DIY Network

How to Lay a Flagstone Patio

To create a rustic looking patio and walkway, there is no better material than natural flagstone.

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with loam set and stones swept it is ready to go Watch Video
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Purchase Stone

Determine the size, shape and location of the flagstone patio and walkway. Take the measurements to a stone yard and select the material for the project. Palletized stone is a pallet of pre-sorted premium stone. It is more expensive but will save time because the stones are a more uniform size, shape and quality. Have the stone yard deliver the material to the project site.

sort through stones for size,color and shape

Step 2: Prepare Base

Spray an outline of the patio and walkway with marking paint. Excavate the area to a depth of 6". Smooth and even out the grade with a landscaping rake. Further level and compact the surface using a hand or power tamper. Add and tamp 1" layers of gravel until there is a firm 3" thick compacted gravel base.

compact the exposed dirt with the plate compactor

Step 3: Set Flagstones

Starting closest to the house, begin setting flagstones onto the gravel base. Make sure each stone is well seated in the gravel by standing on it or hitting with a rubber mallet. Continue setting stones, aiming for a consistent 4" gap between stones. Use a level to maintain a slight pitch away from the house.

Tip: To shape stones, mark the cuts on the stone with a pencil and chip away pieces with a hammer and chisel. Do not attempt to chisel more than a few inches at a time as this could ruin the stone.

secure the stones with a rubber mallet

Step 4: Fill Joints

Choices of material for filling the joints include pea gravel, sand or topsoil. The latter will allow grass, moss or other crevice-growing plants like lemon thyme to grow between the stones. Once the material is selected, dump it on top of the patio and walkway and work it into the joints with a sweeper brush. Pack the first layer into the joints well using a jointer. Continue adding and sweeping until the joints are filled.

spread loam on top of patio with sweeper brush