How to Install a Flagstone Patio

Flagstone is an ideal material for your new patio.

Getting ready

It's durable, has a naturally non-slip surface and comes in a wide range of colors, from red and brown to pink, green, gold and beige, so you can coordinate it with virtually any home color. Plus flagstone is readily available (just go to your home store) and easy to work with.

Determine the size and shape of your new flagstone patio, then use spray paint (or flour) to mark the outline.

Remove the existing lawn and dig to a depth of about 5 inches and smooth out the bottom. You want a hole deep enough to accommodate the sand base you are going to build plus the height of the flagstones. The finished height of the patio should stand about 1/4" above the surrounding ground.

Install edging around the edge of your hole, following your outline. Set the top of the edging slightly below ground level. Plastic edging is easy to install--just use 12" galvanized nails driven straight into the ground.

Pour in masonry sand (very fine sand grains) and pack it down using a rented compactor. Establish a solid 3" base of sand.

Ensure that the sand base is NOT level. The base should slope away from your house so water will run off the finished flagstone patio and into your yard, not into your basement. You can use a regular level fastened to a board to check that the base has a grade.

Lay your flagstone in the hole and move the pieces until you figure out your final arrangement. If possible, use full stones and minimize the amount of cutting you'll need to do. Mark the stones where you want to make cuts.

Remove the stones, make the cuts and lay the flagstones back into the base.

Partially fill the seams between the stones with sand (use a push broom to get it into the cracks). Run the compactor over the finished surface to pack the sand into the seams.

Cutting flagstones

Lay a piece of scrap plywood on your lawn as a place to cut your flagstones.

Use a rented masonry saw to cut your flagstones. You could also use a circular saw with a masonry blade, but a masonry saw is more powerful and will make the job quicker and easier.

Things You Will Need

  • Work gloves
  • Flagstones, edging, masonry sand
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Compactor
  • Level
  • Masonry saw
  • Dust mask
  • Eye protection

Tips

  • Flagstone, edging and masonry sand are available at your home store or garden center.
  • You can "make" your own sand compactor using a 4 x 4 to flatten the sand.
  • The smaller the gaps between your flagstones, the less sand you will need to fill them.
  • You will likely need to add more sand to fill up the cracks in the first couple of weeks after installing your new patio. Large gaps lose sand faster than small, tight gaps.

Warning

  • A masonry saw cutting flagstone creates heavy dust. Wear a dust mask and eye protection.