What Should I Know About Laying Flagstone?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Technically speaking, laying flagstone is one of the easiest jobs a home landscaper can do, but the effects are among the most dramatic. Laying flagstone is a landscaping choice that can change the entire look of any given area of the home. While they are most commonly associated with patios, the stones can be used in a number of different applications.

Installing flagstone begins with choosing an area you would like to remodel and then buying the appropriate stones. Generally speaking, choosing stones of similar depth is key to producing a nice, level area. While the nature of flagstone will ensure that you will never get stones of the exact depth, an approximation is important. For those who cannot find stones of similar depth, there are other ways to correct for the problem.

While nearly any area can be used for laying flagstone, it makes it a much easier job if there is a level area. The area should be dug out by shovel and then leveled as smoothly as possible. The excavated portion should be be approximately 4 inches (10 cm) deep over the entire area and outlined with forms. Then, sand should be used to fill in a couple of inches (5 cm) of what has just been dug out. After filling in with sand, the entire area should be leveled with a plank or some other tool.

After the sand has been leveled, there are still a couple of other steps needed before the actual laying of the stone. The next step to laying flagstone is to water the area and make sure it is packed down good with a tamping tool. Then, laying a good landscaping fabric to prevent weed growth should be done.

Finally, it is time for the stones. While laying flagstone can be a tough task on the back, this is, perhaps, the easiest part of the project, technically speaking. In some cases stones may need to be cut. This can be done by scoring the line where it needs cut with a small groove, then hitting that area with a small sledge hammer. This should be all that is needed as flagstones usually break clean and evenly. If stones are too high or too low, adjust the underlying sand accordingly.

After all the stones have been laid, the final steps to laying flagstone are to pour sand over the stones to fill in any spaces and then remove the forms. These two steps are a couple of the simplest to complete, but the sand is very important. Without filling in all the spaces, the stones could shift and possibly even move out of place.

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