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How to Build a Flagstone Patio

Learn how to make your own flagstone patio with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Building a flagstone patio is a great way to better utilize your yard and increase your home’s value. With the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can build a solid, durable patio that will last for many years.

How To Build a Flagstone Patio
Create the perfect outdoor space with your very own flagstone patio. Learn how to build one with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

How to Build a Flagstone Patio

1. Create a Plan: The first step in building the perfect patio is planning out the shape, size and location. The shape can be a traditional square or an organic design, like the patio in the image above. Once you’ve come up with a design, use marking paint to spray its outline on its future location. This will help you visualize the end product. It is now time to pick out your flagstone. Not all flagstones are created equal, so consult an expert as to which are the most durable.

2. Excavate: Patios that are laid without a solid base will sink, becoming dangerously uneven in a very short amount of time. It is necessary to remove the ground eight inches deep, where the patio will be, to lay base material. It is no easy task to excavate the patio area to that depth. Knowing what tools to use will make all the difference in the world. We recommend you first till the ground with a rear-tine tiller. Then, remove the dirt by hand with a shovel and a wheelbarrow or rent a compact track loader…these are great for digging and lifting dirt, base material and flagstones. When the dirt is removed, smooth out the ground with a metal bow rake and tamp the soil down with either a hand tamper or a rented motorized tamper.

Note: A lot of tamping is required when laying a patio base. If your patio is quite large a motorized tamper may be well worth the rental fee. The patio in the image above has a 15 to 20 foot diameter and was built by two people using a rented compact track loader and motorized tamper.

3. The Bottom Layer of Base: Crushed limestone is the best material for the bottom layer of a patio base. Using a metal bow rake spread the limestone one inch thick over the entire area of the patio and tamp it down. Repeat this process until you have four to five inches of compacted limestone. When laying the limestone start to create a slight pitch, preferably away from your house, to allow for proper water run-off. Continue to maintain this pitch when laying the rest of the base and the patio.

4. The Top Layer of Base: Depending on the thickness of the flagstones, add approximately three inches of sand on top of the limestone. This layer of sand helps with drainage and makes it easier to position the flagstones.

5. Install Edging: Install lawn edging around the perimeter of the patio to keep the sand and stone from shifting and also to create a more finished look for your patio.

6. Laying Flagstone: Lay the flagstone directly on top of the sand. Place larger stones in high-traffic areas, such as at the bottom of steps or outside doorways. Gently tamp each stone with a rubber mallet to secure it in place. For a more uniform look, position the stones close together or leave more space between the stones to provide space to plant ground cover.

7. Patio Borders: The patio in the image above has a river rock border. Borders on patios are optional, but a great way to expand your patio. They provide extra space for a grill, a place to display potted plants, bird baths, garden statues and more! They do not need a base like the patio. To make a border, till the grass where the border will be, install a second line of edging along the outside perimeter of the border, lay down landscaping fabric to keep out weeds and spread small rocks or mulch within the border. Borders are quite easy and look great!

8. Enjoy!: The last step is to enjoy your beautiful worry-free patio for years to come! Invite the neighbors over for some s’mores around a fire pit. Have more space for big summer parties. Get an outdoor dining set and use your patio as a second dining room. Or, just set up a comfy hammock and nap the day away. The possibilities are endless!

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