Backyard entertaining is bigger than ever. And why not? It’s tough to beat spending a warm summer evening in the yard with family and friends, a few favorites on the grill, and a cold beverage to wash away the cares of the day.
Look through most of the lifestyle magazines, though, and they’ll tell you that entertaining in style outdoors requires an elaborate (meaning expensive) space with a backyard kitchen, a wet bar, and an outdoor entertainment system. Really? Whatever happened to just kicking back and having a good time on the patio?
As much as I hate to break it to those who push style on folks with deep pockets, entertaining on the patio can be just as fun. And, as you can see above, a patio can have plenty of style. Plus, you can create it without emptying your pockets.
In fact, if you have two days and an extra $200, you can turn your drab concrete slab into an appealing entertainment area. The secret is a simple concrete staining kit made by Rust-Oleum that you can pick up at a home center. It comes with everything you need to turn plain concrete into a richly colored surface with a mottled appearance that mimics stone.
Clean and Prep the Concrete
Start by Cleaning the Patio
If the concrete is dirty, the stain simply won’t stick. It will just sit on the dirt and get washed away during the next hard rain.Cleaning isn’t difficult. The manufacturer of the stain we used says you can simply scrub the concrete with soapy water and a stiff-bristled brush. But I recommend using a pressure washer, especially on old or rough-surfaced concrete. Though our concrete didn’t look particularly dirty, we were amazed by how much dirt the pressure washer flushed out.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one for a few hours very economically. I recommend choosing a gas-powered washer because they produce higher pressure than most of the electric models
Etch For Success
To etch the concrete, use a watering can to drizzle the solution onto a few square feet at a time. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then scrub it in using a stiff brush.
Spray on the Stain Colors
Lay Down the Base
Before you apply the base, you need to decide what final look you want for your patio. That’s because with this system, you can apply either color first.
Once you’ve made your decision, mask off any areas you need to protect. Then brush or roll stain onto any hard-to-reach areas.
After that, you simply apply the stain using a pump sprayer. There’s no real trick to this. Just keep the sprayer pumped up to maintain pressure, hold the nozzle at a consistent height above the surface, and keep the nozzle moving in small overlapping circles. You want to cover 100 percent of the surface with this first color.