It’s an amazing scene as you step onto your neighbor’s new patio—you feel like you’re at the posh lounge of a five-star resort. The stamped concrete has an elegant stone look, and the whole area is lit with warm, amber luminescence. It hits you: I need a patio space like this!
Your head swims with the what-ifs and how-tos. What elements do I include? Where would I place everything? How long will the whole process take? What are the costs? Where do I start to find a concrete contractor who will make my vision a reality?
A great outdoor living space is not created overnight, and unique challenges present themselves with every project. You will need a partner—a professional contractor who will ensure that your expectations are considered and met. We recommend that you talk to a few different contractors to find the one right for you.
The first question to ask yourself when creating an outdoor living space is how will you use your patio space? Do you envision a cozy space for your morning coffee? Are you an entertainer who loves to host friends and family? Do you cook out year-round? Are large-scale events in the future?
Building a patio may seem basic, but when you create an outdoor living space, you’re often combining multiple home elements into one open space. Outdoor kitchen features, dining areas, and living areas must flow together seamlessly and concisely, just as they do in your interior spaces. As you can imagine, the options can seem a bit overwhelming.
The process can be simplified by breaking it down into steps that guide you toward your perfect outdoor living environment. Allow yourself to be creative, and, with the help of a good concrete contractor, your vision can be transformed into an outdoor space that will become as timeless as your memories.
-Create a personal patio wish list.
-Establish a realistic target budget.
-Agree on design, layout, timing, and cost.
-Break ground on your project start date.
-Contact with your contractor throughout the project is important.
-Enjoy your new patio!
The fact is concrete is the strongest, most durable, and environmentally safe product on the construction market. As with all building and construction projects, the foundation of every quality endeavor is the concrete itself. At Ageless Concrete, we start all our patio projects with four-inch-thick, reinforced, colored, and stamped concrete. There are right ways and wrong ways to do any job. Patios are no different. A systematic approach ensures the production of ultra-high-quality concrete products that will stand the test of time.
Stamped concrete’s origins are similar to those of traditional concrete. Traditional concrete is typically used for city sidewalks, driveways, and super highways. Stamped concrete differs by a few key factors which transform boring grey concrete into custom concrete creations.
-Integral color is added throughout the concrete for durable, long-lasting, and fade-resistant results.
-Natural stamp patterns are imprinted into the surface of wet concrete to impart the look of slate, stone, wood, and more.
-Antiquing colors are added to the surface of concrete. These additional colors bring the concrete to life and make it ageless.
-Two coats of sealer with traction additive are applied (semigloss glow, maximum protection, nonslippery).
Since stamped concrete is available in a wide range of patterns and colors which replicate the natural look of stone, slate, brick, wood planks, and more, the thought of picking out patterns and colors can seem daunting. Let your concrete contractor advise you on choosing the patterns and color combinations that will best accent your home’s existing exterior or other existing landscape elements. Take the time to look at images of other projects to get ideas and share them with your contractor.
Colored and stamped concrete patios are handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art. The list of different features that can be incorporated includes fire features, seat walls, low-voltage lighting, kitchen elements, pergolas, and raised planters.
The most popular fire features are woodburning, block fire pits because they are budget friendly and offer a classic look. If you prefer not to smell like a campfire every time you spend an evening outdoors, some type of gas-burning fire feature will better suit your needs. Gas-burning fire features provide a brilliant fire without the sparks, smoke, or work of woodburning fires. Many people enjoy the convenience of being able to turn their fire on and off as well.
Adding a seat wall provides ample seating for your guests around the fire. It’s a great way to eliminate the need for excess furniture and clutter on the patio. Bookending the seat walls with slightly taller pillars topped with natural limestone caps creates a finished look.
To really make your patio pop, hit the lights! Low-voltage, LED lighting systems are a great way to add warm ambiance to your outdoor living space. At Ageless Concrete, we recommend downlights that are incorporated into the seat walls and pillars. Downlights provide indirect lighting for your patio area, which is far superior to obnoxious floodlights. You can illuminate pathways, light up your trees and other established plants, and create a total scene that adds light to your outdoor life.
Do you love Wisconsin summer evenings but hate the mosquitoes? Installing a lighting system that combines low-voltage LED lights with a patented mosquito-repellent technology can create a mosquito-free sanctuary around your outdoor living space. You no longer have to douse your family in chemicals to enjoy an evening by the fire. The outdoors is yours!
With so many options in outdoor cooking and food storage elements, such as gas grills, side-burners, Big Green Eggs, wood-fired pizza ovens, outdoor sinks, fridges, and built-in bars, it’s important to have a contractor who will build to suit. Granite, stone, and custom concrete countertops can be a part of your one-of-a-kind outdoor space. The process can be overwhelming, and ultimate success lies in the details. Demand a high level of customer service and consistent communication from your contractor. You deserve to know exactly what to expect during every phase of the creation of your functional work of art that will last a lifetime.
Aaron Kinas is the owner of Ageless Concrete, a Marine Corps Veteran-owned business comprised of skilled designers and concrete artisans who possess the expertise, drive, and passion to create functional works of art that stand the test of time.
Photographs by Aaron Kinas.
View additional photographs at homeelementsandconcepts.com .