Creative Uses for Concrete in Exterior Design

What kind of images does the word “concrete” bring to mind? If all you can imagine is a drab, grey slab of rock, it’s time to get with the times! Concrete is capable of being molded, colored, stained and textured into an unbelievable array of designs, easily making it one of the most versatile building materials on the market. Add in the fact that concrete is super strong, can last a lifetime and affordable to boot, and it’s no wonder why concrete is a hot commodity in exterior design.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use concrete to achieve the architecture and landscaping of your dreams.

Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is a landscaping staple. It effectively looks like you’ve got a hillside in half. In some cases, that might be exactly what you’re doing, and in other instances, you artificially create a hill to add some variety to an otherwise flat landscape.

A concrete retaining wall allows you to plant flowers and vines above it that cascade down in floral waterfalls. The wall itself can be a thing of beauty if made to look like stone or brick. Add a colored acid wash for a gorgeous finishing touch.

Fire Pit

Is there an area of your yard that is just lacking a little extra interest? Why not put in a fire pit? Pour a concrete circle, stamp it to look like Roman tiles, and paint each individual section with a different color acid wash to make it look like you have a fully customized and expensive fire pit. The concrete is fire proof. Just make sure you neutralize the acid wash with baking soda before testing it out.

Exterior Siding and Accents

Anything you can do to concrete flat on the ground, you can do to concrete vertical on the wall. That means you can make your home look like it has a brick exterior without all of the labor and material costs, or you can make the exterior look like stacked stone. The possibilities are endless, especially when you consider all of the color options at your disposal.

According to one Houston ready mix provider, the concrete itself can be colored a base color (also known as an integral color) via a powder that is mixed in along with the concrete at the ready mix plant or in the mixer truck. This ensures that the concrete is a uniform color and that the color is permanent. There is no risk of paint flaking off of your exterior! The stamps used to create the look of stone or brick will also leave little indentations for added depth, and a secondary color combined with a final acid wash will bring these indentations to life with highlights and shadows. It will look exactly like the real thing, but your bank account won’t be quite so sparse at the end of the job.

Spruce Up an Entry Space

You know your concrete patio can be stamped to look like brick, cobblestone or tile. The same is, of course, true for your driveway. But have you ever thought to give the same custom treatment to your porch or other entry space?

Totally customize the walk way, stairs and porch to give an amazing first impression to guests who come to your home. Mix and match the colors, textures and designs in the concrete to make it look like it was put together from multiple materials. Few will know your little secret: it’s all concrete!

Ponds and Waterfalls

Easily create a pond and water features using concrete. The exterior portion can be poured into molds that make the concrete look more like large river stones, or you can choose virtually any other look, including a block that mimics smooth granite. That’s the beauty of concrete: it can be made to look virtually any way you want it to. Polish the exterior for a smooth texture and add a top coat of acid wash or another design element to make the surface really shine.

Other Landscaping Designs

Do you want a brick or stone border around all of your flower beds? Do it with concrete. How about a slate walkway from your back door to your garden? Concrete! Want lamp pillars, driveway pillars, gate posts or even entire walls that are solid and textured the same way as your home’s exterior or accents? Concrete has got it all covered.

Once you start thinking about everything you’d like to accomplish in your exterior designs, you’ll find very little that concrete can’t do. Call a professional in your area to make your plans a reality with concrete.

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Cathy HabasThis article was written by Cathy Habas for Hutbay Blog. Cathy is a professional freelancer who loves writing informative and interesting articles on interior design and home renovation.

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