Outdoor rooms for dining and entertaining are more popular than ever, and to dress up their outdoor spaces, more homeowners are adding color to their hardscape designs, often starting with the patio. One of the biggest advantages of concrete is that it offers more color options than any other patio material.


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There are numerous ways to color concrete, including adding the color integrally to the concrete mix or applying it to the surface in the form of color hardeners, stains or dyes. You can also combine various methods to achieve unique color effects. See these ideas for enhancing your concrete patio with color.

Earth-Toned Color Schemes

Many homeowners tend to favor natural earth-toned color schemes for their concrete patios, such as browns, tans, and terra-cotta reds. These neutral colors blend in beautifully with most landscapes and exterior home colors.

Beautiful ChemistryDancer Concrete Design, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Stamped Patio Transforms Boring BackyardHudecek Cement, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Natural Stone Color Schemes

By using a combination of coloring methods, it’s possible for contractors to simulate the look of natural stone, such as slate, travertine and bluestone. Often various antiquing agents and stains are applied to a base color of concrete to achieve these multi-tonal effects and the look of natural weathering.

Concrete Patio Mimics StoneSpektrem Concrete, Palm Desert, CA
Patio Replicates Grouted StoneSalzano Custom Concrete, Centreville, Va.
Concrete Patio and Fire Pit Replicate TravertineAllen Decorative Concrete, Escondido, Calif.
Charcoal Gray Color Schemes

After brown and tan, dark gray is probably the most commonly used color for decorative concrete patios. It can be used to imitate stone, but also makes a great backdrop for bolder accent colors.

Ashlar Slate Patio in Shades of GrayNarrows Construction, Gig Harbor, WA
Gray Microtopping Enhances PatioSuncoast Concrete Coatings Inc., San Diego, Calif.
Multi-Colored Patio Art

Instead of blending your patio in with the landscape, don't be afraid to use a broader palette of hues to add more interest and make the patio a focal point. You can even use color to adorn your patio with custom artwork, such as floral patterns and sunburst designs.

Sunburst DesignConcrete Innovations, Lubbock, TX
Vine-Enhanced Patio Concrete Mystique Engraving, Nashville, TN
Tile Patterns

You can give your patio the look of a faux-tile floor by cutting it into a checkerboard or diamond pattern enhanced by contrasting colors of stain. This elegant look is ideal for formal outdoor rooms and can often be color matched to an interior tile floor.

Concrete Patio Grid DesignJohn’s Cement, Milford, Mich.


Color Choices & Tips
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Integral pigments are one of the most popular methods for coloring newly placed concrete patios. These admixtures color the entire patio slab, not just the surface, so the color won't wear away or fade. Stamped concrete contractors often use integral color in combination with topical coloring mediums, such as color hardeners and stains, to replicate the variegated, multi-tonal appearance of natural stone.

See Integral Color

Dry-shake color hardeners and pigmented release agents come as powders that are hand broadcast onto the freshly placed concrete and then worked into the surface with a float or trowel. Unlike integral pigments, which color the entire concrete matrix, hardeners color only the top surface layer. Because the color is concentrated at the surface, it tends to be more intense than integral color.

See Color Concrete with Color Hardener

Acid, or chemical-based, concrete stains are commonly used as accent colors for patios and generally come in earth-tones that blend in beautifully with outdoor color schemes. They can also be applied by hand to create custom patterns and designs.

See colors: Stain color chart

Water-based stains penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color, ranging from translucent to opaque depending on the product. They go beyond the subtle color effects of acid-based stains and come in a much broader color palette, so they are ideal for creating custom artwork on concrete. Most manufacturers offer dozens of standard colors.

See Water-Based Stains

Concrete dyes, unlike stains, don’t rely on a chemical reaction to work their magic. Instead, they penetrate into the floor to achieve complete, permanent color saturation. Dyes are available in water- or solvent-based formulations and in a vast array of colors. But not all dyes are formulated for exterior use and tend to be less UV resistant than concrete stains, so be sure to choose the right product for your application.

See colors: Dye color chart