The great backyard patio makeover

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Q: My backyard consists mainly of a concrete slab patio and a retaining wall made from concrete blocks. It's so gray that even the trailing rosemary and bougainvilleas I've planted look washed out. I was considering painting the patio with thinned-out paint in a terra-cotta color (something to coordinate with the painted stucco on the house). Would this be a viable option or something I should leave to the professionals? How would I make sure that the paint wouldn't wear off? I've seen patios painted before where the paint starts to peel and bubble. A: It's time to put a little color in your life, and you can do it yourself -- no pros needed. The thinned-out paint look you're after will be handsome. The color and texture will not be uniform because your patio concrete is porous. You'll get a mottled effect that we think is attractive. Your reservations about painting the patio are well founded, as painted concrete ultimately chips and flakes. Once the chipping process star...