While mix concrete is commonly associated with mixing trucks and commercial-grade mixers, home do-it-yourselfers can reliably mix up small quantities of concrete with simple tools. It is possible to mix smaller quantities of concrete by hand, without using an electric mixer. You will use just a garden hoe and shovel, a mixing basin such as a wheelbarrow, and a clean water source such as a garden hose.

Determining the concrete mixing plant or determining the ratio of concrete mixtures is a process during which the correct combination of cement, aggregates, water and additives to make concrete according to the given specifications can be achieved. Although to date several precise technical principles have been recorded in determining the mixing ratio of concrete, for various reasons it has been proven that these processes are not based on scientific principles and are more of experimental art.

Although most of us engineers do not feel comfortable with topics for which certain simple relationships (such as the compression member buckling-Euler relationship) are not developed, knowing that mixing ratios can have a significant impact on the price and properties of concrete (Such as efficiency, strength and durability), inevitably by understanding the basic principles and to some extent repetition and practice we can learn this experimental art, which happens to be a great reward (including lowering the price and increasing the strength of concrete) will do.

How Much Concrete to Mix at a Time

Batch quantities with this method are limited to one or two 50-pound bags of concrete. Mixing more than 100 pounds of concrete with a hoe is physically difficult, plus the concrete may begin to harden before you can get the entire batch mixed. Most do-it-yourselfers will find that mixing one bag of 50-pound concrete at a time is the most comfortable batch quantity.

Consumption of Concrete Materials When Mix Concrete

The first thing you need to know about mixing materials is the right amount of material for 3,000 units per square inch, which is enough for most household chores. The amount of mixture is very important and must be precisely proportioned until the material is strong enough and durable for household chores. The four main materials should be mixed according to the following guide to make 3,000 units per square inch: one part cement, three parts sand, three parts sand and one part water.

Note that the ratio of water to cement determines the strength and rigidity of the material. A common mistake that housewives make in mixing is to add more water to make the mixture easier and smoother. This creates loose materials with less production efficiency. On the other hand, reducing the amount of water hardens materials that are very difficult to mix and work with.

The Amount of Concrete Required

Five gallons of concrete mix is enough for small household chores. Simply follow the mentioned ratios and use measuring tools to do this: a bucket of cement, three buckets of sand, three buckets of sand and a bucket of water. Not only is this a good enough mix for most of your small home repair work, but it also builds about 3,000 units per square inch.

Concrete mixing


For small tasks, it is enough to pour the materials into the wheelbarrow and mix them with a rake or shovel. Larger jobs require an electric concrete mixer that rotates and mixes the materials together, eliminating the hassle of manual mixing. In either case, whether the truck or the concrete machine, the amount of mixture is the same.

Useful tip

If you think your work requires more concrete, just increase the amount of each material evenly. For example: If you used two buckets of cement, you should now add six buckets of sand, six buckets of aeolian sand and two buckets of water.

Tips For Increasing Concrete Working Time

Quick-mix concrete begins to set in around 20 to 40 minutes. This means that you have less than 20 minutes to fully mix the concrete and pour it.

To maintain these tight parameters, you’ll need to have all of your materials and tools ready and nearby. Every extraneous action only cuts into the concrete’s working time.

  • With the garden hose, pour out 8 cups (or 1/2-gallon) of water in the measuring cup and then into the bucket. Mark the waterline with the indelible marker.
  • Place the hoe, shovel, bucket of water, measuring cup, and garden hose (faucet on, hose controlled with a sprayer) within reaching distance of the wheelbarrow.
  • Mix the concrete as close to the pour site as possible.
  • Work with an assistant. One person devotes their attention to mixing, while the other person adds water and steadies the wheelbarrow.
  • If working alone, brace the wheelbarrow while mixing the concrete by stepping on one of the wheelbarrow’s stands with your foot or by supporting the side of the basin with your knee.

Concrete achieves 400 psi of compressive strength within about two hours and 1,000 psi within 24 hours. Concrete is considered fully cured in 28 days, but it is usually useable in about a day or two, depending on the application.

What You’ll Need

Mix Concrete Equipment / Tools

  • Wheelbarrow or large mortar tub
  • Garden hoe
  • Shovel
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Clean bucket
  • Measuring cup
  • Utility knife
  • Indelible marker

Mix Concrete Materials

  • 1 quick-mix concrete, 50-pound bag
  • Freshwater supply


  1. Pour Out the Bag of Concrete
    For a clean pour that minimizes dust, set the bag of concrete on end in the wheelbarrow. Hold the top of the bag with one hand and use the other hand to slice off the top of the bag with the utility knife. Gently push the bag on its side and slowly pour out the concrete mix. Keep the mix sequestered on one side of the wheelbarrow or mixing basin for now.
  2. Pour the Water
    Pour the prepared bucket of water into the open side of the wheelbarrow or basin.
  3. Slowly Fold Concrete In With Water
    With the hoe, gradually pull material from the concrete side of the basin into the water. Make sure that the product is mixed into the water before pulling in more of the product.
  4. Mix the Concrete Together
    When all of the concrete and water are mixed, continue to mix until you remove all air pockets or dry sections.
  5. Assess and Amend the Concrete If Needed
    The concrete should have a peanut butter-like consistency. It should not be soupy. If so, add a small amount of dry concrete to stiffen the mix. Nor should the mix be powdery. If so, add up to 2 cups of water, one cup at a time.
    Drag the hoe once through the mix, with the hoe touching the bottom of the basin. The concrete groove’s sides should stand firm. When you pat the concrete with the hoe or a shovel, it should remain flat.
  6. Clean the Tools
    Immediately after pouring the concrete, clean the tools (unless you will be mixing up more concrete). Put the tools in the wheelbarrow, spray them clean, then stand them up to the side to dry. Spray the inside of the wheelbarrow clean of all concrete residue.
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