Laying a flagstone patio is a satisfying home improvement project that will bring you a lifetime of sunny afternoons relaxing in your yard. Although most flagstone patios are laid with a random pattern using broken edged pieces of flagstone you can also get flagstone with cut edges and lay a brick stack or square pattern. There are some simple steps to remember when you lay patio pavers so keep reading and learn all about how to lay a flagstone patio.
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There are two ways to mark the edges when building a patio, with a string line or with a garden hose. Stringline: A stringline is used to get nice straight edges, put a stake at each corner of the flagstone patio and pull a stringline between them. This will be the edge when you remove soil for the base layer and the edge when you lay patio flagstone. Garden Hose: Use a garden hose when you want a more random edge. Lay the garden hose in your desired position, changing it as necessary to get the patio layout that you like the best. Use spray paint to paint the line of the hose on the grass or dirt. Remove the hose before digging.
When you build a patio with flagstone it is critical that the patio slopes away from any adjacent house or other structure so water will run away from the house. The minimum slope is 1/8" per foot. This means that in 8 feet you will have 1" of drop as you go away from the house. Figure out the height of the top of the flagstone patio on the end closest to the house. Dig down from this elevation 5 inches. Drive a stake into the ground in the bottom of the hole so that the top of the stake is 5 inches below what will be the finished top of the flagstone patio. Go to the farthest point on the patio away from the house. Measure the distance and add 1/8" for every foot. Add this measurement to the 5 inch depth you set next to the house. Dig a hole to this lower depth and install a stake just like before, only lower. The difference in the tops of the stakes is you slope.
The next step in building a flagstone patio is to remove the 5 inches of dirt where you will lay the patio so a base layer of compacted fill can be installed to give the patio a solid foundation. Use a shovel to remove dirt down to the level of the top of the stakes you set earlier. Start by removing the soil in a line between the two stakes. Use a 2x4 that can touch the tops of both stakes at the same time. keep excavating the soil until the board can touch the tops of both the stakes at the same time. Expand your digging out to the sides and use a level to make sure the bottom of the hole is level from left to right.
The base layer of compacted fill is installed by filling up the hole with 3 1/2" of compactable fill. When you compact this layer it should end up being about 3 inches thick. It is not too critical that it be perfectly flat because you will level the surface with sand in the next step. Use a plate compactor or hand tamper to compact the base layer. Make multiple passes each direction to get a solid compacted base.
The final layer that goes directly under the flagstone patio surface is made from a layer of sand. Spread the sand out about 1 1/2" thick.
depending on the size of your flagstone patio pavers you should set 3 or
Flagstone cuts fairly easily when the right tools are used. Use a diamond blade mounted on a grinder or circular saw to cut flagstone. Too much heat ruins diamond blades so don't try to cut too deep at one time. Make several passes, cutting deeper with each pass.
The final step when you lay patio flagstone is to finish the joints. There are several ways to finish the joints in a flagstone patio: Fill The Joints With Sand: This is the easiest way to finish the joints you simply spread sand over the surface of the newly laid flagstone and use a broom to sweep the sand into the joints. Then use the edge of a masons trowel or other flat edged tool to press the sand down into the joints. Spraying the surface of the flagstone with water and letting the water run down through the sand will settle the sand further. Add sand until it stays flush with the top of the flagstone patio.
Use a broom or spray water to clean your new flagstone patio. Be careful to not wash the sand or moss from the joints when cleaning the joints.