Set temporary or permanent edgings, their top surfaces approximately one stone thickness below the finished grade. -- Have a base layer of sand at least 2" deep. Thirty years ago, I built my mother-in-law's patio using the sand and cement base method. Whether it’s marble, sandstone or concrete paving you’ve gone for, lower your first slab into position – firmly placing it about 15mm into the sand. The only extra step is mixing the cement mortar that adheres the flagstone to the concrete slab. Lay 1/2-inch crushed rock, making the layer about 3 inches deep. Well, the flagstone are separating, the mortar is cracking and the patio is a mess. This layout method allows you to excavate and prepare the entire patio area without having to move the stakes. This ensures that surface water drains away from the house (or other structures). Like me way back then, you are going to have to start over. Check with your city's building department to learn about rules and requirements that may pertain to your project. 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. Landscaping techniques, cost, and the availability of materials can vary greatly depending on the region you live in. Use a garden hose and a nozzle to finely mist the flagstones so that some water flows between the stones into the sand. Add two more inches, then smooth and tamp. Pete likened the flagstone installation to DIY Crossfit with natural material weights (like buckets of sand and 200 lb. If you can salvage it, much of it can be used to reinstall the flagstone but the sand will be mixed with Portland cement. Laying the stone would be easiest and most rewarding part, right? Otherwise, planting grass or low-growing vegetation between the cracks will give the flagstone a very natural look. The mortar should be the consistency of regular bricklayer's mortar. Laying flagstone on bare ground or within a base material, such as pea gravel or sand, is the easiest and cheapest method for installing flagstone walks and patios.For bare ground installation, simply remove sections of sod to accommodate the chosen flagstone pavers. You can buy flagstone and DG at local stone yards and landscaping materials suppliers. These flagstones are set on a concrete base. Step 3 – Laying or Setting the Flagstone. Compact the soil at the bottom of the excavated area. Start with large stones, making sure they're nestled into the sand so they don't move when you step on them. Step 5: Laying the Flagstone. Now it’s time for laying the patio on the sand. Laying Flagstone. DEAR TIM: Last fall a contractor installed a flagstone patio for me. Mix one part of cement to three parts sand. Flagstone rocks vary in thickness and you need the sand to adjust heights to get them all level. Remove all grass and other vegetation in the patio area (defined by the strings), then excavate the soil to a depth of 6 inches plus the thickness of the flagstone. It's best to start with several inches of compacted gravel, followed by a layer of stone dust, also called decomposed granite, or DG. Remove the sand and discard it unless you can be sure it is free of stones and dirt. Tamp the soil with a hand tamp or a rented plate compactor. For your reference: a half-yard of sand was sufficient for the walkway shown in this tutorial.) There is no mortar between the brick. 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. For a lasting installation, a dry-set stone patio does need a foundation, though. Place the stones and use builder's sand to level them in the ground. For a 10-foot-long patio, lower the strings 2 inches on the stakes at the lower end of the patio. Laying flagstone when you’re frustrated is not the way! Deane Biermeier is a contractor with 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. Level the base. Each stone should be stable and at the same height as the surrounding stones. Add the Gravel and Sand Next, lay a small layer of gravel to prevent any weeds from inching upward. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Dry fit flagstones in your desired pattern, leaving about 1-3 inches between each. Place dampened sand between guides; screed it smooth with a straight piece of lumber. Pour a concrete slab in the excavated area that contains one-half inch steel reinforcing bars placed on two foot centers in both directions. I installed thin paving brick on a sand bed that looked like a piece of glass it was so smooth. If stone is tapped below finished grade, raise stone and spread more stone dust under stone. -- Take your time laying the rocks and fitting them together. Some of the stones in your dry-set patio inevitably will move over time, due to use and to seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Move your piles of excavated turf and soil off of your grass within two days so you don't over-stress it. You might have a problem with frost heaving ... just redo anything that gets too uneven. The sand base will be immune to attack from ants and moles, but it will not be sufficiently strong to withstand serious frost heaving and/or other soil movement. Drive two stakes at each corner, about 2 feet beyond the sides of the patio perimeter. Flagstone: what to use, sand, cement, or gravel? Finally, pour your sand. Complete the form below and each week you'll get: Unsubscribe at any time. This wait period will ensure the sand and cement base has time to harden. The process of laying flagstone is the same as before. When they settle, they should be flush with the ground. Finally, adjust the perpendicular string on the lower end of the patio so it is even with ends of the sloped strings. Use a mixture of Portland cement and sand to permanently attach the flagstones to the concrete. Do this for perhaps 10 minutes. Add a two-inch layer of compactible gravel over the patio area. Flagstone adds permanence, strength, and durability to a landscape along with creating a natural hardscape element to an area that otherwise might just include plants, or