A 'New' Patio and Walkway for Less
Make Your Yard a Work of Art
5 Free Home Improvement Projects
Creating an Outdoor Oasis
Cheap Walkway Ideas
Decorating a Cracked Concrete Slab
I have a 20x20 slab of concrete behind the house that is cracked and the old green paint has come off in many places. How can I decorate this without spending too much money or repairing the cracks? I want to leave the cracks and make it more appealing as it is.
Paint Giant "Tiles" on Concrete Slab
On our concrete patio, I used a terra-cotta colored paint and simply painted giant "tiles" on the concrete. I left about 1/2 to 1 inch space between the tiles to mimic the look of grout, and made the tiles exactly the size of the paint roller, so there was no measuring involved. I purposefully didn't measure or make them perfectly square, and the end result was an "Italian cobblestone" look that got a lot of compliments. (Or you could tape it off if you want a more precise look). After a couple of seasons, I had to touch it up. You might check paint stores for any "mismixes" in a color that would work.
Creatively Embellish the Cracked Concrete
Since the concrete is already painted a green color (albeit peeling in some spots), how about letting the kids or someone with artistic ability paint flowers or something else along the cracks. Use the cracks as a design "feature" rather than a flaw.
From Cracked Concrete Slab to Garden Walkway
Make a scene or mural on the floor. The floor can be painted as a garden walkway, the bottom of the ocean, an Italian street with cobblestones. I have used stencils to do these scenes or have just painted free-style, and I am not a great painter. Friends have liked my ideas so much that they have asked me to help them. It isn't expensive, but does take a little time in marking off areas, depending on what one wants to do. It's a great weekend project, and it will create a wonderful, unique look.
Jeanne in Englewood, FL
Stencil Concrete Slab with Brick or Cobblestone Pattern
Lowe's (and probably Home Depot) has a stencil that you can use to "stencil" a brick or cobblestone pattern on concrete for about $25. Use concrete paint in whatever color you would like to use and paint the "stencil" onto your patio. If you lay out your stencil, you can incorporate the cracks into the "grout" lines of the stencil and they will not be as noticeable.
The Magic of Brown Paper Bags
I saw an idea on a decorating program to make cement look like tiles. Start out painting the entire surface with a terracotta paint. Then add a bit of white paint to some of the leftover paint and a darker color to some, and dab unevenly to give a dimensional look.
Divide into squares of desired size (I would use about 18-inch squares) and tape off with masking tape. Take some charcoal color and mix with the terracotta. Paint from the center of each "tile" toward the edges. Wipe off most of the middle with an old rag, wiping toward the edges. Shade toward the tape so the edge of the tape is very dark. You need to retape to do the alternate squares.
One other idea for cement is to take brown paper bags, tear into uneven squares, wad up the paper and unfold, glue down so the entire surface is covered, even overlapped, and then finish with an outdoor quality polyurethane.
Don't forget to use the ebates cash back site and receive cash back on all of your purchases.
Turn Cracked Concrete Slab into a Beautiful Herb Garden
I have seen really cute patios made by prying up random chunks of concrete and planting herbs and low-growing flowers in the gaps. The leftover green paint would look fine with this, and you could be strategic about where you make the holes so that anything you wanted to put on the patio would be on the concrete parts. This tends to look best with a few planter scattered around the edges and some shrubs just outside the concrete part.
Since the concrete will make your dirt alkaline, you may want to avoid acid loving plants, but any of the Mediterranean herbs will love your patio as long as it gets lots of sun.
Take the Next Step
- Looking for great deals on all your home decorating needs? Overstock.com is the answer!
- Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor
More Money-Saving Tips for Your Home
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- 4 ways to pay off your mortgage earlier
- How much does it cost to cool your home?
- Monthly dishwasher maintenance that can help you save
- Natural spider control
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?
- Should I refinance my mortgage?
- Compare HELOC rates
- Check for a lower homeowners insurance rate
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?