Flagstone Patio Construction Tips


Flagstone patios are sophisticated, providing a touch of nature to the space that brick and cement can’t match. In some cases, they can even be more long-lasting and low-maintenance. There is no need to worry about decay like there is with wood patios or decks, and they look more worn and stained than cement or brick.

How to Build Basics

A flagstone patio requires some careful planning and execution. Decks laid with sand and gravel tend to endure longer and look better. Some could choose a cement base or mortar. Even though cement and mortar seem great for the first year, they will heave, crumble, and break away from the foundation far more quickly than gravel and sand. If the cement or mortar bases are damaged, the entire patio must be torn up, and new flagstones must be purchased.

Decomposed crushed granite and coarse sand are ideal for this task. While crushed flagstone is the most common, powdered cement or limestone works. The rounder the sand grains are, the less likely they are to hold together, so make sure you use coarse sand instead of round sand or beach sand.

In the best case, you should use ground granite. It’s very much like cement; it won’t seep through the cracks or be tracked inside. Additionally, it serves as a formidable weed barrier. In addition, ground granite has unparalleled resistance to heaving and shifting. Compared to other gravels like pea gravel, crushed granite costs are typically lower. Some quarries, granite processing firms, and compost yards may even give away their crushed granite for free. It’s in your best interest to look around at different options.

What You’ll Need to Complete Your Flagstone Patio


o Gravel (ideally granite crusher run)
Paving sand is course sand that is highly recommended.
A thicker flagstone will survive longer.
Materials: o Enough 2x4s for the job; o Metal or plastic edging, if desired
o Landscape fabric o Ground marking spray paint that decomposes
Stone or plastic border for a garden


Tools and equipment needed to break stone include a wheelbarrow, a flat spade, a round shovel, a metal rake, a level, a leveler, a tamper, a water hose, a chisel, a mallet, gloves, and safety goggles.
o Boots with steel toes (for safety against debris)
You’ll Need: o At Least One Helper o A Shop Broom and a Light-Duty Broom

It would be best if you started by taking measurements of your patio before heading out to buy Flagstone. Acquire enough to pave the area ultimately, plus some extra in emergencies. You should plan on having enough sand and gravel to fill the site to a depth of at least two times the pavers’ thickness. If your stones are 2 inches in diameter, you must excavate 6 inches and then add 2 inches of gravel on top of 2 inches of sand. A 2-inch-deep foundation is sufficient for locations with naturally dry climates, such as deserts, or for sites with soil composed entirely of granite or pure sand.

The pavers and the patio can be customized by choosing their form, depth, and design. Flagstone pavers can be found precut into tiles, with either rough or smooth edges. The convenience and precision of precut tiles cannot be overstated. Many like the uncut versions for their rustic appearance, but putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle takes some ingenuity and, ideally, practice. The natural appearance and ease of assembly make precut flagstone an attractive alternative.

Instructions for Constructing a Patio

The first step in installing a patio is to measure its dimensions and then buy the gravel, sand, and pavers you’ll need. We will assume that you have already planned out the sizes and shapes of your patio. This is a straightforward procedure. Decks can be square or rectangular if the appropriate measurements are taken. A patio’s edge can be marked off using spray paint if you desire a round or irregularly shaped patio.

Here comes the exciting part…

Step two: get to work. Dig down to the desired depth all around the perimeter of your patio outline using the flat spade. Then, using the circular spade, start digging out the area. Put the dirt on the tarp or wherever it will be used. Keep excavating until you’ve reached the desired depth of the foundation. Excavating the ground to a level surface is still necessary if you intend to construct a raised patio.

Third, if the patio is going up against a building, the surface should slope away so rainwater doesn’t pool up against it. In any case, be sure to settle on a flat surface. The solid underneath the patio must be balanced and tamped down as possible. Problems will arise if there are any flaws or voids.

Step 4: Lay down the landscape cloth. Leave plenty of a margin to fold over the edges. If so, double-check that you’ve dug beneath the bordering material.

Fifth, ensure the top margins of the wood or other edging material are flush with the bottom edges of the stone. You might have to do some digging. Alternatively, you can use the wood as the finishing edge, but you’ll need to ensure it’s flush with the ground on all sides. Screeding will be a later usage for the 2x4s. It’s possible that the 2x4s and edging material aren’t necessary if you plan to use landscaping stone instead.

Six, spread gravel evenly on the landscape fabric using the 2×4 as a screed. A helper who can stand on the opposite side of the patio and aid with leveling is helpful at this stage. Make sure the gravel is entirely flat. Press down on it and fill in any gaps or holes. Crushed granite, rock, or course sand alone should only be used at a depth of around 1.5 times that of your flagstone. Granite can be watered down and left to set overnight if a layer of coarse sand is also being used. After this, it will harden into a cement-like consistency. You can skip this step if you’re not building with sand.

7 Start putting your pavers once you’ve set your gravel, sand, or both foundation and ensure it’s level. You can jump right in at the center, work your way to one side, or go around the outside. Start in the middle of a patio or at one end of your walkway if you are using large stones, precut stones, or if you want to be sure you have a finished edge. It doesn’t matter where you begin chiseling back the edges to achieve a natural look; make sure they’re flush with the rest of your layers rather than sticking out of the ground and causing further heaving.

Make sure the stones you’re laying are on a level surface by adding or removing sand and gravel from under them. Poor wear and cracking might occur if the stones move or wobble due to the air pockets below. Check each stone to make sure it’s solid. Less water will seep if the rocks are closer together, requiring less upkeep over time. Leave some space for water to percolate through. Otherwise, it will pool.

Put on your protective eyewear before venturing to the perimeter. Stones can be broken to size by tapping on a grooved edge on either side of the rock at the point where it has to be shattered. When you’re satisfied with the depth of the groove, place the stone down so the desired edge is draped over a side and tap it with the mallet. It ought to be simple to break.

10 Once your stonework is in place, you must mortar it. Be sure to sweep the coarse granite or any other course sand into the cracks and fill them up entirely if you have left your stones far apart from the crushed granite. You may need to get it into the crevices and refill it again.

11 Always have some filler material, such as sand or gravel. Heaving is familiar in areas that experience regular freezing and thawing, such as marsh regions. If you’ve used coarse sand or crushed granite instead of ordinary mortar or cement, you’ll have an easier time dealing with heaving. If you insist on using cement and mortar, use items made specifically for use with rock patios.

Simple upkeep is another plus. If a stone becomes unlevel due to movement, you may quickly fix it by temping it down and re-leveling it with sand or gravel. Fill up the gaps, and then re-wet the area. Generally, patios in wetter regions will require more frequent upkeep like this than those in drier, warmer areas. It’s well worth your time to perform this extra upkeep.

How comes Flagstone?

When laid correctly, flagstone can last for at least 20 years. It can withstand heavy foot traffic and the abuse of oversized vehicles and machinery. There have been reports of flagstone still looking good after 30-50 years. If cared for properly, Flagstone can outlive other hardscape materials like cement, asphalt, and brick. Flagstone is not only complex but also stylish and sophisticated. If you take the time to lay your flagstone carefully and use high-quality materials, your patio will continue to enhance the look and feel of your outdoor space for many years to come. In addition, you will be adding “sweat equity” to your house by paving the patio yourself. Not only will you save a ton of cash on labor costs, but you’ll also increase the worth of your property.

You want to do landscaping but can’t find a place to buy flagstone. Call (262) 246-9000 or go to HalquistStone.com today for a complimentary catalog showcasing our extensive inventory of flagstone pavers.

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