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How To Install Bluestone Patio

Laying Stone Patio Overview

How to Install an Urban Bluestone Patio | Ask This Old House

Sketch out the project on graph paper first to minimize cuts, stagger the joints, and estimate how much amterial you’ll need. Bluestone comes in rectangles and squaresfrom 1- to 4-foot-square peices., in 6-inch increments. One ton of stone dust, for a 1-inch setting bed, will cover about 200 square feet. A ton of pack laid at 3-inches will cover 75 sqaure feet.

Align delivered stone near the side where you will finish the patio so you don’t have to retrieve materials over just laid stones.

Rent a skid-steer loader to clear away debris and dig the patio base.

Locate and mark any in-ground gas, electric, water or phone lines by spray-painting the ground.


If you live where the ground freezes or drains poorly, dig down at least 12 inches to save your new patio from being heaved by frost. Those living in mild climates where the soil is sandy and drains well should excavate down to 6 inches.

Step 2

Drive 3-foot stakes into the ground 1 foot outside the corners of the patio area.

Set a builder’s level in the middle. Find a benchmarka spot where the patio meets the house. Look through the level’s scope while a helper holds a leveling rod at the benchmark and moves the rod’s marker until it falls in the scope’s crosshairs.

Then, at any stake, have your helper, with the marker at the established point, move the rod up or down until the marker falls in the crosshairs.

Dig 6 to 12 inches below finish grade to reach the subgrade. Tamp it with a plate compactor.


Step 3

Types Of Bluestone Paver Cuts

You can cut your bluestone pavers in a range of shapes, from the regular square, rectangle, triangle to random forms to fit your desired bluestone patio design.

The general cuts for bluestone pavers are the irregular bluestone pavers and the regular bluestone pavers. Irregular bluestone pavers as the term suggests comes without a uniform color or size while the regular bluestone or also termed, thermal bluestone comes with standard color and size.

Irregular Bluestone Pavers Usually termed as flagstone shape works better with rustic or naturalistic patio themes. As a rule of thumb, free forms of patios use the irregular paver cut since its easier to fit along edges and corners. They also look great for circular or round patios.

Regular Bluestone Pavers Also termed as thermal bluestone is suitable with regular patio shapes such as rectangular or square boundaries because of its uniformity.

Varieties of Bluestone Pavers

In the U.S. there are two main varieties of bluestone pavers namely Pennsylvania Bluestone which is a sandstone and Shenandoah Bluestone limestone.


Fill Patio With Pea Gravel

Get your wheelbarrow ready, and start loading it up with gravel! I bought this dump cart with a quick-release specifically for this project to make the process easier. It felt like I made a million trips from the side of the house where the gravel was dumped to the backyard patio.

Spread out the rocks with a metal rake over the entire patio area.

When youve filled it about an inch, use the tamper to stabilize and compact the gravel patio base layer.

Then fill the rest of the patio with even more pea gravel, and rake it smooth.

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Cost To Install A Bluestone Patio Calculator

Cost Calculator
Range for this type of project:$2,073
$1,496arrow_drop_down
Cost of residential-grade, 1″-thick irregular patio pavers with natural cleft texture. Rate is inclusive of local delivery, as well as standard excess for perfect installation and occasional repairs.
Bluestone Patio Labor, Basic$1,176arrow_drop_down
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete installation. Area to be paved will be laid out, marked, and excavated. 4″ base gravel, edge border, and 2″ of bedding sand will be laid. Stone will be assembled, set, and leveled, and polymer-modified sand added to joints. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Bluestone Patio Job Supplies
Requisite supplies for the job, including cutting and grinding materials, mortar, and reinforcement.
Bluestone Patio Equipment Allowance$79arrow_drop_down
Daily rental of specialty equipment that maximizes the quality and efficiency of the work. These include a 115V wet masonry saw, 5-cubic-foot mortar box, and small plate compactor. Consumable equipment elements not included.
Optional Services
$194arrow_drop_down
Existing sidewalk, slab, or driveway will be excavated with hand tools to a uniform depth below final surface level. Excavation material will be distributed on site.

Diy Vs Contractor: It Takes An Artistic Eye

How to Install a Bluestone Patio (VIDEO) & Instructions ...

The naturally occurring irregular shapes and colors of flagstones mean that putting together a patio is more like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It takes time and an artistic eye to know what pieces should go together and how to shape the stones to match the desired area. If your patio has a lot of border areas, it can take skill and time to shape the stones to fit them correctly.

One solution is to use a less defined pattern and put more space between the stones. By letting the size and shape of the stones dictate the pattern, you will have less trimming and shaping to do. This will save you time on the installation and give your patio shape a more natural look.

Breaking stones isnt as difficult as it may sound . A light hammer tap on the edge should break off pieces fairly easily. Or you can try dropping the larger stones on a hard surface and let the pieces fall apart naturally. A chisel and hammer can assist when more precise shaping is required. The key is dont try to take off too much at one time and you should be able to shape the stones to meet your design.

