Nothing typifies the joy of warm weather more than outdoor living areas and a good many present homeowners are adding these outdoor living spaces to their current homes. One of the more inexpensive ways to do this is through the addition of a patio. Because of this, the patio market is a fast growing one for contractors since the trend is toward more fresh air and sunshine living. To build a patio, first remove sod and soil from the area that is to be concreted. In case of heavy clay soil that drains poorly, place 4 to 6 inches of crushed stone, sand or gravel in the site. Two by four forms are set on edge and nailed to stakes that are spaced about 4 feet apart. Before concrete can be placed, forms or screeds must be at the proper level. A builder's level can be used to determine grade by sighting a measuring rod or rule, set at an established grade. The rod is then moved to where the form or screed will be placed, and a stake- driven in the ground at this point-is raised or lowered to the desired height. To determine the top level of the form, a string line is strung tautly from stake to stake at the marked position. Forms are then set by following the string line. Concrete should contain enough water so it has a relatively stiff consistency, works easily and does not segregate. Place the concrete as near to its final position as possible and don't overwork it while it's still plastic, since excess water or fine material will rise the surface. After water sheen disappears from the surface, and the concrete begins to stiffen, other finishing procedures can be completed. An edger, run across patio edges, prevents chipping or other damage to the slab. The patio can be floated after the edging operation. Special patio finishes such as creating a carved flagstone look or textured finishes can also be used. Curing follows immediately after finishing.