Concrete Jungle

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Concrete Slab

It’s a Jungle Out There

And by out there, I mean in the back yard. Hey life is what you make it – maybe it’s just a simple pile of hardened dirt, but it’s pretty darn exciting to us. The yard is really coming together! And you may even notice a new addition out there…

This task involved a lot of 2×4’s, H₂O and this:

DIY concrete slab

Good ol’ concrete. Joe has a lot of toys with wheels that he constantly brings in and out of the garage, so he decided to make a ramp out the back door. I know he’d love a double-door garage someday so he can move BIG toys in and out, but for now this does the trick. (And the bunnies like lounging on it too.)

how to make a concrete walkout

First, Joe removed all the rock beds and dirt from the doorway.

how to pour a concrete slab

He dug a rectangle out and cut the plastic that was holding in the rock.

digging an area for a walkout

Then he framed out the area for the concrete.

DIY garage ramp

He also removed the weather strip for this.

DIY garage walkout

He reinforced the concrete by laying down scrap beams (rebar).

how to pour concrete

This prevents cracks and breakdown over time.

how to pour concrete for a garage walkout

Onto the Mixing

concrete mixing and framing

I told you that while I was baking up a storm, Joe was mixing up trouble…

tools for mixing concrete

Well this is it!

pouring concrete

Amy, we need to get your wheelbarrow back to you.

pouring concrete mix

It might be a little dirtier after this excursion.

adding water to concrete mix

Here’s the fun part.

wetting concrete mix

At one point I had to keep raking the mixture while Joe ran to the store because we needed more.

adding water to concrete mixture stirring

It hardens really quickly and is very heavy.

raking concrete mix

We added a new mixture to the first batch,

pouring and leveling concrete mixture

making sure to keep it wet until we had it settled where we wanted it.

how to pour concrete mixture

I’ll go into some details.

Pouring

concrete mix consistency

We mixed the concrete as the bag instructed.

how much water to add to concrete mix

And gradually poured it into the box.

raking and leveling concrete mix 2x4

 Smoothing and leveling it flush with the rake until it was all distributed evenly.

Then Joe was able to level it off with that smooth edge, wiggling his way down.

smoothing out concrete slab

Remember, you can always add water if it looks too clumpy. We smoothed out the tight corners with a hand trowel.

leveling concrete with 2x4

There will be some inconsistencies with the texture, but that’s just concrete. Once it was looking pretty smooth, we let it set.

Dry Time

After it’s solidified enough, we removed the wooden frame and let it finish. Letting it dry and harden over night, here’s the end result.

how long does concrete take to dry

It’s got the slow slope we were going for.

making an angled concrete slab

At this point, we filled the dirt and rocks back in.

making a concrete slab ramp

Not a bad little walkway!

After

DIY concrete walkway

I guess we could have extended the concrete a little further so we wouldn’t need this wooden extension.

how to make a concrete ramp

But maybe we can pack in the dirt a little there?

DIY concrete path yard

It’s been handy so far.

landscaping

And Joe’s done a bit more landscaping with all those rocks from the neighbors.

yard work

Funny how we just finished landscaping.

Now winterizing is the name of the game. Joe’s already put his boat in the garage for the season. Before you know it, we’ll be raking/mowing up leaves. Sigh. Concrete is not too spendy. Think of the possibilities – We could pour our own foundation for a garage, make a patio, do a walkway or path, extend a driveway or anything else small-scale.

How’s your fall going?

Bonus question: Did you notice the trampoline?

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