Poured concrete when used in landscape construction is a very versatile material that will take the shape of any form when wet, this allows for numerous design possibilities for patio and walkway shapes when putting together a landscape. Although a simple retangular garden patio is the easiest shaped forms to create, it may not be the most appealing shape for a given landscaped space. What if the concrete expressed the form of the overall landscape design in such a way as to support and enhance the design, bringing landscape elements together. For instance, in the picture show at left, this walk consists of a series of small patios leading to a rear door of the home, showing that with a little more consideration can produce a more creative expression which, will require more complex forming to be built, but relates to the design of the space making for very efficient function yet highly appealing design.
Once the concrete patio or walk shape has been determined by design through careful consideration of the amount of space needed and the shape that makes sense and fits with the other parts of your landscape, it is time to start laying our your patio or walk. Using a measuring tape, stake out the corners of the patio or walk in the landscape by driving wooden stakes at the outside corners. For simple rectangular patios this will mean to stake the four corners, for more complex patio shapes it may be that you will have to stake out more than four corners to be able to 'connect the dots', so to speak, with the form boards. If there are curves designed into the patio, use a flexible masonry board to create these shapes.
Grade the ground so that the slope of away from any building. This will allow for adequate drainage away from the home during rainfall events. Generally 1/4" down in grade over 1 foot of distance is more that adequate to insure proper drainage away from a building. Keeping this fact in mind the form boards should reflect the slope of the patio by maintaining the high side near the building and sloping down as your board moves away from the building. Backfill inside of the forms as necessary to the bottom of the form boards and tamp until completely compacted. This will insure that the concrrete won't settle and crack as readily once cured. Using a level set atop the form board make sure this slop is indeed away from the building. The foam boards need to be built and reinforced on the back side or outside the poured concrete area by using wooden stakes driven into the ground far enough to keep the form board from moving during the concrete pour. Remember concrete is very heavy and can easily move boards that are not securely staked in place. 1 inch by 4 inch number 2 pine is sufficient to use as the form boards unless it is necessary because of frost concerns to use a wider board for a deeper pour of concrete, but for most sub-tropical climates and soil conditions it is sufficient to use a 1"x4" form board. Take care to make sure this shape and extents of the patio or walk that it is shaped like intended by measuring the width and length of the formed space.