5 Ways to Beautify Your Concrete Patio
Concrete is a standard paving material for home patios, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Revive your patio with these simple design ideas.
Since concrete has to be physically broken up to be removed, starting over from scratch can be expensive. A better idea is to use your existing framework as a starting point. Use these design ideas to enhance your concrete patio and make it into a space you love.
1. Surface Treatments
For patios with concrete that has already been fully cured, consider hiring a concrete specialist to refinish the surface through staining, scoring and additional paving.
- Staining: Concrete stains penetrate into the surface of the paving and change the color, texture or both. Keep in mind that stains weaken the surface, so a sealant over the stain is required so that the paving doesn’t degrade. Note: It’s important when choosing a stain or sealant that you choose one that will maintain a nonslip surface outdoors. Most interior concrete finishes are not suitable, as they become too slippery after a rain.
- Scoring: Patterns can be added to the concrete surface by scoring it, which means cutting into the concrete about ¼ inch. The cuts create a pattern across the paving, giving it texture and visual movement. Popular pattern choices include repeating lines, diamonds and grids.
- Paving Veneer: By using the concrete patio as a foundation, it’s possible to add pavers on top of your existing concrete to create a new look. The only real concern is that the finished height of the paving doesn’t create any issues with walking or drainage. For example, pay close attention to how the paving’s added thickness will affect the edges of your patio so that any walkways or stairs connect at the right height.
2. Build Walls
Adding a low wall around your patio will change the space from a free-feeling, wide-open area into a more intimate, contained outdoor room. It almost separates the patio space from the exposed landscape beyond, creating a private refuge or lookout point.
If you’d rather not commit to adding a permanent wall structure, consider installing an outdoor screen or planting a trellis with vines to provide that sense of enclosure.
3. Change the Light
Take some time to think about what you can do to change the light on your patio. If the sun beats down on it, how can you create shade to make it more inviting? If your patio tends to be dark and gloomy, consider ways to bring in more natural light, or consider adding low-glow lights for nighttime. Downcast outdoor lights are another great way to give your patio a different character after dark.
4. Add Structure with a Pergola
Frame your basic concrete patio with a pergola to help enclose the space and create more intimacy and coziness. People like being in nooks that are comfy and private.
Adding overhead framing is also a way to help change the natural lighting, as an overhead trellis creates its own pattern of shadows and light. In addition, it provides support for other helpful elements like flowering vines, a ceiling fan, lights, and speakers for music.
5. Shape the Edge
Concrete that is in good shape, with no major cracks, can be cut with a circular saw to shape the edge. This means you wouldn’t have to remove the entire concrete slab, just a portion of it. Cut it to be curvy, geometric or whatever best suits your own personal style. When paired with a new type of planting, such as flower beds or trees, the result will feel like a brand new space.
Bonus: The surest way to turn your patio into a place you love, is to use it! Add friends and family, bust out the lawn chairs and grill, and spend time together.