How to Construct Concrete Patio Seat Walls
One way to turn your concrete patio into a fabulous entertaining space is to construct a concrete wall that doubles as a seating area. As well as being relatively easy to build, concrete walls are an affordable option and add an attractive dimension to any outside space. However, as with any concrete construction, an extra pair of hands is always recommended.
Step One – Choose the Position
The first step when building a cement wall is deciding where you would like to position it. Some homeowners opt to have it running all the way around the outside of the cement patio, while others prefer two walls of a smaller length with a gap in between. When choosing the position of your wall, take into consideration the views and remember that it is more difficult for people to chat on one long wall. Once you have chosen the position of your seat wall, mark out the edges using the landscaping spray paint. Seat walls should be 18 to 20 inches high and a minimum of 1 foot deep.
Step 2 - Build the Foundation
Dig out a shallow foundation for your concrete construction following the spray-painted lines on the ground. Mix up the concrete according to the instructions from the manufacturers. Consider hiring a cement mixer to make this job easier, although mixing it by hand in wheelbarrows is a cheaper option. Remember to always wear safety glasses and a dust mask when mixing concrete or mortar. Once mixed, pour the cement into the foundation making sure that it is level.
Step 3 - Build the Structure
Create your seating bench by positioning the concrete blocks in a row. These should be stacked two blocks high. How many blocks you use will depend on the length of your seat wall. Ensure the joints are staggered, as this will increase the strength of your concrete wall. Remember, this will require one of your blocks to be split in half and placed at either end. If cutting blocks is not your thing, you can simply purchase two 4 x 8 x 16 blocks to place at the two ends. Fill the cores with concrete and if you feel the wall may need extra strength, include a reinforcement bar.
Step 4 - Top it off
The top of your seat wall needs to be flat and comfortable or your guests won't be staying long! Keep in mind it is also likely to be used as a resting place for plates and glasses during barbecues and dinner parties, so making sure it is level is a must. Consider topping it with a decorative cap of brick, stone or bull-nosed cast concrete.
Step 5 - Decorate
Now comes the fun part! There are many options for decorating your seat wall, some of which are more costly than others. Soft cushions are ideal for making the concrete patio look welcoming and comfortable, while installing lights inside or around the concrete wall allows it to be both functional and decorative.