Project requirement: Construct a decorative patio and hardscape for the common area of a side-by-side condominium structure.

Number of tradespeople to complete project: Varied by day. Anywhere from one to four, depending on the day.

Duration of project: one week

Notable items: Lighting incorporated in vertical face of patio, exposed aggregate inlays seeded with stone and cat's eye marbles, multiple accent releases simultaneously broadcast, bull-nose edging on patio, color hardener dusting of caulked joints, decorative sawcutting and scoring.

This decorative concrete project involved the use of several decorative techniques and construction phases to successfully complete. Decorative techniques used included coloring and stamping, vertical surface overlay and seeded exposed aggregate.

Phase 1: Forming the rectangular center stage patio. Forming included forming a bull-nose edge so later finishing would mimic a stone with a 2-inch bull-nose reveal. Low voltage landscape lighting was incorporated into the vertical face of the center patio between the bull-nose and the sidewalk surface. A conduit raceway for the wiring was formed into the patio and the lights were connected to an outdoor lighting transformer that automatically turns lights on at dusk. The light boxes were covered with decorative copper covers. Formed by one tradesperson.

Phase 2: Pouring the center stage patio. The patio was poured with integral color and accented with three different release colors. All accent colors were broadcast the same day, so to create the various color shades required us to shield portions of the slab while other sections were accented. The surface was textured only (no patterning). Poured by four tradespeople.

Phase 3: Surfacing vertical face of the center patio. The day after the center patio was poured, the forms were removed to expose the bull-nose edge. Color hardener was mixed into a paste and the vertical face of the patio was surfaced. The bull-nose edge was beveled at a 45-degree angle with an angle grinder. All exposed concrete edges were detailed with a color hardener paste. Surfaced by two tradespeople.

Phase 4: Scoring top surface of center patio to mimic 18-inch tile installed at angle. The 45-degree angles were marked out and then cut with a skill saw fitted with a diamond concrete blade. Once the sawcutiting was complete, the sawcut joints were cleaned and caulked with an exterior caulk. To color the white caulk, we dusted the freshly placed caulk with color hardener and melted it in place with decorative sealer application. Scored and detailed by two tradespeople.