How to Make a Brick and Flagstone Patio With a Pebble Mosaic Inset

Add a ton of personality to your hardscaping by creating a mixed material patio. We combined brick and flagstone with a decorative pebble mosaic in a floral pattern to create a showstopping backyard feature.

Most of our yards are made up of different kinds of materials, so combining them in one patio is a great way to tie existing materials and new ones. The brick edging and pebble flower design are mortared in place while the flagstone is dry set. Any design can be used for the mosaic inset, try your family’s initial, house number or an abstract design.

Tools and Materials

  • about 87 bricks (for a 10' diameter patio)
  • decomposed granite
  • (6) 60 lb. bags concrete
  • flagstone
  • (8) 90 lb. bags of type-S mortar
  • (4) 50 lb. bags of 3/4” gravel
  • small hand trowel
  • (2) 4” x 20’ composite edging
  • (8) composite stakes
  • (3) wood stakes
  • box of 1” screws for stakes
  • (1) roll landscape fabric (optional)
  • large sponge and a bucket of water
  • string
  • muriatic acid and a toothbrush (optional)
  • rubber mallet
  • flat-head shovel
  • mini sledgehammer
  • mini level and regular sized level
  • drill
  • hand saw/ circular saw (for edging)
  • pick axe
  • utility knife
  • brick hammer
  • push broom

Step 1: Prepare Grade and Place Edging

Grade and level the area for your new patio. Place landscape fabric across the newly graded area. Then measure and determine the center of your circle. Use a mini sledgehammer and a stake to mark four radius points. Our circle is 10’ so the radius is 5’ from the center.

Attach 4” composite edging to the stakes with a drill and screws until you make a 10’ diameter circle. Make sure the stakes are 1” below the top of the edging. Use additional stakes to secure seams where one piece of edging stops and the other starts and fill in between the four main stakes, so the circle keeps its shape. Cut the extra edging off with a hand saw or circular saw then overlap and attach to the final stake to make a complete circle.

Fill the circle and surrounding area with decomposed granite filler and make sure both sections are level with each other.

If you are working with an existing grade and not a new surface, measure your 10’ circle and dig out 4” of dirt within the circle. Place the edging around the circle and secure it with stakes so that the outside edge is touching dirt and the inside is empty.

Step 2: Dig Brick Edge Footing

Use a flat-head shovel to remove the decomposed granite along the inside edge of the circle. If you placed landscape fabric across the yard use a utility knife to cut along the composite edge and fold the landscape fabric back and use pieces of stone to hold it in place. Use a pickaxe and shovel to dig out a circle about 10” wide and 10” deep.

Step 3: Add Gravel and Find Center Point

Add about 2” of 3/4” angular gravel to the base of the circular trench. Use a mini sledgehammer and wood stakes to mark the center of the circle for reference. Attach a string and pull it across so it touches the edging then use a level to double check the levelness and adjust as needed.

Step 4: Pour Concrete Outer Footing

Mix up the concrete and pour it into the outer ring. Use a brick to screed the concrete. Line up the top of the brick about 1/2” below the top of the edging and push the excess concrete into the void spaces, this will give room for the mortar later. Let the concrete set up (dry).

Step 5: Mark Inner Circle

Attach a screw to the top of the stake in the center of the circle. Create a loop knot in the string and measure out 2’8” from the end of the loop. Attach the loop around the screw then use a pencil, stick or finger to press into the granite, marking a circle around the center.

Step 6: Pour Concrete Inner Footing

Use the same process for the inner circle brick as you did for the outer circle brick. Remove decomposed granite, cut out landscape fabric and remove 8” of soil. Fill the ring with 2” of gravel and pour a concrete footing. Use a brick to level the concrete to about 1/2” lower than the level string so you’ll have room for the mortar.

Step 7: Lay Out Flagstone

While the concrete is drying, lay out the flagstone pieces. They will all be different thicknesses, so they will need adjusting to make them lay even with one another. Add or remove decomposed granite as needed and use a level to make sure you've got an even surface. Also, try to match up similar edges as much as possible. You can use a brick hammer to chisel off edges, but you may lose more than you bargain for, so do this with care. Step on each of the flagstones, if they move under your weight, adjust them to stabilize.

Step 8: Mortar Inner Brick

Mix the type-S mortar to a peanut butter consistency. Use an angled hand trowel to place 3/4” of mortar on the dry concrete. Use the tip of the trowel to create an undulated mark on the blob of mortar. This creates suction and room for the mortar to push out. Use a rubber mallet and mini level to make the brick level with the top of the stone, use the string guide for reference.

Step 9: Mortar Outer Brick

Place the mixed mortar on top of the dry concrete using a trowel. Use enough mortar so that it pushes out when you place the brick on top of it, this extra bulge will hold the bricks in from side to side. Keep the bulge at least ½” below the top of the brick to leave room for decomposed granite to be swept in later. Eyeball the spacing between bricks, since it follows a radius it will be about 1/2” on the inside and about 1” on the outside edge. Use a mini level and a rubber mallet to level each brick to each other and the flagstone.

Step 10: Let Mortar Dry

Allow the mortar to set up or dry. Adjust any flagstone pieces if needed.

Step 11: Sweep Decomposed Granite

After the mortar is set, use 1/2 a wheelbarrow full of decomposed granite and a push broom to fill in the voids between the flagstone and brick.

Step 12: Wet Decomposed Granite

Use a hose with an adjustable nozzle to spray water on the decomposed granite, this will help it settle into the voids. Use the remaining 1/2 of a wheelbarrow of decomposed granite to sweep into the joints.

Create Pebble Mosaic Inner Circle

Step 13: Select Stones

Choose slender flat rocks in a variety of colors. We used black Mexican beach pebbles, red Mexican beach pebbles, polished jade and white stones.

Step 14: Design Layout

Pour 1” of dry mortar in the circle and use a pencil or your finger to sketch out a design. Determine what colors will go where.

Step 15: Mix Mortar

Place a 1” layer of gravel and mix up just a few cups of mortar so you can work in small batches. Reference the string and mark your center.

Step 16: Insert Stones

Select long and narrow red Mexican beach pebbles and press them into the mortar. Leave about 1/4 to 1/2” revealed. Continue to mix the mortar and work section by section. If you pre-mix too much mortar it will harden and make it hard to insert the stones.

Step 17: Make Sure It's Even

Use a 2x4 x 3’ piece of wood to press down on high stones so that the mosaic stays level. We used a scrap piece of wood.

Step 18: Work in Small Areas

If the mortar starts to set up, use a rubber mallet to press in the stone. If it is too difficult to press the stone in, remove the mortar and start with freshly mixed pliable mortar.

Step 19: Use Contrasting Colors

Continue to fill in sections of the design, places stones on the outer edge and use contrasting colors to make your design pop.

Step 20: Sponge Off

Use a large sponge to clean off excess mortar. If the mortar gets on the stones it will dry white and look messy. So, make sure it’s as clean as you can get it and rinse your sponge in a bucket of water after every swipe.

Step 21: Clean Up

If needed, use a toothbrush and watered down muriatic acid to clean off missed mortar or film from the stones.

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