Concrete is a durable construction material chosen more for its strength and versatility than for its raw appearance. It's also more affordable and fitting for a do-it-yourself project than natural stone. After pouring and manipulating concrete so it's smooth, you can press a stamp over the surface while it's wet to give it a pebble finish. Consider applying a coloured sealant to embellish the patterned surface with a complementary colour.
Clean off the concrete surface with a hose and a scrub brush if you are adding the finish to an existing concrete surface. Use a power washer if the surface is weathered and has dirt embedded in the cracks. To create a pebble finish on old concrete, you'll need to pour a fresh layer of concrete over the top so you can impress the pattern with a stamp.
Coat the old surface with a layer of bonding adhesive according to the instructions on your package.
Rub a thin layer of mould release agent over the concrete stamps so it doesn't stick to the surface.
Mix enough concrete to add a 2-inch layer over the old surface or enough to pour a 4-inch-thick slab if you're pouring a new walkway or patio. Use a concrete mixer or a wheelbarrow and blend until the mixture is thick but spreadable.
Pour the concrete over the old surface or into forms. Spread it by dragging a long 2-by-4 board across the top. Go over the surface with a long-handle squeegee to fill in any flaws and smooth it out.
Press the pebble-pattern stamp into the concrete within 15 minutes of pouring it.
Ensure that each stamp is aligned with the previous stamp before you press it down. Tap the stamp with a rubber mallet to press it evenly on all sides, then lift it straight up by the handle or handles to remove it.
Use a spray pump or roller brush to coat the surface with penetrating sealant. The sealant will fill the pores to protect it from water damage.