Stone Patio and Walkway Ideas and Tips
Flagstone patios, conversation pits and walkways are so attractive – many people like adding them to or instead of a gray slab(s) of concrete. Tour outdoor living space doesn’t have to be boring with so many options and colors, and while installing a flagstone conversation pit or walkway by yourself is a labor-intensive undertaking, even for the seasoned DIYer – the results can be awe-inspiring. Watch the YouTube video experts make it look easy – but also give you an idea of what you’ll need to consider before taking on a weekend (or two) project.
How To – Videos with Step-by-Step Tips
Dan Perry of Handyman Start Up is one of the best instructors and installers, and he freely admits that the process is not for the faint of heart. The first step – and it’s critical to the process – is to design and plan your patio. “Some people are tempted to just level the dirt and throw the flagstones on top of it,” he says. But to achieve a professional look — while simple — takes time.
The flagstone most commonly used for patios includes bluestone, limestone, redstone, sandstone, granite, and slate. The irregular shapes that characterize flagstone, suit both a casual free-form design and formal geometric plans and results. For an incredible step-by-step, check out Dan’s video – from design plan, to excavation, prep and placement.
First, you’ll need a gravel base of three to four inches. Gravel is cheap, packs well and creates the foundation for your flagstone patio. On top of that is a finer grade of gravel called decomposed granite or DG with screenings – powder and dirt.
Flagstones run 1 ½ inches to 2 inches thick, so during excavation you have to dig down four to six inches to prep for a walkway or patio. And remember to call your utility companies before digging to make sure you’re not about the sever any lines, pipes or cables.
The thicker the flagstone, the stronger the result, but you pay by weight – which is something to consider. And size-wise, you can get stones ranging from one to four feet wide, at say Quality Landscape and Soil in Frederick. Dan Perry prefers the biggest stones possible because it means fewer cuts and less time required to puzzle piece the whole thing together. But again, weight is a consideration if you’re lifting the stones yourself with no helpers.
Excavating and Angling
In his video, Dan shows you how to make sure your patio is graded at a slight angle so water will flow off of it, instead of pooling on the patio. He uses stakes, a tape measure and twine to create a 1/8-inch drop per foot of patio, and a level to insure it’s not completely level.
if you spark to the idea of a winding path from your patio to a garden, water feature or exit gate, consider the advice of Bros Before Pros, from the DIY Network. This might easily be a one-DIYer project, and what we especially like about this step-by-step version, is the use of pebbles to fill the gaps or seams between the flagstones.
Another how-to video from landscape contractor Roger Cook at This Old House starts with a detailed explanation of the excavation, with Roger teaching homeowner Molly how to handle a shovel, lay the weed barrier, gravel and flagstone – all in his endearing New England accent.
What’s So Great About Flagstone?
Flagstone runs about $23 to $32 a square foot (installed), depending on the color and whether it’s random or square cut. Square cut is more expensive, but easier to install, and there are lots of design options using either one. If you need a little inspiration, go to the Landscaping Network and check out all the ideas for walkways. For anyone who’s ever wished for a flagstone path or patio, but has no truck to hall the heavy stuff, the Home Depot in Castle Rock will deliver both flagstone and decomposed granite. The pieces at this home improvement store seem to range from 12 to 16 inches, and 120 square feet of flagstone should cost about $1399 per pallet.
Need some professional help? Get a consultation from hardscape pros like the Flagstone Patio Guys or Diggable Designs. They install everything you can think of made from stone, concrete, brick and pavers for your exterior landscape and would be happy to hear from you.
Patios in Crystal Valley
Patios and decks in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley extend the outdoor living space in one of the most accommodating climates in the country. People move to Colorado for the sunshine, change of seasons, and perfect lack of humidity — and bugs! Visitors tend to stay once discovering the attributes of our mountainous state, not to mention our new homes, surrounded by nature and only minutes from the town of Castle Rock. Builders Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton offer ranch or two-story models –priced from the $400s.