Installing a Flagstone Patio

flagstone_patioFlagstone is a widely used stone in the landscaping industry. It can be used as cap stones for a wall or placed strategically like a puzzle to design your own patio. Today we will be talking about the steps needed to build that dream patio you have always wanted. First things first, you will need to find the stones from your local supply yard (Bulks of course). You can choose from the usual tan crab orchard color to slate grey. Once you have chosen the stone you like, you will need aggregate for your base layer. This will help keep your patio level when you start placing the stone. Be sure you make it as easy as possible and keep you measurements in a rectangle fashion.

Once you have all the material needed for the patio, you will now measure out your area and prep it for the job ahead. You will want to use a flat shovel to start digging your area out. Make sure you do not forget to lay down landscape fabric before you place your aggregate.   Dig down to about 4 inches so you can lay your base layer, which will be about 2 inches or so of granite dust. Granite dust is very compactable thus making it a great base layer for your flagstone. The excess you have can be moved to low areas that may need more dust.

Now you are chugging along and are ready to place the stones. Be sure to have big pieces so they will be sturdy and secure. Lay the pieces down like a puzzle and start designing the patio to your liking. Make sure you have a rubber mallet for tamping the stones into the granite dust and a carpenter’s level for exact levelness. You will want to place them as close as possible and will have to chip pieces to fill in areas the larger pieces do not cover correctly. This is where you will want to wear protective glasses to protect your eyes from debris when you start chipping. You can score the stone by using a bolster chisel and a mini-sledgehammer. Score a line in the area where you want to remove part of the stone and take the sledge hammer and strike the line you cut into the stone. The stone should break very well on the line you made and now you should have the desired piece you wanted.

Your patio should be looking like a patio now. There are some options now to fill in the areas between the joints of the stone. Many people just push the excess granite dust in between the joints, but you could use more decorative crushed stone or gator dust. It’s really up to your taste; either one works. There are more detailed steps to building this patio, so here is a link to a very helpful website giving you more details in this job.

Brandon Chatham

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