Should You Rent A Concrete Mixer
Small orange concrete mixer

If you’re facing down a concrete project, you might be wondering what kind of equipment will be necessary. Here you will learn about appropriate projects for both mixing paddles attached to drills and concrete mixing and pouring equipment.

Mixing Paddle Projects

A mixing paddle is best applied to projects that require little concrete or that can be taken piecemeal over time. If you’re very busy, and have only a few moments here and there to work on your project, you’ll want to use a mixing paddle instead of repeatedly renting a mixer. Here are a few projects well suited to the use of a mixing paddle.

Yard Artwork: Making a focal point for your yard with concrete is easy, affordable, and can take up very little of your time. You can make decorative stepping stones with nothing but some glass pieces laid out into a mosaic and an old pie or cake pan. You could make a bird bath with nothing but a big leaf and some sand. Concrete is so versatile that you can really do almost anything with it.

Broken-Down Big Projects: If you have something really big you need to accomplish in your yard, but don’t like the idea of renting a mixer and spending all weekend on it, consider breaking that project down into bite-sized pieces. Pouring a concrete patio is an impossible task to accomplish with a mixing paddle, but altering your design a little can create a similar result. Instead of pouring a solid concrete patio, why not try creating a combination patio and green space? Just follow these steps:

  • Excavate the patio area to a depth of 3 inches;
  • Lay 2 inches of medium-fine gravel;
  • Use the stepping stones project listed above to create the solid surface of your patio. Place the stones 2-3 inches apart. You can use larger molds if you prefer to make the project go faster;
  • Use a rubber mallet to make sure the stones are positioned levelly and solidly into the gravel;
  • Top off with top soil in all the space between stones and plant with your favorite low ground cover.

Customizing your patio this way is a fun family project, even though it will take longer than renting a mixer and pouring a slab.


Mixer Projects

As much as you might like the idea of being creative and handy in your yard, some projects are too big to break up. Here is how to accomplish two of those tasks.

Pouring a Sidewalk: If you’re creating a new concrete path through your yard, you’ll need to excavate to a depth of 8 inches. Fill this hole with 4 inches of gravel and smooth it out as levelly as possible. Along each side, secure wooden boards to the inside of the path, with a board placed perpendicular to the sides every 4 feet. This will help keep the concrete smooth and level. Pour the concrete and smooth it, then let it cure for an hour. Scrape the edges to create a finished look, and add expansion joints at the perpendicular boards to allow the sidewalk to expand without cracking.

Pouring a Basketball Court: The process of pouring a basketball court is very similar to that of pouring a sidewalk, with a few adjustments. You will need to make a grid with your boards to keep the concrete level and smooth, and install your goals by sinking them 18 inches into the ground before pouring the slab. Pour the concrete onto court, using the same leveling and smoothing process as for sidewalks.

Using the right tool for the job will make your work more enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to tackle DIY concrete projects, just make sure you’re set up with the right equipment!