softscape. There is a strong possibility that the cement mortar joints between individual flagstone that are laid on top of a sand / cement base may start to fall apart if the base starts to crack and shift. You can use pea gravel between flagstones to inhibit weeds, and provide a comfortable walking surface between the larger stones. Once you have determined the finish height of the patio, you need to excavate soil so that you can install a 4-inch thick concrete slab, 3/4 inch thick setting bed of cement mortar and the actual flagstones. Keep in mind that all of the strings should be at the same height. To further strengthen the slab, you can dig vertical piers that are 6 inches in diameter and extend below the frost line in your area. The second method of mixing Portland cement with sand works, but it is not as good as the poured concrete base. Use a garden hose and a nozzle to finely mist the flagstones so that some water flows between the stones into the sand. Spray the patio with a garden hose to settle the fill material, then sweep more filler across the stones to fill the gaps as desired. There is very little extra work to install the concrete base. Place the stones onto the DG surface, starting at one end and working toward the other. The width of the trench needs to accommodate the width of the stone, with an additional inch or two for working space on either side of the edging. If it were me, I’d wait until you have a weekend free, without any stress on your mind. Estimating materials for flagstone walkway projects can be a challenge for do-it-yourselfers. Don't kill the grass! Rake the DG smooth, and level it side-to-side with the long board and level. Wait at least one week before walking onto the patio to fill the gaps between the stones with the Portland cement and sand mortar mix. Place the stones as close together as desired. The brick are very uniform and stack closely against one another. By Team Boulder | October 8, 2016. Industrial. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Get Inspired By These Patio Paver Design Ideas, How to Plan and Design Flagstone Patios and Paths, How to Make an Easy Brick Patio Pattern for Beginners, How to Plan and Design Flagstone Patios and Walkways, How to Build a Stone Sidewalk or Garden Path, Stone Steps vs. Remove the stakes and mason's lines. We gave you guys a heads up that this was going to be happening in the near future, but two patios in one month in 1/10-acre … Use very warm or hot water to mix the mortar. Subscribe. After you are done placing the flagstones and the gravel, ... Now, with the help of a hammer and a chisel, give the desired shape to the rest of the flagstones. Sand (amount will vary based upon how many flagstone pieces you have. Dry construction is much easier for do-it-yourselfers because you can build directly on the ground, while mortared stone requires a concrete slab foundation to prevent cracking in the mortar. Mortared flagstone is flagstone pieces that have been permanently set with mortar to a prepared subbase. Note that "flagstone" merely describes the stones' wide, flat shape; flagstone comes in many different types of stone. This first method, in my opinion, will produce a flagstone patio that can last 50 years or more without any cracks. Level the sand and place the flagstones onto the sand and tamp them into place. Level the sand and place the flagstones onto the sand and tamp them into place. Fabricate, set and level stone. If at all possible, keep the sand, cement, and hydrated lime indoors at room temperature and only bring it outdoors to mix it. The DG is pulverized stone and contains small pieces along with gravel-size and sand-size particles. Set up mason's lines to represent the perimeter of the patio. Gently one by one, lift each of the stones, and then apply mortar to the bed of sand and gravel or to the concrete slab, simply to the surface on which the user is attaching the stones to, then lay the stone over the wet mortar. Arrange the pieces by size and shape so you can select them readily as you lay them into the patio. Devin Devine, traveling stone artist. Keep adding the slabs and ensure there’s a gap of about 10-15mm between each stone. You can use either sand or gravel to fill the space in between. Planting moss in between the flagstone works well in shaded areas where grass is not likely to grow. Stone edges that stick up create tripping hazards. Add landscaping rocks or mulch around the flagstone path for a decorative look. Concrete Steps in Gardens, How to Install a French Drain in Your Landscaping, Great Patio Ideas That Use Mixed Materials. Flagstone comes in a variety of sizes. Shovels (one regular shovel and one hand shovel) Time, energy, and plenty of muscle; How to make a flagstone … A flagstone path safely guides you into a house, while a patio or path entices you outdoors, into a front or back yard. What to put between flagstone joints–polymeric sand or stone dust? This coarse sand makes a very strong mortar. Heart of stone. Many flagstones are commonly 3/4 inch thick so I would excavate to a depth of 5.5 to 6 inches. Coarse sand is better for this purpose as it contains pieces of rounded rock about 1/8 inch in diameter. I first started seeing this stuff about fifteen years ago. We respect your email privacy. April W., Denver, CO. DEAR APRIL: Years ago the same thing happened to me. If you do not want this look, use polymeric sand. Try to set the stones so they sit slightly above the surface. Use a shovel to remove any soil, grass or plants in the area where the edging will go. Pea gravel adds a subtle textural contrast and the same long-lasting strength and durability as flagstones. Screeding the sand for the base of your pavers is one of the most important steps to ensuring level and solid pavers! At this point you have two alternatives to solve your problem, although I am inclined to think that one of the methods is far better than the second. