View Full Version : first hardscape job

05-10-2005, 11:40 PM
We just got our first hardscape job..Installed a new lawn and beds and he's giving us the patio assuming the price is right.... Customer wants flagstone patio bordered by pavers. On the outside edge of the patio there will be a planting area and after that will be a free standing wall. It will act as a retaining wall for 1 to 2 feet, then the top 2 to 3 feet will be a double sided decorative wall. I think it's called a "bench wall." Still have to decide on colors, etc. What's the building process for all of this. I've done a small flagstone patio before, but the customer already did the base. We just finished the layout. Is the base the same as for pavers? What's the setting layer if any? Should we hold in the paver border with edging?? What's the base for the wall? Are there mechanical fasteners or adhesives or are the blocks self stacking/locking like retaining walls?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. This job could lead to many others.. :)

05-10-2005, 11:46 PM
One more item... There is a three foot drop from the door to the patio. Customer wants a landing (deck) at house floor level. About 3' x 6'. Two sides attached to house. The other two sides will be steps. I can build the deck with no problem. Should the steps rest on the flagstone patio or should the flagstone butt up to the steps?

05-11-2005, 12:06 AM
I have one question. How did you just get your first hardscape job without knowing how to perform the work? Flagstone bordered by pavers???????

05-11-2005, 12:43 AM
I'm a good salesman. I'm the kind of person who once i see it done I can do it. Obviously, the more I do the better I get. The customer wants flagstone bordered by pavers....one course.

05-11-2005, 12:19 PM
Are you going to use manufactured or natural flagstone?

05-11-2005, 06:47 PM
4 inches CR6, tamp, 2 of stonedust, tamp, lay flag stone, add/remove, dust as needed.

05-11-2005, 07:44 PM
Go to your block manufacturers website for the correct info for your application

You can use paver edging to hold your soldier courses...the pavers are 2 3/8" thick...different than your flagstone. Add an upcharge for the additional cutting. Outline the walkway with the pavers first, then fill in with the flagstone.

Your steps are independent of the flagstone. Steps on top of the flagstone will not be stable.

05-11-2005, 08:03 PM
Treedoc, wouldn't it be easier to overlay the flagstone, cut it in place and then install the pavers?

05-11-2005, 08:39 PM
if the pavers are thicker you would have to dig down the edges to install the pavers.

once the grade is set, then a small amount of base can be added to bring it up to desired height..... i think....LOL

sounds like a lot of complicated grade work.. also i am assuming you can't run a tamp on the flagstone.... how do you set it???

05-11-2005, 09:14 PM
mbella - for me I want the compaction for the area as hard as possible. A 5' wide finish path I will compact at almost 6' so the pavers are stable...no sand for this type of decorative application, just the stone dust. Spread the next level of stone dust for the flagstone like normal. Wormdrive 7" circular saw and T-seg diamond blades make quick work of the flagstone. Ignore the layout of the edge and make your flag square and perpendicular to the house, just like any other job...cut the flag to fit with tight joints.
YardPro - $10 rubber mallets set the flagstone. Because you have the 2 paver edges at final grade, it's easy to get the flagstone level in reference to the pavers. Doing the pavers last would require a lot more excavation and monkeying around.

05-11-2005, 09:33 PM
Treedoc, I don't want to complicate this, but I'm a little slow. Btw, I'm not doubting you, only asking. I've never done this application (btw, I don't like it at all). I think I would do it as you said except I think I would screed the bedding layer as if I was going to install pavers (2 3/8") Then I would set the flagstone and add screenings as needed to achieve finished paver elevation (assuming the flagstone is less than 2 3/8" thick), overlay, cut in place, trowel off excess screenings and install pavers.

05-11-2005, 10:00 PM
The edge line between the paver and flagstone will always be a little soft because you are pulling a little material away and disrupting your nice compacted layer. I want to maintain a strong edge to the project so there is no migration and spreading.

Cutting as you have described might result in more joint size and possible extra cuts on the pavers both on the long side to accomodate the bends and on the short side to accomodate the flagstone cut.

Filling interior to preset paver edges will be quicker and less measuring and leveling to a future set point.

Another look "Between a rock and a hard place" and how the edge is simple and clean.

Good Luck, remember if we only do work that we like, we miss out on a lot of jobs for clients that have different tastes. I care about collecting "dead presidents", and giving the client the best possible outcome to their vision.

05-11-2005, 10:30 PM
Treedoc, you make some good points. Have you ever tried it the way I suggested?

I'm out for dead presidents as well, believe me. I would pave pink flamingos all day if a customer wanted it. I only draw the line when there are issues of structural integrity.

Btw, your work looks first class.

05-11-2005, 10:31 PM
Treedoc,I have never seen a job like that....it looks good. I am unclear how you cut through the flagstone on a curve with a circular saw,doesen't the blade bind when making a slight turn?

05-11-2005, 10:36 PM
Treedoc, is that natural flagstone? I haven't seen natural flagstone with that nice of a profile in years. That looks as good as the manufactured product we use.

05-12-2005, 12:20 AM
Very helpful!! I meet with the client tomorrow night to go over details.

Treedoc - nice pics. Gives me a good idea of what I need to do. Will a regular circular saw work for the cuts? I don't have a worm-drive. How about a grinder? I may have easier (cheaper) access to that. Do you make the smooth curve cuts by cutting away sections until you get close to the cut line and then just trim away?? One more ?? for now...after compacting the base, does the stone dust get screeded and compacted, screeded and hand tamped or just screeded??

05-12-2005, 07:48 AM
The product is natural flag, I'm constantly wandering the different yards and buying pallets when they are good enough. I only purchase 2' x 3'. If you buy full trailers, the quality can and will vary.

On sharp radius curves use a 4" grinder with a diamond blade. $89 for a Ridgid or Skil and $39 for the blade. A decent wormdrive from Depot runs around $160...Ridgid or Skil. You will burn out a regular circular saw. A grinder will chip the edges. If you can't hide $500 bucks in the job to cover your new tools, you are too cheap. I average $24 a sq ft on stone dust, material costs run $8, labor runs $8.

Your compacted base is sufficient, hammering the flag in place on the handfuls of loose dust will compact the remainder.

When cutting keep the revs up, cool the blade every 20 seconds or so, extend your cuts into the scrap section of your cut, keeping the edge clean...not a big deal. I budget 20% scrap into my calcs when I price the job...don't want to be caught short, drive time is valuable.

05-13-2005, 01:17 AM
Thanks treedoc..........Not to sound dense, but please clarify the stone dust. How much should I put down over the base?? I understand I'll have to add/subtract to level stones, but how thick should it be to start??

05-13-2005, 07:22 AM
4-6" of compacted base
1-2" stone dust loose