Laying Flagstone Walkways and Patios

Laying Flagstone Walkways and Patios

Flagstone is a great and very attractive landscaping material. The irregular shapes of the flat stone pieces add great natural rustic texture to the landscape. This irregularity makes installation of a flagstone walkway or patio a simple do-it-yourself task while still achieving a professional look.

Pre-paring the substrate.

The flagstone pieces need to rest on a firm level surface while still allowing good drainage beneath them. Sand or gravel will prevent moisture from accumulating. If the ground underneath gets too wet the stones can shift and move and in winter frost heaving can further lift and move the flagstones.Dig the area the flagstones are to be placed about 3 to 4 inches deep. This will depend on the thickness of your flagstone pieces and how high you want the flagstone surface to be. You will be using 2 inches of sand or crushed gravel as your base. If your stones are 2 inches thick and you want them to lay level with the surrounding ground level then you need to dig 4 inches. If you want the stones raised 1 inch then dig 3 inches.Spread the sand or gravel and compact it down till the compacted material is 2 inches thick. Be sure to add a slight slope away from structures to prevent pooling of water on the finished flagstone surface.Rent a tamper or compactor from your local rental shop to ensure good compaction. Otherwise the stones will shift around as they settle.

Cutting Flagstones

Depending on the type of rock your using for flagstones and the desired look of your project you may need to cut stones. Softer slate like stones can be cut easily, harder stone will be more difficult. Some types of stone will only require being scored with a chisel and then can be broken along the score line. For harder stones, or for creating curved cuts, rent a masonry stone saw from your rental supply store.

Laying the Flagstones

Test fit the stones by laying them out onto the compacted sand or crushed gravel base. Adjust the height and level of individual stones by adding or removing material under the stone.As you are laying the flagstones test fit various stones, or cut specific stones to fit where needed.Once all the stones are set where you want and leveled you can set the stones. Use a piece of wood, such as a length of 2x4, laid on top of a stone and tap the wood with a hammer to set the stone into the sand.With the flagstones laid in place all that is left is to fill the joints.

Filling the Joints

After laying the flagstones spread sand over the stones and work it into the joints with a push broom. The sand will need to settle and a few applications of sand will be required. Apply a second layer of sand a few hours later and perhaps a third the next day.

Wide Joints vs. Thin Joints between Flag stones

With flagstone you can set your joint width to be anything you like but there can be tradeoffs. The fill between the joints will wear away faster with wider joints. This can lead to having to refill the joints with material each year. The material in a thin joint between stones will last much longer, often a few years.Another option when working with wide joints is to place small low lying, or spreading plants into the joints. They can really give flagstone areas a fantastic natural and aged look. These small plants can be added randomly throughout the joint network. Not only do they look great but they will help hold in the jointing material.This is the basics of laying flagstone and will allow you to create a beautiful natural looking feature for your landscape.

This flagstone article provided by Atlantic Seascapes. A landscaping contractor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. A landscaper can certainly do a very professional flagstone installation and in less time than doing it yourself, but laying flagstone is one of the easiest landscaping features you can install yourself. Hopefully this article can help you on your way.