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The stones have not budged in 13 years and I suspect they will still look swell 50 years from now. Rake the gravel smooth and level, then tamp it thoroughly. A second alternative method of installing the patio is to remove the current sand and allow it to dry or become just slightly damp. Fill the space between the flagstones with sand or one-quarter-inch gravel. Then you can use your 2 by 4 again or another piece of wood to level out the sand. Be sure you install the sand at least 3 inches thick. Try to heat the brick or flagstone as well although this may be far more difficult to accomplish. rocks). Do not make it so dry that you have to pound the stones into place with a rubber mallet. If the mortar is just right, a small amount of pressure from your hands floats the flagstones into position. First remove and salvage the flagstone. Keep Flagstone Mortar Mix Materials Warm. For example, if the flagstone is 2 inches thick, excavate a total of 8 inches. Continuity between interior and exterior environments to combine aesthetics and versatility. He carefully laid the flat stones on a bed of sand and then grouted the spaces between the stones with mortar. Estimated Cost: $3 - $5 per square foot Laying flagstone patios in stone dust or sand, as opposed to mortar or concrete, is known as dry-set or sand-set. You can break up larger stones using a hammer to fill in any gaps. Icon Outdoor. The transversal texture of cement. Alternatively, you can fill the gaps with a potting soil mix and plant grass or traffic-tolerant ground cover plants between stones. This steel has tremendous tensile strength and will prevent the slab from developing large cracks that cause the concrete to separate and tilt into separate planes. If the stone is too high, remove some bed material from under the stone; if the stone is too low, add some bed material. If a stone "rocks" or totters, dig out or fill in sand underneath until you get it perfectly stableized. The stones should be at least 1 1/2 inches thick for strength; 2 inches thick is better. These piers act like the legs on a table and help give the patio added support. You are now ready to put together your jigsaw puzzle walkway by laying and packing the stones. Roll out a layer of landscape fabric to prevent unwanted weeds or grass from growing between the flagstones. Most important, call 8-1-1, the national "Call Before You Dig" hotline, to have all underground utility lines marked on your property. I made a stone path this way maybe 6 years ago. Carefully chip off any mortar that is on the edges. Plate Step 2 Pour a 2-inch-thick layer of sand over the landscape fabric, raking it smooth. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Lightly mist the … To install flagstone in this method, wet mortar is applied either directly on a subbase of compacted gravel and sand, or to an existing concrete slab. When choosing stone for the project, select the largest stones you can maneuver by hand, and choose them for consistent thickness and appearance. Adjust the positions of the stakes, as needed, to square the layout. Lay out the area for the path or patio, excavate the soil, then prepare a base of 4 to 6 inches of compacted gravel and 2 inches of level masonry sand. Tie a mason's line to opposing pairs of stakes to create a square or rectangular layout (use a square layout if the patio will be circular). But ants, moles and freezing weather turned my brick sidewalk into a humpy-bumpy sand-covered disaster. The surface needs to be in the same plane, but it can be left very rough with holes and stones exposed. Laying flagstone patios in stone dust or sand, as opposed to mortar or concrete, is known as dry-set or sand-set. The depth of the trench should accommodate the thickness of the flagstone, in addition to 3 or 4 inches for the crushed gravel and sand base. Pour sand over the landscape fabric, about 2 inches deep, to create a soft, yet firm foundation for the flagstones. Laying them directly onto hard packed dirt works well. As with the excavation, measure down from the strings to gauge the thickness of the gravel and to maintain the proper slope. As easy to install as regular sand, almost. After this you should lightly spray the sand with a water hose. Stack or lay out the stones you will use for the patio surface on a broad, flat area, such as the surrounding grass or a driveway. Mortared Flagstone. Add 6" base gravel, edge border, and 1" bedding sand. Tamp the layer thoroughly. Then pour a 2-inch layer of sand and rake it smooth. But her patio is different. Lay The Stones: Into a bed of the mortar lay the stones. The smaller stone will be easier to handle but the larger, heavier stone will … Fill the gaps between stones with sand, DG, or gravel. Dry construction is much easier for do-it-yourselfers because you can build directly on the ground, while mortared stone requires a concrete slab foundation to prevent cracking in the mortar. Flagstone Patio Installation Labor, Basic Basic labor to install flagstone patio with favorable site conditions. Sand Installation 1. You may find wetting down the sand with a hose makes it easier to secure your flagstones. Vary the size, shape, and coloring of stones for a random pattern, which looks most natural. You simply sweep the material into the flagstone (or other paver) joints, lightly hose down, then it solidifies. This rough texture will help hold the flagstones in place when they are set in wet cement mortar. She likes the look as it reminds her of weathered brick walks she has seen in Williamsburg, VA. Curving the walkways and edges of the patio and then adding plants that flow over the stones makes for a luscious look. Will this work? Materials for Flagstone Walkway. The contractor wants to put a layer of cement over the sand and start over. Flagstone responds much better, to a happy jobsite. But fixing shifted stones is easy. 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