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Old 09-12-2013, 12:18 PM  
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Anyone here know concrete?

Disclaimer: This is not about the Chiefs, but nonetheless it is quite interesting. To me, anyway.

My house sits pretty high off the street, so if you're standing on the street, here's what you encounter as you walk toward the front door.

Zone 1. Curb
Zone 2. Small Median of dirt/plants and a couple of large trees (6 feet deep)
Zone 3. Sidewalk
Zone 4. About 8 concrete steps up through a sloped area of plants.
Zone 5. Little flat concrete walkway area through plants and a couple of ornamental trees (4 feet deep)
Zone 6. Concrete open area that goes three directions - left side of house to reach side door, straight ahead to Zone 7, and right side of house to apartment door (10 feet deep)
Zone 7. About 8 more concrete steps up.
Zone 8. Front porch.

Note that I really don't have a classic lawn or "front yard". It's an older home so the house is only about 30 feet from the sidewalk, and it's up a steep slope that's mostly plants and a few decorative rocks that are too small.


Zones 4, 6, and 7 add up to a lot of concrete, and it's pretty utilitarian. While I like the "no maintenance" nature of the concrete, and it's easy to shovel snow, I'd like to increase the curb appeal.

So I talked to a guy today who does landscape construction. He gave me a couple of options:

1. Tear all of the concrete out and replace it with a new concrete that has nice patterns and trim and stuff.

2. "Clad" the existing concrete by putting stone over it and mortaring it in (or something like that).

Option 1 seems nice, but my guess is that it's also expensive. Option 2 seems like it would be more cost-effective, and the existing concrete is in good shape. However, I always worry about creating layers on outdoor stuff. I have this nightmare scenario of water seeping in between the concrete and stone and ending up with a bunch of mold or mosquito breeding ground, or just having the stuff rot and collapse. I don't think concrete really rots, but you know what I mean.

What do you think? What's the better option?
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:20 PM   #16
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Oh. I understand now.

My wife and I shovel, and it's quite a bit of shoveling. We have the sidewalk, the two sets of steps, the big Zone 6 area, the stairs down to the apartment, the walkway around the house to get to the garage, and then the walkway in the back yard to the garage. (It's a separate freestanding garage.) We don't have the kind of cash it would take to get someone else to do it, and our butler and chauffeur both had it written into their employment agreements that they don't have to shovel.

Is Option 2 harder to shovel? Because I really don't like to shovel even when it's easy.
I think both of them will be harder to shovel.

I'd find another way. I love concrete. I wish I had more at my house.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:24 PM   #17
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I think both of them will be harder to shovel.

I'd find another way. I love concrete. I wish I had more at my house.
Looking at the picture, I'd put some better mulch or some nice looking rocks around the plants.

One think I'd definitely do to increase curb appeal is replace the handrail closest to the street. I'd probably do the one closest to the house too. Get a nice design that is sturdy, get it powder coated (insist on this) and install. Instant upgrade. There are some really nice options out there that help a lot.

As much snow as you get I'd nix anything textured. I think there are some tinted concrete options that may make it stand out.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Buehler445 View Post
Looking at the picture, I'd put some better mulch or some nice looking rocks around the plants.

One think I'd definitely do to increase curb appeal is replace the handrail closest to the street. I'd probably do the one closest to the house too. Get a nice design that is sturdy, get it powder coated (insist on this) and install. Instant upgrade. There are some really nice options out there that help a lot.

As much snow as you get I'd nix anything textured. I think there are some tinted concrete options that may make it stand out.
Yeah, we're looking at replacing all of the metal. It's a bit dated. The challenge is that we live in a historic district, so we may not have carte blanche on something stylish to replace it.

I think tinted concrete is what the guy was talking about with Option 1. He suggested doing a cool pattern on our big flat area, which I think could be pretty awesome.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:16 PM   #19
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:21 PM   #20
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I'd build a giant retaining wall and expand my yard.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:24 PM   #21
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How do I vet a concrete guy?
I asked John Gruden, he said all you need to know is Tim Tebow is 250 pounds of concrete cyanide. There ya go.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:29 PM   #22
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Yeah, we're looking at replacing all of the metal. It's a bit dated. The challenge is that we live in a historic district, so we may not have carte blanche on something stylish to replace it.

I think tinted concrete is what the guy was talking about with Option 1. He suggested doing a cool pattern on our big flat area, which I think could be pretty awesome.
Why can't you stain the existing concrete, particularly since it's in good shape? This + new railing + a bit more dramatic rock/landscaping and lighting = win (and far more cost effective).
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:29 PM   #23
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As with ALL construction, you get what you want and pay for. Go cheap, get cheap. I personally wouldn't clad anything.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #24
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Yeah, we're looking at replacing all of the metal. It's a bit dated. The challenge is that we live in a historic district, so we may not have carte blanche on something stylish to replace it.

I think tinted concrete is what the guy was talking about with Option 1. He suggested doing a cool pattern on our big flat area, which I think could be pretty awesome.
Stamped concrete?
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:42 PM   #25
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If it was my house I'd probably rip out all the landscaping and start over.

1. Remove everything.
2. I'd build a short retaining wall, 18-24 inches high to create some separation from the sidewalk to the landscaping. This would also keep the mulch in place.
3. Heck, I might just terrace it so I had two different planting levels. That way you have have some plants that drape over the sides to soften things up.
4. I'd add lighting.
5. Bring in more color and texture with different plants.
6. Put in some kick ass railing system. Maybe arts and crafts to fit with the style of your home.
7. As for the concrete it self, you should either keep it, or rip it out and replace. I don't like the idea of trying to make it more appealing. I think by doing that you only draw more attention to it. If done right your landscaping will make you look past all the concrete.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:44 PM   #26
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Why can't you stain the existing concrete, particularly since it's in good shape? This + new railing + a bit more dramatic rock/landscaping and lighting = win (and far more cost effective).
You can stain existing concrete?
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:46 PM   #27
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:49 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Hoover View Post
If it was my house I'd probably rip out all the landscaping and start over.

1. Remove everything.
2. I'd build a short retaining wall, 18-24 inches high to create some separation from the sidewalk to the landscaping. This would also keep the mulch in place.
3. Heck, I might just terrace it so I had two different planting levels. That way you have have some plants that drape over the sides to soften things up.
4. I'd add lighting.
5. Bring in more color and texture with different plants.
6. Put in some kick ass railing system. Maybe arts and crafts to fit with the style of your home.
7. As for the concrete it self, you should either keep it, or rip it out and replace. I don't like the idea of trying to make it more appealing. I think by doing that you only draw more attention to it. If done right your landscaping will make you look past all the concrete.
I like the look of walls, but the maintenance scares me. I plan to live in this house forever, so I don't want the wall to start leaning and bowing when I'm 80 and can't afford to fix it. A few of our neighbors have walls, and the older ones are looking like trouble.

We're definitely going to do a great railing system. That's a big goal. I'm also hoping to add a larger light feature. We've got small yard lights that are nice, but I'd like a little more presence.

And the picture I showed was from 2006. We've got lots of plants and the trees are bigger, so those aren't going anywhere.

I really would like to bring in some really big boulders for the slope, with plants to accent them, but that would involve removing a lot of plants that we've had growing for a while. Plus, my wife is not a fan of boulders.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:52 PM   #29
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yep
Does it look good, or does it just look like painted concrete?

I guess with the power of the internet, I can probably just google some pictures, can't I?
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #30
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Wow. Stained concrete floors look cool. Would that work with outdoor concrete that's the more textured stuff?

I want to do something like this just below my top set of steps.

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