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Project Backyard: Pouring a Concrete Pad

“Do it right the first time, no matter the cost, because in the long run it will cost less to maintain.” ~ J

More often than not, ‘J’ approaches our projects with this philosophy in mind. Take our shed project for example. I wanted to drive to The Home Depot, purchase a prefab shed, plop it down on the grassy patch in our backyard that has been earmarked for “shed,” and call it a day! Turns out, it’s not that easy. In order to get the shed design I really want, we are going to need to build it ourselves… from scratch… essentially taking our project from bing-bang-boom-done, to nails, saws, tape measure, screws, wood, shingles, windows, eaves troughs… and of course a concrete pad.

It might seem unnecessary, but pouring a concrete pad is one of the best things you can do in order to ensure the strength of a shed. Again, it’s the “do it right the first time,” mind-set. A solid concrete footing will prevent the shed from shifting, sinking, or even moving from its base. The whole process was not overly complicated, and can be completed in a few steps:

Dig the Bed // Depending on how deep you would like your concrete pad, dig a hole 3-8 inches deep. Digging the bed for the gravel was not fun because of our “clay like” soil.

Fill with A-Gravel // After digging the bed fill it with A-gravel and use a plate tamper to get it nice and compacted. We had rented our tamper for a 2 days, so we went over it a few times the following day.

Construct the Forms // Using 2×4 or 2×6’s create a box on the inside of your bed. If the wood extends past the top of your bed you may want to use stakes to keep the wood securely in place – you don’t want the concrete to push the boards out of shape. We used 7+ stakes on each side.

Rebar // Using rebar in the concrete will help add strength, so if the slab does crack it will keep everything aligned.

Pour in Your Concrete & Level // It may take several wheelbarrow trips, but you eventually fill this form up! Use your shovel to work out any air bubbles. Using a 2×4, skim the top of the pad to remove excess concrete and to level. Using a bull float, smooth the surface. If you like a brushed look, use a broom to add texture. Finish the edges with an edging trowel. Have a beer because you are almost done.

Add Your Initials // These will be our little secret…

Now that the pad is in, ‘J’ and I are putting the finishing touches on our engineered drawings of the shed and pulling together our materials list… and the real fun is about to begin!

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  1. Any chance you remember how much this slab cost you? My husband and I are about to embark on a similar project 🙂

  2. Hi Kim, the total cost to pour this slab was about $550. That includes the delivery of the concrete via a cement truck (we didn't mix this amount ourselves), the forms, the rebar, the rental of the tamper plate, etc. Hope that helps!

    Good luck to you and your husband! 🙂

  3. What was the Size of the slab? what X what? I have a 20 X 20 shed? my e-mail address is and the thickness of your slab?

  4. Hi Jeff, the slab pictured above is 10×10. It is approximately 8 inches thick around the outside, and 6 inches thick in the middle. We added an extra two inches around the outside to support the weight of the walls for the shed. Hope this answers your question!