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Thanks to the versatility of concrete and the many decorative techniques available today for adding color and pattern, the options for making your concrete sidewalk unique are endless. Stamped patterns, concrete engraving, exposed aggregate finishes, colored concrete, intricately sawed or grooved patterns and concrete staining are just a few of the ways you can enhance your sidewalk design.

Stamped ConcreteStamped concrete has become the most popular decorative surface treatment for concrete walkways. And for good reason: Your pattern options are nearly unlimited, ranging from traditional materials such as brick, slate or flagstone, to specialized patterns such as wood planking (see Wooden Plank Walkways from Concrete) and nature-inspired botanical or wildlife motifs. Colors and patterns for stamped concrete can be chosen to blend with other hardscaping elements around your home. You can also intermingle stamped concrete with other decorative concrete treatments, such as exposed aggregate finishes and chemical staining. See stamped concrete cost chart.

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Walkway & Garden Path Ideas
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Get ideas for your yard walkways and garden paths. Visit several award winning homes to see how the designer, Scott Cohen, designed the walkways using concrete to connect the home to outdoor rooms.

Stenciled ConcreteStenciling can be a great alternative to decorative stamping while permitting similar design flexibility. Instead of rubber stamps, stenciling uses disposable paper stencils to impart brick or stone patterns in fresh concrete. Because the stencils mask off the underlying surface, they leave behind realistic "mortar joints" the color of the gray concrete base. By applying a dry-shake color hardener to the exposed concrete before stencil removal, you'll get the appearance of individual stones or bricks that have been mortared together. Stencils for concrete come in a wide array of patterns, ranging from running-bond brick to stone, slate and tile.

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Exposed Aggregate FinishesSidewalks often incorporate this colorful pebble-like finish not only for its beauty, but also for its highly slip-resistantwalking surface. Exposing the aggregate in concrete allows you to achieve spectacular decorative effects at a reasonable cost because few additional materials—other than the decorative aggregate—are required. For more dramatic results, you can enhance or complement the colors and textures of the decorative aggregate by using stones in contrasting colors or by combining areas of smooth and exposed aggregate finishes.

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Decorative Concrete Scoring and SawcuttingWith concrete saws or hand tools, permanent patterns can be sawed or grooved into a walkway or sidewalk surface, and then enhanced by color to create distinctive graphic effects, ranging from corporate logos to elaborate works of art.

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Pulling Off a Bank Job Requires a Few Accomplices

Decorative Concrete Scoring and Sawcutting for Special Effects

Colored ConcreteThere's no need to settle for a ho-hum gray concrete walkway with the many options available today for imparting rich, permanent color. Coloring is one of the easiest ways to beautify a sidewalk and give it more distinction. Coloring usually goes hand in hand with stamped or stenciled concrete, allowing you to precisely replicate the hues of natural stone or any other material.

The most popular methods for coloring exterior concrete flatwork are chemical stains, integral color and dry-shake hardeners. Each of these methods can be used alone or in combination to create unique multi-tonal effects. Many coloring methods provide myriad shades to choose from, allowing you to pick a hue that will best complement your home and surrounding landscape. Custom color matching is also possible with many products.

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Interlocking Concrete Pavers for WalkwaysConcrete pavers are available in many shapes and colors, which are often combined in the same walkway installation. Sidewalk pavers are often chosen to match or complement brick or stone veneers on the home.

Maintenance for Decorative Concrete Walkways and Concrete SidewalksThe key to the lasting beauty of decorative concrete is continuous maintenance. Maintenance is required for the concrete to retain color and texture.

See How to Maintain Exterior Decorative Concrete

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