It doesn't matter where you get your ideas from for a backyard project, so long as they fit your lifestyle. In fact, the more creative or unique place that you get an idea, the more fun it can be designing your project. When homeowners in Neptune, NJ contacted Mike Hilton, owner of Hilton Concrete, for their backyard project, they described to him their idea for a multi-level, circular patio. They had been inspired for this idea from a trip to a resort. "The clients wanted to recreate something similar they had seen at the resort," says Hilton.

Working closely with the clients, Hilton helped design and bring to life the idea that they had, adding a few extra touches along the way. As a talented concrete contractor with an eye for aesthetics combined with his building expertise, Hilton provided his clients with the resort-like backyard they imagined.

"The clients wanted the patio to be different levels to make little outdoor rooms on each level. We ended up incorporating five different circles. There's a circle for eating, the bar, the fire pit, etc. It added nice depth by having the circles be at various height levels," says Hilton.

Most of the concrete is 20 inches thick with ½-inch rebar through everything. "We did this because the client would have had to do a retaining wall since the property is on a slight slope," recalls Hilton. "We decided to pour the concrete deep. At its deepest point, it retains itself. This saved the clients a lot of money from not having to do a huge retaining wall. Overall, the whole patio was one monolithic pour."

Hilton used traditional concrete and left the color as gray for now. The clients have plans to color the patio in the future. Hilton did suggest incorporating a simple pattern into the concrete by scoring 3' x 3' boxes on a 45. Also, because the home sits next to a highway, Hilton suggested incorporating a water feature to help drown out some of the road noise.

At 15' x 10' size, the water feature includes a vanishing bottom with formed out seats and benches and footrests on the inside. "The water feature is only 22" deep," says Hilton, "but because the bottom is black, it looks much deeper. Also, the clients can still relax and actually sit down in it. It retains the warmth of the sun and is almost like a hot tub."

The entire backyard patio was roughly 60' x 30'. The homeowners plan to continue to add and enhance the patio with various amenities. "Next year they plan to do an overlay system and airbrush three to four different hues of gray on each tile to give it more depth," says Hilton. "Both of the owners travel a lot on business, so when they're home, it's like a vacation. They wanted their patio to reflect that feeling. Their future design plans also include adding pergolas, creating the piers out of stone with vines and ivy."

Hilton Concrete has been in business for three years serving the New Jersey area. "I try to stand out with my work and really make all of our work custom for the customer," says Hilton. "That way they don't go over to their neighbor's house and see the same patio, driveway, water feature, etc."

Hilton Concrete, Belford, NJ

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