Wednesday, June 15, 2022
HomeBuildHow To Make A Flagstone Patio

How To Make A Flagstone Patio

Lay Bricks Along Layout Lines

How to build a flagstone patio – A Helpful Guide

Lay a row of bricks along the baseline, aligning the end of the first brick with the perpendicular layout line. Butt them tightly together. Lay another row, aligning the end of the first brick with the second line. Continue laying bricks until one section is complete. Then work out from this section to complete the patio.

When To Build A Flagstone Patio

You can build a flagstone patio at nearly any time of year, especially if youre looking to turn your backyard into an oasis. Adding polymeric sand between the stones is the only part of the project that is weather-dependent. Since the sand is activated with water, avoid doing this part of the project on days when rain is predicted.

Okay So Lets Stick With Gravel For The Foundation And Screenings Aka Stone Dust As The Leveling Agent

Back to screeningswhen you use screenings for both the leveler and the joint filler for in-between your flagstones you are creating a good scene. If there is ever any minor issue with the screenings underneath the stone it shouldnt matter too much because the joint filler will settle down and fill the void beneath the flagstone. Having screenings up top and down below, it just works out well.

You can expect to top off the screenings once within the first yeara small bit will settle or wash away. No problem, just sweep in some new material and youre good. After that, in future years, youll be fine. My best recommendation is that clients hire me to do maybe a couple hours maintenance once a yearby no means is this necessary, but I like my work to sparkle.


And it does. Check out what my past clients have to say about my work.

One thing I have not gotten into in this article is polymeric sand. I point you now to another hardscape how-to blog post, if you are curious about poly-sand. If you are poly-curious, that is.

I dont know what you do with your leftover flagstone, but heres what I do with mine:

Stacked stone spheres and garden sculptures, by Devin Devine.

Don’t Miss: How To Get Spray Paint Off Concrete Patio

+ Tips To Remember When You’re Installing Flagstone

Conquer all kinds of DIY patio and stair projects with these tricks of the trade for laying natural flagstone.


Four flagstone patios, repaired flagstone stairs, and one repaired flagstone sidewalk later to say we’ve learned a lot about installing natural stone is an understatement. There’s a lot to consider, from choosing the right product to knowing how to properly install for longevity and higher home value. Below, I share a list of things weve learned along the way. Whether youre adding an outdoor flagstone patio, repairing damaged stones, or resurfacing a concrete slab , this advice will help you plan and execute the job with confidence.

Excavate The Patio Area

Make a Flagstone Patio

Remove all grass and other vegetation in the patio area , then excavate the soil to a depth of 6 inches plus the thickness of the flagstone. For example, if the flagstone is 2 inches thick, excavate a total of 8 inches. This is to make the patio flush with the surrounding ground you can dig less deep if you want the stones to lie higher than the ground.

Measure down from the strings to gauge the excavation depth. It’s usually easiest to dig to full depth right under the strings, then clear out the soil in between, checking with a long, straight 2×4 and a level to make sure the ground is level from side to side . Tamp the soil with a hand tamp or a rented plate compactor.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Hang Outdoor Patio Lights

Things To Consider First:

Design and plan where youd like to place your patio, and how big youd like it to be.


What size of flagstone do you want to work with? Keep in mind that the thicker the stones, the more expensive this project can be however bigger pieces mean less cutting.

In terms of design, plan out how big the gaps will be between the stones, depending on how you want to fill them. The bigger the gabs, the quicker and easier the process will be because less cutting and fitting is required.

You want your flagstone patio graded at an angle you dont want it completely level because of water drainage. To do so, ensure there is a drop per foot.

-packed gravel base -decomposed granite, with the screenings-flagstone, about 1.5-2 inches thick-hand tamper or plate compactor

Adding In Coarse Gravel

Now that the area was dug out, it was time for gravel. The gravel helps to create a firm, level base, but it also allows water to drain.


To source the gravel and sand , we went to another local place that sold landscaping rocks and other supplies.

At first we thought we would just transport the gravel and sand in our SUV. But after a few calculations, we realized that would be a bad idea because it would be a lot of time and heavy-lifting to simply load and then unload the car, and we would have to make at least 2 tripsmaybe moreto get everything home.

Suddenly the $50 delivery fee seemed like a bargain.

Within a day, a big dump truck came to our house and dumped a pile of gravel and a pile of sand in our driveway.

The salesperson made sure to ask us which pile should go closer to the house. At the time, it didnt seem important. But once I started hauling wheel barrels full of rock, I realized that even 10 feet can make a big difference.


