Hardscape Design – Laying a Concrete Foundation for the Backyard Patio (Part 3)

Our backyard patio project has been moving along at lighting speed. When you have the right team and proper tools, a successful job is almost guaranteed.

In less than a week, my team has ripped up and removed the old bricks on our patio HERE, and demolished the fireplace HERE. Now they are ready to lay concrete over the existing foundation.

Extending the Patio Surface

Even though our patio was a large space at roughly 1,100 sq ft, we felt it was a bit long and narrow and not fully functioning. But removing the fireplace has really opened up the space and given us more room. We also decided to extend the patio an additional 4 feet.

sAik1I%NQjC1EaUazf+12QThe additional space is being excavated and measured.

Q2QjLAdHTz2JY1N46MAAPAThis is the corner where the fireplace used to reside..still looks so strange not to see that large structure in the yard. My hydrangea narrowly escaped death, as it is too hot to transplant now. We will relocate it once the weather cools down.

Preparing the Form for the New Patio

After the new 4 ft extension has been excavated, granular fill is laid in place to aid in the formation of the concrete. It is also very important for the patio to have a proper slope, so rain doesn’t collect near the house.

ENyCAQkoRreqLRyryisJUwTo get a nice straight edge and perfect corners, we need a level form, boards are set around the patio outline and nailed to corner stakes.

%nrYRZXYQi+2T8jh9GJ%gAInstalling wire mesh or rebar (steel reinforcing bars) is important to the concrete’s stability. It helps with reinforcement, strength, and makes the concrete resistant to cracks.

Preparing for the Concrete Truck to Arrive

It is very important to have everything completed before the concrete truck arrives. Proper preparation is important to making this concrete job go “smoothly”. Make sure the form is square, level, straight, and well braced.

puzcaMKpRpSvPXtm0SVNNwThe route is planned out before the concrete truck arrives. We had a lot of rain this week and the ground is muddy, plywood boards are laid and a path is created for the workers to haul the concrete to the site quickly.

HiTwTjJ2TVmxY89%venI6w The weather must be perfect for laying concrete. If the weather is hot and windy, that can accelerate the hardening process, turning the slab hard before there is sufficient time to create a smooth finish. Rain can also ruin a surface, it’s very important to plan this day carefully ahead of time.

Y%odt0MKSlCn3CEtTnNNJQBUT…there is a threat of rain later in the afternoon on the day we laid our concrete. The truck arrives very early in the morning and several guys are working quickly to haul the wet concrete to the site.


Laying the Concrete for the Patio

The wet concrete is dumped from the wheel barrows and several men are working swiftly to level the concrete before it hardens.

JStv%KG7RkSyZeyUSQQd6wThis is definitely a team effort and I’m impressed with my crew.


Smoothing the Concrete Surface

A straight board is dragged across the top of the concrete form to smooth the surface.

fQhCgJXmTt+jt%3WcxpxEwMultiple passes are needed to create a flat and even surface.

R9HOnnF6Rq2g7cVgqVOfWAAlmost done, and the rain has held off….so far.

e+kiYAThSjO6uPn3ofUStwThe last section of concrete is poured.

3rNAWudSRI+iOdzh9miajgAnd smoothed out.

Isgn4NezTvm0q1PM2c4AGAThis initial area of the concrete dries fairly quickly, and is safe to walk on.

JwTASFyZS1uzYS652EAWJAOh shit! It’s starting to rain! The workers quickly cover the patio with large tarps.

fullsizeoutput_8941And….this is what wet concrete looks like when it gets rained on – large pits formed and the surface is ruined.

95% of the patio is fine, the last little section was mixed with rain. It’s okay, I know my crew will fix it.

What’s Next for this Project?

I spent weeks researching different materials, travertine stone colors, websites, and stone centers. I feel good about the stone I am choosing for this project, but it is a special order from overseas and will take 2 -3 months to arrive. I was not able to find the right color or pattern of travertine locally and rather than rush the job, we decided to place a special order. We will also be using this stone when we build our pool next Spring so I need to plan accordingly.

Stay tuned and thanks for following along! Are you working on any outdoor projects this year?

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