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Using a sod cutter, rakes, picks and shovels, remove all grass, plants and weeds.
Mark the area and then level, using rakes. Remove any excess soil.
Using recycled forms or inexpensive 2x4s, create the frame for the patio. Secure frame using 1' stakes.
Apply two inches of base rock inside of frame. Compact the area.
Since pieces of slate will be the top layer of the slab, the concrete doesn't have to look perfect underneath. Pour the concrete to the top of the forms and then float (smooth out) the concrete using a floating tool or wood 2x4s. Let the concrete harden over night or at least 12 hours. Check the concrete and make sure it's hard before continuing onto the next step. Using a hammer, carefully remove the forms used to frame the concrete.