Installing flagstone path and walkways..

Flagstone advanages.

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Flagstones set into the ground as stepping stones create an informal path around your garden. Curves in the path and plants growing between the stepping stones and over their edges

 

 

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Installing flagstone paths and walkways

 

The general term flagstone refers to rock fractured into flat slabs 1 or 2 inches thick and used for paving. Bluestone, limestone, red-stone, sandstone, granite, and slate are usually used for building paths. Flagstone irregular shape suits it to both free form and geometric patterns in individual stepping stones or stone surfaces set in sand or installed over a concrete base with mortar.

Flagstone offers an array of colors and textures. Colors range from gray blue to various hues of tans and reds and deep sometimes slightly iridescent blacks. Textures vary from generally smooth to moderately rough.

Adaptable to both formal and informal styles, final effect depends on contours of the path. Stepping stones paths almost always look casual. Sand laid and mortared installation can enhance informal or formal styles, depending on their contours.

 

 

 

 

Flagstone Advantages

 

Stepping stones and dry set paths and walkways are among the easiest hard surface materials to install. They require no specialized skills. Mortared paths are more difficult. Flagstone conforms moderately well to minor variations in terrain and works well on gentle slopes. It adapts to unlimited number of designs variations. Properly prepared a flagstone path is not subject to heaving in freeze thaw cycles and its virtually permanent.

 

 

 

 

Flagstone Disadvantages

 

Large flagstone can be heavy making them difficult to move and place. A well laid design will take time especially if you’re planning a flagstone surface set in sand or over concrete. Stepping stone layouts require less precision. It’s more costly than loose stone. Pores can collect water and become slick when frozen. Slate is slick when wet.

 

       Flagstone durability and maintenance

 

Most varieties will stand up to hard use, continued traffic and wheeled garden equipment. Sandstone wears with use. Stepping stones may require periodic weeding resetting and leveling. Sand laid stone may need occasional resetting. Mortared walks need little maintenance. Some porous rock like sandstone may absorb water and crack in freezing temperatures.

 

 

 

 

Tools needed to install stepping stones

 

·         Stakes, mason’s line, 4 foot level

·         Wheelbarrow

·         Round and square nose shovels or spades.

·         Garden rake

·         Tamper

·         Saw, for cutting drain pipe

·         Scissors, for cutting landscape fabric.

·         Tape measure

·         Hammer

·         Garden hose.

 

                How to install flagstone

 

Stepping stones do not require a gravel base unless bedded in a loose stone path or set in soil subject to extreme frost. In climates with severe winters prepare a gravel and sand base. Lay the flagstones and backfill soil between them. You can set stepping stones directly on the soil but adding 1 to 2 inches of sand under each one will help them drain and minimize setting.

 

1. Layout. Outline the flagstone path with two lengths of hose. Stepping stones look good when arranged informally but keep your contours from looking sloppy with 2-4 spacers. Mark the lines with a light flour dusting along the hoses. Paint will take longer to wear off.

 

2. Spacing. Even though no two stones are alike space them regularly to make walking easier. Placing them 6 inches apart will slow down the pace and let the walker admire your planting beds. On a function walk use 10 inches spacing to speed traffic. For a utility path that you’ll wheel garden equipment over, leave 1 to 2 inches between stepping stones Set the stepping stones out and walk on them to make sure the spacing feels comfortable.

 

3. Chalk around the stepping stones. When you’re sure of your layout, outline each stepping stone with powdered chalk the kind used for chalk lines. Cut the tip and squeeze the bottle to expel the chalk.

 

4. Prepare the recess. Set each flagstone aside and dig along the chalked line. Remove the sod and excavate so the stone will sit low enough to run the lawn mower over when set in 1 to 2 inches of sand. Tamp the soil with the end of a 2+4.

 

5. Add the sand base. Using a round nosed shovel, add 1 to 2 inches of sand to the recess. The sand conforms to irregularities on the bottom of the stone so it will sit level at the correct height. Set all the flagstones roughly in the first pass, then go back and level them.

 

6. Leveling the flagstone. Using a level wide enough to span the largest stone, level each one, keeping the flagstones low enough for lawn mowing. Check each flagstone for level in several directions.

 

Pull the stone out and add or remove sand with a trowel as necessary to make fine adjustments. Lay a piece of 2+4 on each stone and tap it lightly with a small sledge. The 2+4 prevents you from cracking a stone.

 

        Stepping stones layout tips.

 

Here are ideas for your stepping stone design.

        1.     Stepping stones are usually a one person path, so you can keep the scale small.

        2.      To start and stop the path or signal changes of direction use stones about 1 1/2 times larger than average. Lay these junction stepping stones first.

        3.      Try to pattern the stones so their contours relate to each other.

        4.     Lay long stepping stones across the path not parallel with its direction.

        5.     Stepping stones with recesses will collect water, which can freeze, become dangerous and split the stepping stone. Select stepping stones with flat surfaces.

        6.     Stepping stones equal in thickness will make installation much easier. Stepping stones should be at least 1 1/2 inches thick. Thin stepping stones break easily under very little weight.

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

 

 

 

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