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Mulched Patio With Rocks

An attractive layout that combines mulch with some randomly-placed rocks for interest. One backyard slopes upward and incorporates stairs to make it all tie in together. The main patio is composed of flagstone with loose stones in between.


The second design is much simpler version with mulch and smaller rocks placed randomly around the area. This will look nice with more flowers and plantings. The rocks are a quick seat for gardening in the area.

Mulch, rocks and stairs.

Our Bluestone Patio And How It Can Work For You

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A bluestone patio was on my wishlist when we built, but tragically it didnt make the budget! After all, the landscaping is done last in the home, right around when the house budget dried up.

So instead, we built a small, modestly sized 10×10 patio.;


Our fence being built with our little paver patio here:

We just used basic paver blocks- forming a simple square right off our covered porch. It wasnt the patio of my dreams, but we felt lucky to have the space.

  • Bluestone Patios That Inspire Me
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    Cost Breakdown For Bluestone Patio Installation In Scotia

  • Non-discounted retail costs for 215 square feet of Bluestone Patio Installation – between $1,352.34 and $1,497.29.
  • Direct labor costs to Install Bluestone Patios in Scotia – between $2,233.64 and $2,343.99.
  • Cost of all materials and supplies which may be necessary for Bluestone Patio Installation , which may include: – between $79.56 and $86.16.
  • Costs of specialty equipment used for efficiency and job quality, which may include: – between $54.56 and $76.39.
  • Find Stone At A Landscape Or Masonry Supplier

    How to install a Blue stone Patio

    A landscape or masonry supplier will carry the best selection of stone. For our wall, we selected blue ledge stone. Although technically categorized as a 4-in. veneer stone, it has a random shape thats ideal for our rubble-style wall.

    This stone is sold by the ton, and the supplier will tell you how much wall surface 1 ton covers. Calculate the number of square feet of wall surface and add about 20 percent for waste. This project required 5 tons.


    For best results, buy bags of mortar from a local masonry supplier. Figure on a bag for every 3 sq. ft. of wall. Also order 4 x 8 x 16-in. solid concrete blocks to fill in wall areas that the patio will cover .

    The wall cap is 3-in. thick Indiana limestone that we had custom-cut at a stone shop to fit the radius of our wall with a 1-in. overhang on each side. The capstone for the two walls was expensive , but it made smooth, attractive seating. You can make your own from flagstone, or form and pour concrete capstones for much less. Just keep in mind that a cap at least 3 in. thick looks best.

    Buy your 1/2-in. steel reinforcement and form building materials for the wall footings at a home center.

    Order a compactible gravel, called Class 5 limestone in this region, for the 6-in. thick patio base. Calculate the volume you need and order it along with enough sand to cover the base an inch deep. We selected granite sand because its color is similar to the bluestone color and makes the joints less noticeable.

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    Slope The Layout Strings

    Level and slope the strings based on the position of the patio: The patio surface should be level from side to side and should slope down and away from the house from end to end at a rate of about 2 inches per 10 linear feet. For example, if the patio is 10 feet long, it will be 2 inches higher at the house end than at the opposite end. This ensures that surface water drains away from the house .

    To level and slope the strings, place a line level on each layout string and adjust one end of the string up or down, as needed, so the line is perfectly level, then tie off the string. Keep in mind that all of the strings should be at the same height. Then, readjust the two strings running down the sides of the patio to set the correct slope. For a 10-foot-long patio, lower the strings 2 inches on the stakes at the lower end of the patio. Finally, adjust the perpendicular string on the lower end of the patio so it is even with ends of the sloped strings.

    Ways To Set Bluestone

    Bluestone can be dry laid.

    • The ground is excavated. Stone, such as quarry stone is placed in the bottom layer. Sand or stone dust is the next layer and the stones laid on top of this.
    • The stones may be laid tight together or a small space may be left between them. Joint sizes of 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch look nice. A sandy material is then swept into the joints. You may also place pea gravel in the joints.
    • Another option for the joints is polymeric sand, but this can have issues, such as cracking. Also, it rather defeats the purpose of having a dry laid application, since polymeric sand hardens.

    Bluestone can also be wet laid where it is set in concrete.

    • Cracking is possible with this method, particularly in areas with lots of freeze-thaw conditions.
    • A concrete base must be laid on virgin soil or soil that is tamped in layers.
    • See a diagram of the correct way to build a concrete patio .

    I prefer dry laid, as it is less expensive, creates a wonderful bluestone patio look, and is also forgiving. What does forgiving mean? It means that it won’t crack, and if a stone ever shifts, it can easily be reset.

    I encourage you to take a look at my ebook on patio plans for some great information, ideas, and designs.