We gradually added in the gravel and used a metal rake to spread it out evenly.

Once we covered the area evenly, we got out the tamper and started tamping it down. You want to avoid having your patio sink down or become uneven because you either didnt add enough aggregate or you didnt tamp it enough.

Theres really no trick here, except I tried to follow some advice that I read. Essentially: if youre not tired after tamping, youre not doing it hard enough.

Also Check: Refinish Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

How To Resurface A Concrete Slab With Flagstones

Tips for refinishing a surface with flagstones.


Emily Fazio

Our covered sunroom consisted of outdoor carpet glued to a concrete slab foundation. We removed the carpet and made a plan to replace it with 1/2 flagstone veneers to make the area cohesive with the rest of the flagstone accents in our home. Here are some tips:

  • Thinner cuts of flagstone are easier to work with, and because theyre going atop an already solid base layer, theres less concern about them cracking due to being too thin.
  • To even cracks or irregularities on an existing slab, its beneficial to rent a concrete floor grinder to level the topmost surface of the concrete before adding stones. If there were grease drips, outdoor carpet adhesive, existing mortar, or any other materials on the surface, make all efforts to remove it so youre affixing the stone to a fresh slab.
  • Unlike flagstone set in the ground, youll only need masonry mortar between the slab and your stones. You might be conditioned to think you should use a notched trowel to spread the mortar, but take it from me, a solid layer is best because the increased contact holds the stone in place better, and it will sound less hollow underfoot.
  • Consider mixing only a 1/2 bag of mortar at a time, so it doesnt dry out quickly as you work.
  • Invest in a flexible additive to help prevent underlying mortar from cracking with time. This is sold as a solution that gets added when youre mixing the mortar.

Install 1 Of Leveling Sand

FlagStone Patio How To Install Build a Patio Complete Steps

Actually, you dont want to use sand because youll need to walk on this layer a lot, and as you know, sand moves when you walk on it. So instead, youll want to use some crushed rock that includes the screenings.

Where Im from, the best stuff to use is called Decomposed Granite . This stuff looks similar to sand, but it packs down much better so you can walk on it. Since its composed of both bigger pieces of sand and fine dust, its able to pack down similar to dirt, but its still easy to level out, and weeds have a hard time growing in it.

Since this is the final layer before you start laying stones, youll want to make sure its flat and graded properly. So, use a mason line tied between stakes in the ground and a line level to set the grading just right and ensure a flat patio.


Once its level, spray with the hose to get it damp and pack it down thoroughly. Level again if you have to.

Read Also: Repair Outdoor Chair Webbing

S To A Diy Flagstone Patio

  • Dig down about 6 inches across the planned patio area, removing dirt and debris. You must create enough space for the base layer material and for the stones. This ensures the patio surface will be level with the ground around it. Calculate the exact depth you need to excavate by adding the thickness of your flagstone pieces to the depth of sand youll be using as a base. We recommend 2 inches of sand base material.
  • Level, smooth and compact the area. This alleviates excess water pooling and drainage issues. Tip: Wet the soil to make it easier to compact.
  • Cover the area with weed barrier landscape fabric. This will help prevent weeds from growing up through the patio. It also stops the flagstones from settling and sinking too far into the ground.
  • Spread approximately 2 inches of washed sand over the weed barrier fabric.
  • Level the sand with a wood stud or leveling tool.
  • Lightly mist the sand with water to make it firm.
  • Lay the flagstone pieces out on the sand. Move and arrange the pieces until they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Place the stones roughly the same distance from one another, no more than 1 inch apart. If you need to cut the stone, use a chisel and hammer to carefully chip a notch on the spot where you want the stone to break. Cut only a small depth with each stroke. Use tools with caution and wear protective eye gear.
  • Add or remove sand as needed to make a level surface.
  • Push the stones down into the sand, keeping the surface level and even.
  • Spread Landscape Fabric And Gravel

    Double-check your calculations for gravel and sand and arrange for deliveries. Then call the rental store and reserve a gas-powered plate compactor or tamper. This is a heavy beast youll need a trailer or pickup truck and a couple of strong bodies to move it around.

    After compacting the soil with the tamper and before you start filling the hole, roll out the landscape fabric, allowing it to extend at least 6 in. beyond the patio all around. Use spikes to temporarily hold it in place. Then we spread a 2-in. layer of gravel over the top.

    Note: If your soil is soft or soggy, you might have to add more gravel fill to create a stable base. Ask your building inspector or a soil engineer to recommend the right base for you.

