If you are constructing a patio, shed or a sidewalk, the process often starts with pouring a solid concrete base to provide sturdy support. Home owners can accomplish the task themselves by pouring the concrete directly on the ground in the installation area. However, the ground must be properly prepared by removing vegetation. In addition, you must construct sturdy barriers to hold the wet concrete in place until it dries.
Dig up all grass in the installation area using a shovel and throw it into a compost pile. Place a level on the ground to identify any high spots. Dig out the high areas until the installation surface is perfectly level.
Build a frame for the object you are installing by nailing together two-inch by four-inch boards using three-inch long nails. If you are building a concrete slab, the frame will be square. If you are pouring a sidewalk, the boards will be end to end on either side of the area.
Get inside the frame and dig out a four-inch deep trench around the inside perimeter of the wooden boards. The trench should be approximately five- to six-inches wide. This depression anchors the concrete to the ground by making the perimeter thicker than the center area.
Pour a bag of concrete mix into a wheel barrow and add the amount of water and sand indicated on the package. Mix the concrete up thoroughly.
Spray the dirt inside the frame with a garden hose until it is completely wet. Pour the concrete into the inside of the frame until it reaches the top of the wood. Try to pour it as close to the center as possible.
Lay a long wooden board on top of the frame and pull it across the top to smooth the excess concrete off and even out any lumps. Repeat the process until the top of the concrete is perfectly smooth.
Place a trowel flat on top of the concrete and move it in a side-to-side motion making wide arcs to further smooth the surface. As you do this, water will pool up on the surface, which is normal.
Wait 24 hours and then dissemble the wooden frame using a pry bar.