Creating a flagstone patio is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project that can usually be tackled and completed in a weekend. While some patios call for tricky, involved concrete pours, this patio uses only water and sand to create. There is very little maintenance for flagstones, as it does not shift or crack and damaged stones are easily replaces.
Here is how to create the perfect patio:
Clear and Outline the Area
You’re going to rake out the desired patio site, so try to pick a mainly level, smooth area and rake until the soil is evenly distributed. Get rid of any grass or other debris so you can lay the patio on dirt alone — there shouldn’t be any plants or weeds because they tend to peek through the stones. Outline the desired shape of the patio with spray paint to define your area. You can also mark the outline string or rubber tubing. Since flagstones come in all different shapes and sizes, a site with curved edges is a better place to lay a patio than one with straight lines.
Rake and Excavate the Site
You’re going to dig out 2 or 3 inches of soil from the patio site by using a level and then using a piece of wood (2 x 4) to smooth out the surface. This will ensure your patio will be even with the rest of your yard once it is finished. Putting the flagstones down 2 or 3 inches lets it be even with your yard once it’s put in, so be sure to grade the site as evenly as you can.
Put in a Base Layer of Sand
The flagstones will sit atop sand, so you’re going to pour sand into the excavated hole, about an inch from the highest edge. Rake this area until it is smoothed out using the 2 x 4 once again. It’s recommended that you use “washed sand” for the patio, as it won’t retain as much water — it’s available for purchase at most soil yards.
Then water the sand with a garden hose until it is moistened and pack the sand using a wooden board or hand tamper if you have one.
Position the Flagstone
Place the flagstones on your patio site, beginning at the outer edges and working your way towards the middle. You can pick the color of flagstone you want to use, as it comes in brown, tan, blue and red. Position the bigger pieces first, and then fill in the spaces with the smaller flagstone pieces. Double check with the level of your yard when placing the stones to make sure it is even. You should position the stones one to two inches apart on every side, making sure you keep the gaps between consistent throughout the patio. As you place a stone, manipulate it to ensure the sand totally covers the bottom of the stone on every side.
Fill in the Cracks
You can pulverize bigger pieces of flagstone to fill in any leftover gaps by crushing it with a mallet or chisel. Place the pieces in a bucket and pour the crushed flagstones into any gaps you wish to fill. Experts also recommend using decomposed granite, which is crushed rock and can be purchased in a tan shade, as a gap filler. Decomposed granite locks the flagstone pieces together, which in turn creates a solidified patio area. When you pour, make sure to force the decomposed granite into each gap, eliminating any air gaps. Afterwards, sweep the excess decomposed granite into any remaining gaps.
Hose Down the Patio and Fill Again
Using a hose, gently water down the whole patio. This will make the decaying granite sink in and stay firmly in place. Repeat these two steps until the decayed granite is even with the flagstone.
And now you have a beautiful flagstone patio that is easy to maintain and looks great.