making room for stylish outdoor living
When we built our home in 2013 we had our contractor lay a pad of crusher run so we could take the dogs out on what was mainly a mud pit at the time. The pad was temporary (so we thought). But four years later we found that this was a project we never took on and was long overdue. Our goal was to create a large patio space with room for a fire pit area, eating area and seating/hot tub area.
We priced out both pavers and concrete and found that concrete was about half the price. I really wanted to look of bluestone/flagstone and loved the linear look of these natural stones. That's when Jeff Garner from JMG Stamped Concrete and Masonry assured me he could create that same look that I loved used stamps. I trusted him and never looked back. Jeff gave us the patio of our dreams!
To truly appreciate Jeff's talent, take a look at where we were when we started this project...
B E F O R E
T H E P R O C E S SAfter framing in the area where the patio will be poured, Jeff and his team laid rebar over the crusher stone.
The concrete truck came in and concrete was dumped into the patio area. Jeff smoothed and evened it all out using various tools. Think of it as baking a cake, with very large decorating tools! :)
After the concrete was poured, evened out and smoothed, and was left to dry a bit until it was at an optimal point for stamping.
When it comes to stamps there are so many patterns and looks you can go for. You can go as far as staining the concrete you order if you wish it to be a certain color. We liked the traditional gray color and were able to save money by not dying.
Here's a pic of the stamps and the pattern they were laid out in.
Once the stamping begins it's a little bit of an art! Jeff and his team laid out the pattern and kept it moving from left to right. They smoothed out seams and imperfections as they went along which made it look more authentic and less stamped. It's the exciting part of the project because you can really start to see it coming to life!
After it drys overnight, it gets a protective sealer and antiquing on it. That really brought out the "look" of the concrete and made it truly feel like stone.
Below is an aerial shot of the layout once it was finished.
T H E E N D R E S U L T
We are so thrilled with how this came out. We saved over $4,000 opting for stamped concrete versus pavers, which for us, was the difference between having to wait another year or more. I'm so glad we opted to go for it.
A few tips and things to ask about when you interview a mason and/or concrete installer:
- What is your experience? IMPORTANT!!! Ask for a portfolio and call references.
- How big is your team? It takes several team members to do this, and do it right. Trust us - we've had stamped concrete nightmares in the past from going with inexperienced, small teams.
- What will this cost? According to my research for the area I live in, the cost per square foot is typically between $6-10. Traditional pavers cost more but they don't crack like concrete can.
- How long will this project take? Jeff and his team took two days to prep the area and then the pouring and stamping took one day, and the sealing and antiquing took half a day. Be prepared and make sure you work around any big plans for entertaining at your home.
We love the outcome and hope you do too! It's still cold in upstate NY right now so any flowers and planters are at a minimal, but I can't wait to jazz up this hardscape area with more plant life pretty soon!