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The fun part: Laying the Stone.

When Flagstone is cut it is relatively flat on one side and can be very rough on the other and isn’t very consistent in its thickness. It’s not uncommon for one edge to be around 1” thick and the other to be 1-1/2” thick. You must therefore adjust the base material under each stone to fit the bottom of the stone because you want the walk to be as smooth and flat as possible. It may take a bit to get the hang of this but once you’ve done a few stones, you will start to get the feel of it.

Be Safe when working with the stone and especially when cutting by wearing hearing protection, goggles and a dust mask, also wearing leather work gloves is recommended when you handle the stone and the base material. Both can easily cut your skin.

 How to Install a Stone Walkway Start at one end, and test fit the stones by laying them out onto the compacted base. Now I like to walk down the path using my normal step, testing to see how my feet fall on the stones, to see if it feels comfortable. Your layout is bound to need some adjustment. If the stones you are using are irregular in size and shape like mine, the task will remind you of putting a puzzle together. Try to keep the gaps between abutting rocks as small as possible and similar in size. With flagstone you can set your joint width to be anything you like but there can be tradeoffs. The fill between the joints will wear away faster with wider joints which may mean your having to refill the joints with material regularly. The material in a thin joint will last much longer, often a few years though it is harder to achieve.

Tip: Continue laying them out, but this first alignment will be temporary, so don’t spend too much time on it. Just lay them out focusing on the middle of the path, using your largest pieces.

After making any necessary adjustments in the positioning of your larger stones, start filling the spaces between your larger stones with your smaller pieces. Again, try to keep the gaps between adjacent rocks as similar as possible. As you are laying the flagstones test fit various stones, or cut specific stones to fit where needed.

When you have your pattern complete, start in one corner setting the stones into the base material by moving a stone from side to side to embed it into the base material making sure you check for any rocking. Also, use your short 2 x 4 or level to check for level and flush with the ground and the other stones around it. You may have to remove or add base material under the stones until its level in both directions and doesn’t rock when you stand on it.

Check each stone as you lay it with your 2 x 4 or level, with the other stones around it. Your goal is simply to make sure each stone is generally flush with the other stones. Sometimes you may have to remove a couple stones around the one you are working on in order to have the room to work properly.

 How to Install a Stone Walkway Continue setting the stones in place being careful to make the edge look good and lined up properly. Depending on the type of rock you’re using for flagstones and the desired look of your project you may need to cut stones along the edge in order to active this. Some types of stone may only require being scored with a chisel and then can be broken along the score line but you can cut stone easily with a circular saw. A common Carborundum abrasive blade will do the trick. But if you have a lot of cuts to make, it’s a better idea to invest in a blade that has diamond chips bonded to its edge. These blades cost a few dollars, but are worth the money because they last much longer than the abrasive blades. To make a cut, first mark the cutline. Slowly push your saw along the line as it cuts, with the depth set to cut about ½”. The saw may vibrate a bit but just take your time and stay on the line.

Tip: If you want a more natural broken look, be sure to use the saw on the bottom side of the stone.

Next, use a wide cold chisel to work your way along the entire cut on the opposite side of the stone, tapping the chisel as you go. The stone will split into two pieces eventually with the amount of force required to break the stone depending on its thickness.

Continue laying the stones along the entire length of the walkway until they are all set.

We’re almost finished now just the finishing touches.

With the flagstones laid in place all that is left is to fill the joints. You could fill these joints with stone dust by spreading it over the stones and working it into the joints with a push broom. The stone dust will sometime need more than one application due to settling. After you have filled the cracks and packed them as best you can, make sure you sweep the stones clean and then use the garden hose to water it in to make sure it settles properly. Another option when working with wide joints is to fill them with some top soil and plant some small walkable plants in the cracks, or you could let some grass grow between the stones. This can really give flagstone areas a fantastic natural and aged look. These small plants can be added randomly throughout the joint network. Not only do they look great but they will help hold in the jointing material.

Knowing these basics of laying flagstone will allow you to create a beautiful natural looking walkway to your yard.

If you are interested here is a short video on installing a Flagstone walkway. It is not mine and there are some differences in the how to’s but I think it is really good and worth the view.

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