Paths & Patios
“Flagstone” is derived from any type of horizontally layered rock that can be split into flat slabs, or “flags.” An excellent choice for paths and patios because of its durability, low maintenance, and natural look.
Random flagstones have a casual look, allowing pockets to plant creeping groundcovers between the stones to soften the appearance. Square and rectangular flagstones create a sense of order and formality. Curved walks and patios can be created with both types of stone using a wet saw to cut the curves in square edge flagstones.
Step 1: Outline your proposed path or patio with marking paint or pulverized limestone, using string and stakes where straight edges are desired and a garden hose as a guide in smooth curves.
Step 2: Prepare a firm base for the stones by excavating soil to a depth of at least 4”-6”. If water drainage is a problem, especially in winter, dig out a greater depth of soil, up to 12”. The excavated soil can be reused to create mounded flower beds adjoining your project area.
Step 3: Backfill the excavated area with drainage materials, such as stone dust or paver base. Tamp and smooth it with a board as you proceed. This material
will provide a solid base and prevent water from collecting and freezing beneath the stones. Fill the dug-out area enough so the flagstone will sit a half-inch above ground level after they are set. For patios up against home foundations, be sure to use a level so there is a slight grade away from the house. For wider paths, set the center stones higher than he rest so surface
water will run off.
Step 4: Place the flagstones on top of the drainage material, leaving a 1/4”-1/2” space between each stone. It’s helpful to step back periodically as you work
to assess your design, especially when laying randomly shaped stones. A pleasing design is random, with no continuous joints between adjacent pairs of stones. Adjust the height of each flagstone as necessary by adding or
removing stone dust. Lay a 2×4 across the surface of the flagstone to check for unevenness, and tap along board with a rubber mallet to set the stone.
Step 5: Sprinkle a layer of fine stone dust over the entire pathway or patio and sweep it into gaps between the flagstone. Dampen with a fine spray from a hose and repeat the above process until all gaps are filled in.