Construct a Flagstone Patio in Your Backyard Construct a Flagstone Patio in Your Backyard
Possibly the most simple and affordable way to build a patio in your backyard is to build a flagstone patio. This type of patio does not require the cost or masonry skills required to install bricks with concrete or mortar. Maintenance of this type of patio will be simple, inexpensive, and will require very little of your time. Here's how you can build your patio, using flagstones:
Step 1 – Preparing Your Patio Surface
Choose a flat and level area for your patio. If your area is neither flat nor level, you'll need to level it, yourself, or hire a contractor with a grader. Once you have your flat, level surface, use a rake or shovel to remove all debris such as stones, tree or shrubbery roots, or other protrusions that are likely to create an uneven surface for your flagstones.
Step 2 – Creating Your Flagstone Design
Decide in advance the design you want to use for your flagstones pattern. The design can be circles, a grid, or patterns of alternating flagstone colors, sizes, shapes, etc. For purposes of instruction, we'll assume you plan to use a radial design. Use a string or a garden hose to outline the area in which you'll be installing your patio. To make your radial design, first find the center point of your patio. This will be the point from which all spokes of your radial will meet.
Step 3 – Creating Your Flagstone Bed
To create your flagstone bed, remove from your patio surface 3 inches of soil. Level the surface that remains, using a shovel, rake, carpenters level, and a long 2 by 4.
Step 4 – Filling Your Bed with Sand
You'll need a bed of sand on which to lay your flagstone, so fill with sand the bed you just created, leaving a one-inch space at the top surface. Spread and level the sand, again using your level and 2 by 4. If you have dug your bed 3 inches deep, you'll now have a 1 inch space in which to lay your flagstones.
Step 5 – Tamping Your Flagstone Bed
Use a garden hose to apply water to the entire bed surface. When the sand is all dampened, tamp it with a tamper. In lieu of a tamper, use a mallet and a piece of board, no longer than 3 feet, as your tamper.
Step 6 - Laying Your Flagstone
To lay your flagstone, begin by laying out the individual stones to create your design pattern, beginning at the outer edge and progressing to the center. Lay your larger flagstone pieces closer to the outer edge, the smallest pieces toward the center. If you need smaller pieces to fill gaps, you can create those you need by breaking the larger pieces, using a cold chisel and mallet.
Step 7 - Finishing
Finish your patio, pour sand over the flagstones, sweeping it into the spaces between the stones, watering the sand again, then tamping it into the cracks. Finally, carefully sweep away any loose sand from on top the flagstones.