Creating an outdoor living space is more popular than ever. 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.
This article is sponsored by Quikrete.
Many homeowners pour a concrete slab or install a paver patio. While both projects produce functional and even beautiful results, the formwork may be too advanced for novice DIYers.
Here’s an easy alternative: build a small concrete patio or walkway using manufactured forms! Just pour concrete mix into plastic forms and, little by little, create a defined 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 project. You can create customized walkways that look like brick or natural stone, with the durability and affordability of concrete.
WalkMaker building forms come 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 these concrete pavers 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 build up the pathway creation instructions to create a concrete patio instead.
Creating a DIY Patio with WalkMaker
Using WalkMaker to build a patio isn’t much different from creating a concrete path.
Here’s how to create an easy DIY patio:
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.
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 air pockets.
Move the Form. Next, level the surface, smooth the concrete 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. 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 three to five 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 additional clean water as required, according to the directions.
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.
Patio Design Ideas
Furnish your finished patio with some outdoor seating. Try adding a wraparound outdoor sofa or circling Adirondack chairs around a fire pit.
Incorporate some extra outdoor furniture like end tables and a coffee table to transform your patio area into an outdoor living room.
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
- Waterproof gloves
- Safety glasses
Step 1: Find a project area and level the ground. Remove sod or soil as needed.
Step 2: Wear waterproof gloves and eye protection when working with concrete! 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 to mimic the look and durability of hand-laid stone or brick.
Just sweep sand or dry mortar into spaces between the concrete’s sections. For mortar, you can mist the joints with water for a minimum of three to five days so they harden in place.
In very hot or dry conditions, apply Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure and Seal with a roller or sprayer to ensure slow, even curing. Don’t apply use Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure and Seal if the temperature is expected to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit within 24 hours.
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 — that should be approximately one hour after placing.
Watch the video above for a step-by-step guide on how to create a concrete path with Quikrete Walkmaker.
This project was featured on the “Front Porch Update” episode of Today’s Homeowner TV.
Have you poured a concrete patio or walkway? Tell us about it in the comments!