How To Install Patio Stones
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How To Install Patio Stones

Installing stones in a patio is hard work, but if it's done properly you'll have a patio that will last and add beauty to your property. Over the years the stones will only need adjusting from time to time.

A well paved patio adds sophistication and elegance to a property. Patio stones are fairly easy to install, as long as they are placed on level, well tamped ground.

Flagstones should be at least 3/4 of an inch thick, else they’ll break. The stones should be of the same thickness, though they might be of different lengths and widths to make for interesting patterns. It will take about a day to lay a 100 square foot patio. The work will be a bit labor intensive, and the builder should take frequent breaks, but a beautiful patio will be worth it.

First Steps

The perimeter should be laid out. One way to lay out a perimeter is with a water hose. The nozzle of the hose should be turned off and then the water turned on, which will make the hose easier to handle. The hose should be laid out in the shape the builder wishes, and lime or sand should be poured along the pattern. When the hose is removed the area will be able to be seen clearly. Of course, the water should be turned off and the excess water allowed to safely run out of the hose.

The sod within the perimeter should be dug up and removed, as well as tree roots and rocks. Then, the area should be raked level and tamped down with a hand tamper. Low spots should be filled and tamped again, and if necessary edging can be installed.

Laying Stones

Stones should be laid in a pattern, with the larger stones around the perimeter. If a stone is too thick it should be removed, and more soil dug out. If the stone is too thin, some soil or sand should be put beneath it. Each stone should be tested to make sure it doesn’t break. If possible, the stones should remain uncut, but if a stone has to be cut it should be laid over the stone that will sit next to it. The outline of the edge of the lower stone should be scored into the upper stone about 1/8 inch deep with a scratching tool, and then the upper stone should be split with a baby sledgehammer.

Final Steps

When the stones are in place, soil should be shoveled into the gaps between them. Then, the patio surface should be misted and the stones cleaned while the soil is soaked at the same time. Low spots should be filled in, then sprayed again. The process should be repeated till there are level looking joints about 1/8 inch below the surface of the stones. The gaps can be planted with grass, moss or groundcover.

Photo Credit: Helen Eekhof, The Flagstone Company

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