    Recommended Reading: How To Attach Patio Cover To House

    The Worst Puzzle Ever

    This crazy Tetris game was hard enough. But to have 2 people look for stone pieces to fit ridiculous shapes was too much. We would have to look at the existing edge we were matching, then wed have to go look at the stones we had, and then try to select the next stonewhile also trying to anticipate what the new stone would mean for the rest of the puzzle.

    Each time we would try a stone, I would need to lift it over to test it in place. And then if it didnt work, Id have to take it out of the way. Even using a measuring tape, it was a challenge.

    So suddenly I had an idea:

    Babe, let me just take a crack at this.

    There really was no way to do this efficiently with 2 people. I knew that if I could get in a zone, and start to visualize the shapes, and keep in mind the available stones, I could go all Rainman on it and knock it out quickly.

    It turned out to be a good decision for our marriage. After that, I was able to finish the remaining area in just about ¾ of a day. And my wife was able to go take care of some other things inside that she wanted to tend to. Both of us were happier.

    Towards the end, as the stone selection dwindled, I had to make a lot more compromises. For the most part, the actual surface of the stones looked good. But there were a lot more jagged gaps in between. I tried my best to keep them as tight as possible, but more and more I was working with crazy triangular and other geometric shapes.

    Flagstone Shapes And Sizes

    Laying a Flagstone Patio Tips

    Most people think flagstone patios are created by fitting randomly shaped stones like the pieces of a puzzle. And while there are, indeed, random designs, many pavers are specific cuts, meant to invoke a specific style or mood.

    Flagstone paver designs are available as:

  • Square cut flagstone. This is a more ordered approach to flagstone patio design.
  • Random flagstone. This is the style most associated with flagstone patios fitting the stones together in a pleasing fashion.
  • Jumbo flagstone. These can be used on many applications: patios, steps, stepping stones, retaining walls, also as a general landscaping feature.
  • Meshed Flagstone Paver Tile. These are random flagstones that are already laid out for you with a mesh sheet holding them together similar to glass or mosaic bathroom tiling. While its more about the installation, the mesh can make the job a great deal easier. It also means the design is set for you.
  • Custom cut. If you know exactly what you want and cant find it it can be cut for you on a custom basis.
  • Don’t Miss: Patio Furniture Strap Replacement

    Can You Set Flagstones Down On Your Own Native Soil

    Your own native soil This one would be great, if your own native subsoil consists of about 20-40 percent clay and the rest mostly sand and gravel. And hadnt been disturbed in ten years. Then youd have a good solid base already You could most certainly take clay from your subsoil, figure out how much sand and gravel it already contains, and then calculate how much gravel ought to be added, and then fetch some gravel from elsewhere nearby.

    What I am talking about here is using the onsite materials, to attempt to mimic the performance characteristics of road base and/or to create a gravel cob-like mixture of soils, well draining, compactable and stable. This type of work is still in the r& d phase for me. More on this, as the research progresses. Suffice it to say that yes, it can be done, but its a bit complicated and beyond the scope of this present article.

    Find Stone At A Landscape Or Masonry Supplier

    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.

    Don’t Miss: How To Identify Vintage Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

    How To Lay Flagstone On Dirt

    Flagstone is a common, affordable, and appealing type of stone that is easy to install over dirt. Luckily, installing flagstone on dirt requires little effort and it can be laid directly over dirt. Whether it be preparing the dirt or filling gaps and gluing pieces together, lets take a look at how you can install flagstone over dirt.

    Flagstone is a common flat stone, usually cut into square or rectangular shapes to be used in landscaping. The material is incredibly adaptable and often used for patios, walkways, flooring, fences, small retaining walls and even some roofing. The flagstone is split into layers to create the stones for landscaping.

    For decades, this natural stone has been one of the most popular choices for paving because of the numerous amounts of benefits it has when compared to other materials. The use of this sedimentary rock for paving purposes dates all the way back to the 1900s.

    Because flagstone is relatively heavy and since its acid resistant, it can be laid directly on dirt surfaces. This is accomplished by simply smoothing out the soil, placing the stones, leveling them out, filling in the gaps, and piecing them all together.

    Due to the narrow-packed joints, flagstone is one of the best materials to use for building a patio. This allows water to soak into the joints instead of running off. Also, the thin, flat characteristics of the stone, caused by the splitting of the rock layers, makes the material very simple to work with.


    RELATED ARTICLES

    Most Popular