Refurbishing Concrete

A 'New' Patio and Walkway for Less

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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.
Stacy O.

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.

Living Better Tip: How to Decorate Your Patio Inexpensively

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.

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.

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