This 1,600 sq. ft. patio meets the needs of a growing family with four young children. The family had hoped to turn their sloped backyard into a more usable outdoor living space for entertaining and family use.
The architect’s primary challenge was to create a large outdoor gathering area on a sloped lot, while making it look like it was a natural part of the landscape, not a forced design. He began the process by drawing up ideas using Sketchup 3D software. He and the client soon made the decision to use ready mix for the slabs. Flagstone would have been cost prohibitive, and the concrete allowed better use of the surface as well as the grade retentions for elevation changes. 35 cu.yds. of ready mix ended up comprising 90% of this project.
A tri-level patio accommodates the natural slope of the yard and creates three distinct areas for a hot tub, an outdoor kitchen/living room, and the fire ring. Using ready mix facilitated the gentle stepping down, which was a safer alternative to a steep retaining wall for a family with young children. The division into several areas also helped avoid a “parking lot” look for the large expanse of slab. The natural contour of the hill was used as much as possible, but it was necessary in places to build up the elevation. This was accomplished with natural rock outcroppings and soil.
The project included a new poured concrete footing to support the weight of an existing hot tub. The tub was recessed 2 feet into the ground for easier access. The adjacent garden shed was also added as part of the project.
Because the house sits adjacent to a creek and woods, the owners and architect felt it was important to maintain a natural, organic look throughout the project. Here again, ready-mix proved the perfect medium. It allowed for curved, organic lines and edges on the patio and steps. A concrete sidewalk connecting the patio with the front of the house maintains the curving flow.
The surface of the concrete was stamped in a slate pattern resembling natural stone, blending into a stamped flagstone border on the edges. Light brown integral color combined with a warm brown color release resulted in a slightly variegated color surface that ties the slab in visually with other elements on site: the redwood pergolas covering the outdoor living area and hot tub; the wooden deck on the back of the house; the landscaping mulch; and the natural leaf litter in the woods.
The stamped concrete was poured during very warm and sunny conditions. The pours were done as early in the morning as possible. The early pours allowed the crew time to perform the stamping process before the final set time. A 4000 lb. stamp mix was used, which did not include any set time chemicals. A three-man crew made it necessary to use several pours, which made color matching critical.
One of the most challenging aspects of this project was working in cramped conditions. The patio is located on the edge of the property. Egress in and out of the property was difficult, and staging options were limited. The crew wanted to create the least disturbance possible to the lawn. They accomplished this by staging their materials in a location that was to be planted with trees once the project was finished.
This project was successful in incorporating many diverse elements - a hot tub deck, outdoor kitchen, fire pit area, gathering space, garden shed, and large patio expanses –while accommodating the elevation and still maintaining a cohesive appearance. The architect credits the mason and carpenter with creating everything very accurately according to his plans.