For some time I wanted to create a patio outside of my house but i did not want to spend the money on patio pavers and a Concrete slab just didn't have the look I wanted. While researching online and at my local hardware store, I found Quikrete WalkMakers. This is a form that allows you to cast your concrete pavers right in their final location. While this required a lot of work, the final product and the price were exactly what I was looking for.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
For this Project you will need the following.
- Concrete Mixer or Wheel Barrow for mixing the concrete
- Concrete hand tools (I bought a 4 piece set from Harbor Freight)
- 5 Gallon bucket or another item to help move the concrete from where you mix it over to the forms
- Small Gardening Hand shovel
- Garden Sprayer or Paint Roller to apply the sealer
- Quikrete WalkMaker Form
- Concrete Mix (Standard works but you can also use Pro Finish)
- Depending on the style of WalkMaker with slightly vary in how much concrete is needed. The forms are 2' x 2' but the different patterns have different spacing between the blocks. The instructions say that 1-80lb bag of concrete mix will fill the form. I used the country stone form and got about 1.3 forms per 80lb bag.
- Polymeric Sand or Sand/Topping Mix - Polymeric sand is more expensive but comes in more colors, I used the finishing sand as I wanted the grey joints. I used about 250lbs of Finishing Sand on a 10x16 patio.
- Concrete Sealer or Cure & Seal
- Wood to form the outer border of the patio (This is optional and the patio could be flush with the ground)
- Crushed Stone (This is also optional. I used it to help level the ground but the instructions on the forms say you can just remove the grass and place the forms right on the dirt)
Step 2: Site Prep
The preparation for the site will vary based on each location. The end goal of the site prep is to create a solid flat area with no grass or vegetation slightly larger than your patios final size. A good thing about the WalkMaker is that you don't need the land to be perfectly flat, the forms lay flat over any little bumps and divots so that the concrete will flow to conform to the land while the top will be nice and flat.
In my case, I had to deal with a relatively significant slope. I had to dig down into the slope about 18 inches into one side of the side while actually raising up the land about 6 inches on the far side of the site.
Step 3: Place, Pour, Lift, Repeat
Now that your site is prepped, its time to start pouring. Place the form in one corner of the patio. Then mix one bag of concrete. When mixing its, follow the directions on the bag but then make it a bit thinner. The key is to get the consistency just thin enough that it is it is easy to trowel the surface flat but thick enough that when you pull the form, it will keep its shape.
After the concrete is mixed, carry it over to the form and pour half of it into the form. Now use the trowel to work the concrete into the form. Then slowly add more concrete and until it is full. Once the form is full, use the trowel to create a nice flat and smooth finish. The finish you see here will be the same finish when its dry. Once you finished smoothing the surface, lift the form carefully straight up.
Now you can place the form directly next to the stones you just created and repeat the process until you have filled your patio area.
NOTE: when you lift the form, there may be a ridge left on each stone from the forms. If this occurs, let it dry for about 5 -10 minutes and then go back to it. Using a trowel (or my set had a tool with a rounded over edge) carefully knock down the edges smooth. I did not do this on some stones and they are now a bit sharp.
Step 4: Partial Forms
Unless you design the size of your patio around the forms, there is a good chance you will have a row that will not fit the full form. In this case you have a few options.
One option is that you can place the form either on a bare patch of dirt or on cardboard and pour a bunch of pavers off to the side. Once they are dry, you can then place them in the remaining space of your patio just as you would with a regular patio block/stone
The Second option is what I did, you can free form the blocks right in the space. This is easier for the stones as they are more rounded shapes. Take the mixed concrete, use a small shovel or trowel to create a small pile of concrete. Then using the towel, shape the pile to the same height and general size of the other patio blocks/stones.
Step 5: Joint Sand
After all of the concrete has been drying for over 24 hours, you are now ready to fill all of those little joints between the blocks.
Take a bag of the Topping Sand, open it and dump it out over the stones. Empty one bag at a time. Using a broom, work the sand in between all of the joints. Keep adding sand as needed to fill all of the joints. Once all of the joints are filled, go back over the entire patio with the broom to make sure the sand is not the top of the blocks.
Once the sand all in its proper place, Take a water hose with a garden sprayer on the end and gently wet the entire patio. Be careful to not create puddles of water. After 30 min to 1 hour, repeat the watering of the patio 2 more times.
After watering the sand, make sure to keep the area dry for 24 hours. If there is a risk of rain, cover the patio with plastic.
Step 6: Sealing and Finishing
After the joint sand is dry, now you can seal the concrete. You have a few options for this. If you want to wait 30 days, you can use a normal Concrete Sealer. If you do not want to wait, you can use a Cure & Seal the very next day. To apply the sealer, follow the directions on the bottle. Again, allow 24 hours for it to dry and cover it if there is risk of rain.
Now that the patio is complete, fix the landscaping around the patio and then Enjoy!