Make a Flagstone Patio

$2000
10 Days
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With the kids leaving the nest, my wife and I decided to get rid of the trampoline. That left a huge circular void in our backyard, a place that invited Martians to land. So we came up with the idea to create a flagstone patio.
It's a challenging project, but I saved thousands doing it myself.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
First you need to check with your doctor and make sure you are up for this. It's a physically demanding project if you DIY. Some of these stones may be over 100 pounds and you may need help lifting them and placing them. Unless you rent mechanized equipment, expect to do some digging and shoverling. And yes--you might want to wear a back brace.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
First select a suitable site. Preferably one that is already fairly level. Consider subdivision covenants and/or county requirements. Get away from the house or other structures if you want to add a fire pit. Consider privacy and what your neighbors think.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Create a level and compact soil base that is 3 to 4 inches below grade. I built my patio on a slope so I had to first build a retaining wall. It was hard work, but relatively easy to build. Use bags of crush & run to build a footing, and then make sure that first set of blocks are level. Then stack them. However, you may not need to do this if you pick out a level spot. I got my blocks from Home Depot.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Add a 3 - 4 inch layer of crush run and compact it. Use a hand tamp or rent a gasoline-powered tamper for faster results. Use strings to make sure you are getting your base good and level. You could have the crush run delivered. I made about 5 runs (truck loads)to the landscaping store to have enough.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Work with your local landscaping stores to select your flagstone. Give them the area you are working with and they can estimate what you need. I needed 2 pallets and had them deliver the stones right next to my patio site (a big back saver) I recommend going with the 2 to 3 inch thick stones for a patio. Being that thick they are much less likely to wobble or move. Also, pick out the color you want. They do vary in color somewhat.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
I elected to build the fire pit first and then added flagstone around it. You may not want a fire pit for your patio. I do have a separate tutorial on Hometalk for the fire pit if you are interested. BTW, I bought the fire pit kit from Lowes.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Begin adding the flagstone, one stone at a time. It's like building an enormous jig saw puzzle. Adjust each stone and use the level for each one and to make sure neighboring stones are flush with each other. Take away or add crush run to adjust height of the stone. A simple process, but yes very tedious.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Here I am leveling and comparing stone to stone. Each neighboring stone. If you want your patio to have a slight pitch to it that's totally okay. Just make sure the stones are even with each other so you don't create a trip hazard.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Use a sizable hammer to chip off jagged edges or sharp points. Make sure you wear safety glasses. Flagstone is very easy to break and shape to make stones fit gaps and follow the contour of the other stones. I found this 5 pound hammer at Lowes or Home Depot.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Tamp around the edge of each stone and make sure it's well seated in the crush run. As a final test for each stone, stand on them to make sure there's no wobble. If you detect wobble, keep working with it to make sure it has a good solid base.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Stones are all in place. Now it's time to fill in the gaps. BTW, it's okay to have 1 to 2 inch gaps between stones. But you may want to place the stones for a tighter fit. That would mean you would need less filling matter. I DO NOT recommend concrete because you're building this patio on a crush run base. Concrete would eventually crack if you used it to fill the gaps. Now, if you built it on a concrete base, you might be okay with concrete in the gaps.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
I used something called M10 to fill the gaps. M10 packs well and is not as prone to sustain vegetation growth. It's a very fine gravel--almost like a mixture of gravel and granite dust. A truck load is all I needed.
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Broadcast the M10 out over your patio with a shovel. Then use a push broom to move it into the gaps and cracks.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
Using your hose with a spray nozzle attachment, lightly spray over the patio. This will encourage the M10 to settle down into the gaps. You may want to repeat this step a couple of times, until the M10 is nearly flush with the stones.
make a flagstone patio, concrete masonry, diy, outdoor living, patio
And you're done! Invite friends, family, neighbors and have a party! But you might want to rest and recover first. Or make a visit to your Chiropractor - LOL. This project took me several weekends to complete, but I saved thousands doing it myself.
Stephen Scott Johnson

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Juli
    on Sep 16, 2017

    where did you get the M10. Can you buy it somewhere in bags. I really like the way it looks. I would just like to get enough to fill in around flagstones where sand has settled.
    • Stephen Scott Johnson
      on Feb 14, 2018

      Sorry I have overlooked your question. I got this from my local landscaping outlet. You might find bags of this at your local Home Center, but I think it's easier (maybe cheaper) to get a truck load.
  • Beki Bowen
    on May 30, 2018

    We did this too. However, we live in the Texas Hill Country and it is hot as......blazes!!! What can you do to make this cool enough for kids to walk on bare footed? Ours is around the pool.

    • Beki Bowen
      on May 31, 2018

      Thank you. I can't plant a tree close enough to do any good. Thinking about using a tri-corner sail cloth for a bit of shade, but that flagstone is

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4 of 42 comments
  • Taunya Ingram-McCarty
    on Jul 1, 2017

    I read this a week after my own such project. Wish I had known of this M10 product. Where can I find this?? Would be better than the pea gravel I used.
    • Stephen Scott Johnson
      on Jul 1, 2017

      Tanya ... Thanks for the comment! I got this by the truck load at my local landscaping supplier. The same one you can get sand, stones, and gravel from. But if you need it for a small project you can also find bags at your local DIY stores like Lowes or Home Depot I believe it goes by the name patio/paver base or all-purpose sand. Not sure if it's exactly the same as M10, but it seems to be very similar in consistency.

  • Joanie
    on Feb 13, 2018

    Waiting for the fire pit for heat and a nice chair for comfort.........when's is the party........VERY inviting and also a really nice lookin' pit and stone flooring and great job!!!
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