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    What The Bluestone Patio Installation Estimate Does Not Include:

  • Any fees for permits or inspection which may be required for the project by the Scotia building department.
  • California and Scotia sales taxes on supplies and materials.
  • Any general contractor fees for supervision of the Scotia Bluestone Patio Installation project. Please add 12% to 20% to the total cost shown above if you will be hiring a general contractor to supervise this project.
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    Prepping Your Area Before Delivery Of Your Rock

    How to Install a Bluestone Patio

    Depending on where youre placing the river rock, you might have a lot of prep or very little. Most people have grass in their backyards which will have to be removed before the river rock is dumped on top of it.;

    If you dont remove or cover the grass with a thick barrier, it will grow through the rock. You dont want weeds coming through your river rock. You can cover the grass with a thick barrier such as cardboard, wet it down, then youre ready to put the rock on top. The cardboard will kill the grass underneath.

    In our case, the area we earmarked for the fire pit area had an above ground pool that was removed. The grass was already dead underneath the pool but the remaining area still had grass that I had to remove. This is a labor intensive process since you will need to dig underneath the grass to loosen it and pull up the roots.;

    Luckily I only had about 20 sq ft to dig up so I did it by hand. If you have a larger area, you can rent a sod cutter. This cutter makes sod removal very easy, as you simply walk behind the equipment as it removes the grass and leaves a fairly level patch of dirt.;

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    Slate And Gravel Patio

    Slate is a fine grained greenish, blue, gray rock. It is usually sold for $18 to $30 per square foot. Though it costs up to three times more than other paving materials, slate still remains to be well loved by landscapers and homeowners because it is natural looking, durable and resilient.

    Irregularly shaped slate gives patios and garden an interesting and eclectic touch. The combination of slate and gravel works perfectly for Mediterranean inspired homes and gardens by giving them a rustic flair.

    Just like majority of gravel patio types, slate and gravel patios use the same dry laying method wherein the slate pieces are arranged in a particular pattern and filled with pea sized gravel in between the joints. During installation, it is ideal to start at a corner while keeping the gaps at a minimum. When the slate is completely set in a foundation base material, tamp each piece with a mallet and pour sand to fill the gaps then add grave as topper.

    Two colors of gravel are used to create variation and contrast in this patio design. Bricks function as edging material and border to define space. This brick and gravel patio perfectly blends to the surrounding Mediterranean inspired landscape.

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    Demolish The Existing Patio

    With pneumatic jackhammers and sledge hammers in tow, the crew began the demolition process, putting all the large waste in a 10 yard, roll-off dumpster. For a concrete pad of this size, youll find rebar and wire mesh embedded in the concrete for increased tensile strength.

    Tip: You can rent an electric jackhammer from your local tool rental store. These tools are relatively simple to use and will save you a lot of time during demolition.

    Tip: In most areas,;you can arrange for a roll-off dumpster of various sizes. Be sure to specify youll be loading the dumpster with concrete before you buy, so you can understand any weight limits.

    The crew was able to salvage the rebar, and it will be reused for the new patio, eliminating some of the materials cost and preventing otherwise useful metal from entering the dump .

    Tip: If existing rebar can be preserved after demolishing a patio, it could represent a savings of more than $150.

    Likewise, some of the crushed rock will be reused underneath the new patio to establish a strong base.

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    Bluestone Patio Installation: Mistakes To Avoid

      If you are doing installation work on a bluestone patio, then you should keep in mind that going back and fixing mistakes can sometimes be more expensive and take more time than the project in the first place. This is particularly true when you lay tile for a patio. This can be especially painstaking if you have to go back and fix mistakes on bluestone patio tile. This article will cover what mistakes are typically made when installing bluestone and how to avoid them.

      Watch out for plants Choose the appropriate size tileTrim the groutDig an appropriate holeCompact the ground

      Tips For Laying Bluestone Pavers

      How to install a Blue stone Patio
      • Written by Anubhav Kapoor on Nov 25, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
      • 1

      Among household outdoor surfaces like patios or walkways, bluestone pavers are a widely preferred option. Laying bluestone pavers is not demanding but it needs some attention to detail and being aware of some typical issues that may arise.

      1. Tips for Procuring Bluestone Tiles

      Bluestone tiles are found at masonry shops and home improvement stores. Always buy a few more tiles than the number suggested by the measured total surface area of the patio or walkway. This is an effective back-up against miscalculations and tile wasting.

      If you are not too sure about the pattern of the patio or walkway area, buy rectangular or squared shaped bluestone pavers only. These are the easiest to work with and will allow you to make last-minute changes without too much effort.

      2. Excavation & Slope Preparation Tips

      The eventual appearance of the laid bluestone tiles largely depends upon the preparation work done by you in the form of excavation and preparation of the installation site. To ensure that your bluestone paver is free from basic mistakes committed during this stage, take care of the following:

      3. Paver Base Preparation Tips

      4. Tips for Laying Bluestone Pavers

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