You should lay concrete as close to its final location as possible. Handling and moving concrete can cause it to break.
Step One: Laying
Have your concrete poured directly from the truck to the slab location. For smaller projects mix your concrete at the site where you plan to use it.
It's best to use a short handled square shovel to spread the concrete around. A rounded shovel will not give you an even smooth surface.
Do not pour large piles and then try to spread it out. Start at one edge and work your way across the site.
Step Two: Finishing
Depending on your project you need to give the surface of your concrete a finish. For surfaces that need grip like steps, broom them. This will give the concrete a rough texture.
For surfaces that need a smooth finish, scrape or strike-off them. This cuts off the excess concrete by moving a straight edge over the entire surface.
Large concrete projects need jointing. This prevents ugly cracks from forming.
You can insert wood or plastic strips to make joints in the concrete. You can also make sawcut joints after the concrete has hardened.
If you are jointing the concrete, you need to float the surface after you place the strips. This gives you a clean exterior by embedding any aggregate just below the surface.
Step Three: Curing
Concrete will take about a week to cure before it is usable. During this time you need to prevent it from getting too hot, cold, or damp.
If you don't cure the finished concrete it will have spider cracking. The surface will also dust off during use.