How to Frame Concrete Patios

patio and fire pit
What You'll Need
Garden shovel
Marking flags or spray paint
Measuring tape
Wood, plastic or rubber strips
Rebar (reinforced steel bars)

If you are renovating your backyard, it may be necessary for you to learn how to frame concrete patios. Since we are only discussing how to actually frame the patio here, we will leave the mechanics of how to buy, mix, and pour your concrete for another day.

Step 1 - Plan

There is a significant amount of planning that must precede the actual pouring of concrete when constructing a patio. First and foremost, you will need to determine how big you would like your patio to be, and its exact shape. Using some sort of marking device (flags or spray painted lines are popular choices), mark off the area where you would like your patio to eventually be installed.

Step 2 - Prepare Area

building a frame for concrete

Once you have determined the shape and size that your patio will be, you will need to prepare the area for the frame and concrete that will follow. To do this, use a garden shovel to dig up about six inches of soil in the area where you will be pouring your concrete. Eventually, around two inches of this space will be filled with gravel and the remaining four inches will be filled by poured concrete.

Step 3 - Frame Materials

Since you will be pouring gravel, and eventually concrete, into the space where your patio will rest, you will need some sort of frame to make sure that the gravel and concrete stay in place throughout this process. Frames for this purpose will usually be made out of wood, but in some cases you may prefer to use either strong plastic or rubber to accomplish the same goal.

Step 4 - Set Frame

Once you have purchased boards and cut them to the correct dimensions, you will need to sink them into the ground inside the hole that you have already dug in your yard. The boards should be placed just inside of the walls that have been dug to help frame the concrete area.

Step 5 - Pour Gravel

pile of rocks next to tools

As stated above, the first layer that will go into your frame before any concrete is mixed or poured, will be a two-inch layer of gravel. Pour gravel in as evenly as possible throughout the entire floor of the space you have created. After pouring in gravel, walk over the area several times in order to ensure that the gravel is settled and even throughout the area.

Step 6 - Install Rebar

In order to make sure that your concrete is reinforced and will not be susceptible to cracking, you will need to install rebar on top of the gravel before you pour any concrete. Rebar should be installed in a grid pattern every two feet or so, one on top of the other until the remaining space is filled.

Step 7 - Prepare and Pour Concrete

Now that your patio is properly framed, you will be ready to mix and pour your concrete.