ounce bottle of Quikrete Liquid Cement Color with 5 quarts of clean water. Mix the liquid into dry concrete until the color is consistent. Add clean water as needed until you have the desired uniformity.
You also can brush on a layer of play sand, or press small stones or pea gravel into the wet concrete for different surface finishes. Do this after the concrete initially sets — about one hour after placement, when it’s “thumbprint hard” but still damp.
These are just two ways to customize your DIY patio, but your imagination is the limit.
Creating a Walkway with Quikrete WalkMaker
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
- Quikrete Walkmaker Form
- 80 pounds of Quikrete Crack Resistant Concrete mix or Quikrete Concrete Mix
- Gallon of Quikrete Acrylic Cure & Seal
- 10 ounces of Quikrete Liquid Cement Color
- Plastic mixing tub or wheelbarrow
- Mixing hoe
- Measuring pail
- Margin trowel
- Safety glasses
Step 1: Find a project area and level the ground. Remove sod or soil as needed.
Step 2: Mix Quikrete Crack Resistant Concrete — this product improves impact resistance, which is just what you need for outdoor projects. Now’s the time to add liquid cement color (if you want to give the concrete some flair).
Step 3: Place the WalkMaker form on the ground and fill its cavities with concrete.
Step 4: Use a margin trowel to press the concrete mix into the form. You’ll want to work from the corners to consolidate the concrete and eliminate any voids.
Step 5: Smooth the surface and immediately remove the form. You don’t have to wait for the concrete to set.
Step 6: Rotate the form a quarter of a turn to vary the pattern for a random look. This will give it a more natural stone walkway finish.
Step 7: Use a trowel to smooth any rough edges before the concrete becomes “thumbprint” hard.
Step 8: Begin curing the concrete immediately after the sheen has left the concrete’s surface. Water-cure freshly placed concrete for at least three to five days with a fine water mist.
Customize Your Walkway
Your new walkway is fine as it is, but you can fill its joints with sand or mortar mix for a more finished look.
Just sweep sand or dry mortar into spaces between the concrete’s sections. For mortar, you can mist the joints with water so they harden in place.
You also could create custom surface finishes by pressing small stones or pea gravel into the wet concrete or by brushing on a layer of sand.
Apply finish materials after the concrete has reached its initial set (thumbprint hard) but is still damp — the should be approximately one hour after placing.
Have you poured a concrete patio or walkway? Tell us about it in the comments!