Everything You Need to Know to Pour a Concrete Patio

by TRP Ready Mix on May 11, 2018

A scooter is parked outside on the patio of a restaurant.

Industry Tips for Building Patios with Ready Mix Concrete

Patio season is finally here, Ottawa! If you’re ready to enjoy your own outdoor patio this summer, why not build one yourself?

Using ready mix concrete, you can build a durable base for outdoor patios that will last a lifetime. Contact your local ready mixed concrete supplier and follow these steps for building your own concrete patio.

Checklist – Tools & Materials You’ll Need


  • Shovel;
  • Tamp;
  • Hammer or drill;
  • Tape measure;
  • Level;
  • Wheelbarrow;
  • Edger;
  • Bull float;
  • Nails or screws; and,
  • Steel or magnesium float.


  • Gravel or crushed rock;
  • Concrete mix and water or ready mixed concrete;
  • Wood stakes;
  • Rope string; and,
  • 2x4s.


  • Joints;
  • Aluminum screed; and,
  • Steel concrete form.

Tips to Help Your Prepare

Before ordering ready mixed concrete, you’ll first need to figure out how much concrete you’ll need for the project. Decide on a flat, convenient location for your patio and try to determine how large it will be.

Make sure you are compliant with local building regulations and check the location of underground utility lines and septic tanks. You absolutely must avoid digging into these and be sure not to build your patio on an area that may need to be accessed in the future.

Drive stakes into the corners of the patio area and tie strings between them. This will give you a visualization and therefore more accurate dimensions for your patio.

This border will also help you determine slope with a line level. For uneven ground, you can either dig out the high side or build up the low side. Use a hoe, shovel, or other gardening tool to remove grass, weeds, and topsoil from the roped-off area.



If you want your patio to be level with the ground, dig eight inches deep. Alternatively, for a raised patio, dig four inches deep. Next, tamp the earth to make it even and compact.

Adding Foundation

For patios that will hold heavy weight—i.e. a brick barbecue—first pour a layer of concrete for a more stable foundation. Otherwise, add a layer of gravel or crushed rock, and tamp until compact and even.

Add More Stakes

Drive sturdy stakes slightly outside of the original stakes and space the new ones at least two feet apart.

Installing the Frame (Form)

Cut 2x4s to the length and width of the patio and line them along the inside of the patio’s string border. These should be directly under the string since they are acting as the outer walls of your patio.

Next, nail or screw the 2x4s to the stakes. Check the level of the forms as you nail them to the stakes.

Saw off the top of the stakes just below the edge of the forms. If pouring concrete next to a house, structure, or slab of concrete, place an isolation joint between the concrete and the other surface.

Finally, coat the form boards with vegetable oil or a commercial releasing agent.


Mix the concrete with water in a wheelbarrow, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Or have ready mix concrete delivered and poured professionally.

If pouring on your own, pour the concrete all at once and have someone help you shovel out the concrete. Push the concrete into all corners of the patio area with a shovel.

Use an aluminum screed or a flat piece of 2×4 wood to level the top of the concrete, working from one end to the other in a sawing motion. Having a helper holding the screed or 2×4 on the other end will make this easier.


Smooth the surface with a bull float, moving back and forth to fill in low spots.

Slide an edger between the concrete and the forms to create a rounded edge.

Once the concrete can support your weight, cut grooves in the concrete every eight feet to act as control joints. Then use a steel or magnesium float to finish smoothing out the surface.

Cover with plastic or a curing compound and allow to cure for at least two days before removing the form boards.

Lastly, enjoy your new concrete patio this summer!