Concrete Patio Ideas
Inspiration for paving your patio with concrete
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A patio is an essential part of outdoor living. You will likely spend many hours with friends and family on your patio. Because of its durability and design versatility, concrete is an excellent paving choice for patios. A concrete patio has numerous benefits when compared to decking and other patio surface options.
Benefits of a Concrete Patio:
- Highly durable
- Adaptable to any style
- Can be poured in any shape
Concrete Patio Cost:
$12-17 per square foot (borders, saw-cuts and hand-applications)
$10-15 per square foot (multiple colors and multiple textures)
$6-10 per square foot (one color and one texture)
- Colored concrete - Get an overview of the four ways concrete can be colored, including staining, integral color, color hardener, liquid release agents (used in conjunction with stamping), and dyes.
- Stamped concrete - the surface of your concrete patio can be stamped to create textures that mimic stone, brick or other materials
If you have an existing concrete patio that is cracked or stained, it can be resurfaced. Concrete resurfacing will make your patio look like new. A resurfaced concrete patio can be colored and stamped.
Another strong trend is to integrate plants into the places where expansion joints would otherwise be located. These help to create a more permeable surface and break up the expansive paving with green. It is not uncommon to utilize artificial turf in these joints as well, particularly in regions where water conservation is vital.
Do Concrete Patios Crack?
Concrete is good for warm climate landscapes that do not experience the extreme freeze-thaw of the northern states, which is the cause of uncontrollable cracking. Chris Major of Blue Ridge Landscaping in Holland, Michigan says, "Concrete is great and cheaper at the start, but it cracks." Trust a Michigan landscaper to be forthright about the problem that does and always has afflicted concrete patios. The radical pressures of freeze-thaw make this a problem in the north, but other factors can lead to cracking too.
Virginia marl is a unique soil condition that afflicts projects by Adam Heath at Mid Atlantic Enterprise. "Marl makes our soils unstable, causing big problems with paving. This is a mushy organic soil composed of silt and sediment that is very expansive. You literally can't build on it. We have to excavate all our patio spaces to remove all the marl then backfill it with specific crushed stone to obtain the solid compaction we need."
Similar problems are experienced by Matt Schmuke of Arcadia Design Group. "In Colorado you're guaranteed that a slab will crack. Plasticity of the clay soil is the problem. With pavers we have an infinite number of joints so you'll never see a crack."
Maureen Gilmer, contributing writer for Landscaping Network, author and syndicated columnist
Sarah Hutchinson, contributing writer for Landscaping Network