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BostonBull
04-05-2009, 03:29 PM
I am looking for pictures and any tips on installing a spaced out flagstone patio. This will be roughly 8'x10', and installed in my lawn where we step off the deck. This area is constantly compacted and this seems like a cheap solution.






Here are examples of what I am trying to do:


Structured rows
http://www.oclandscape.com/ocblog/archives/sm3.jpg


"Freestyle"

http://grassrootsscapes.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/patio-minneapolis-06.308182721.jpg

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 03:37 PM
Here is the area I am working in

johnsonslawnmanagement
04-05-2009, 07:51 PM
Use 2-3" thick flagstone. This allows for an inch or two of good topsoil backfill around the stones before the sod goes in around them. We have installed dozens of patios this way.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 08:06 PM
what should I lay as the base? 3/4" Limestone with fines, stone dust, sand, or just place on the existing soil?

GreenLight
04-05-2009, 08:10 PM
Im sure there are a lot of different opinions on this, but here is the way we do it...

In a situation like this where you will be planting the joints with a groundcover of some type we basically do a clean sweep excavation of the entire surface with the exception of the outer edge (generally taking out 3 inches of dirt, give or take a bit to get your pallet level and below final grade by 2-3 inches...

1) Next we generally would use some type of mortar w/crushed limestone or 8910 mix and simply build the patio almost like you would if you were building on top of concrete or a compacted surface. IE, set the flagstone on a mortar bed and then use your rubber mallet and a level to tamp into proper place and levels.

2) Let that dry obviously 24-48 hours if possible and then come back in and sweep and walk in or tamp the initially removed dirt as a jointer and then plant your groundcover back in the joints. (When putting the dirt back in try to backfill your joints before putting a lot of traffic on the stone)..

Yes, you can try to simply dig up and set each stone individually without all the excavation and the mortar. In my experience it's a royal pain in the rear to count on the original grade being agreeable and it's also not easy to get your levels right with unless you have some type of base material other than the original dirt.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 09:17 PM
I was planning on excavating the whole area, and then placing the stone on top of a base. I would then backfill with loam, and top dress with compost for the grass seed to take in.

I wanted to be sure that my plan was accurate.

GreenLight
04-05-2009, 09:45 PM
That sounds like a sound method, the only thing I would stray from is the seed part. I would definitely cut in sod or put in a groundcover (dwarf mondo, etc...Sod would be much cheaper but then it has to be maintained as well). 2 reasons.

1) One heavy rain and your loose soil is going to have wash problems (coming out of the joints, spreading all over your hard work and the customer will be the one who has to wash off the stones, which im sure they wouldn't be pleased with and you will probably lose seed.

2) Just my opinion, but it's going to be an eye sore for the customer having what appears to be an unfinished patio waiting on seed to take.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 10:01 PM
Greenlight I like your thinking.

I am the customer, BTW, but sod seems like a good way to go. Wont need very much!

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 10:02 PM
Will 1 pallet do an 8x10 area like I have outlined?

For a small space will the rows or freestlye look better?

GreenLight
04-05-2009, 10:12 PM
No, you don't need anywhere close to a full pallet..If you have 80 square feet that you need sodded completely (no stone whatsoever), you would only need about 1/5 of a pallet. Most pallets are 450 square feet, some are 500 depending on the grass. If you are simply cutting in some sod in the 80 square foot area, but the bulk of the area will be stone, then this number would be even less.

All this being said, most all local sod farms will sell you individual sod pieces somewhere in the $1.50 range. Lets say you need 30-40 pieces, your cost would be roughly $50.00 and you can carry it in any small truck/suv with a little space in the back.

As far as the pattern goes, im a far bigger fan of the natural look of a puzzle. I am not a huge fan of rows and also to do rows you would most likely need to have cut square stones, which is quite a bit more expensive.

On the grass part, just so I am explaining properly, you would do all your stonework first and then the final step after backfilling and everything would be cutting the sod into the joints. You may find it easier to cut the sod first with a machette, edging shovel, some people even use strong carpet knives for a job like this. And then fit it into the joints...Cutting in sod between stone joints is not an easy task to do conventionally, but precutting it is not difficult either.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 10:52 PM
Sorry, I meant a pallet of flagstones LOL!

GreenLight
04-05-2009, 11:22 PM
Depends on the flagstone thickness you will be using..

If you use a 1 1/2 - 2 inch flagstone pallet you are going to be right around the 75-80 sq. ft mark based on the pallets I get...

If you use a 2 - 2 1/2 inch flagstone you are most likely going to need a little bit more...You would probably be in the 65 -70 square foot range..

I would definitely not go thinner than the 1 1/2- 2 inch stone and personally I would rather have the 2 - 2 1/2 inch stone....You are much less likely to have stones break this way under traffic.

BostonBull
04-05-2009, 11:35 PM
Depends on the flagstone thickness you will be using..

If you use a 1 1/2 - 2 inch flagstone pallet you are going to be right around the 75-80 sq. ft mark based on the pallets I get...

If you use a 2 - 2 1/2 inch flagstone you are most likely going to need a little bit more...You would probably be in the 65 -70 square foot range..

I would definitely not go thinner than the 1 1/2- 2 inch stone and personally I would rather have the 2 - 2 1/2 inch stone....You are much less likely to have stones break this way under traffic.

thanks for the info! this is a very high traffic area between us and the dogs.

with what I have outlined, and the amount of traffic, does this sound like a good solution that will still allow grass to grow? with proper care of course.

I want to do this as inexpensively as possible as we will only be here for a few more years.

GreenLight
04-06-2009, 12:28 AM
Just being as honest as possible here and I mean this more in a complimentary way..Yes I think this is a good project and even with high traffic if you can let the sod take to it's new home (3 weeks tops in spring with good amount of sunshine and a solid watering plan) before really attacking it with traffic. The grass itself should have absolutely no long term affects from traffic if the conditions are suitable (don't let leaves pile up on top of it, keep it watered for the first season and in summer and keep it groomed...Sunlight always helps to.)

A job like this doesn't require a highly skilled mason so it definitely is more forgiving than something that needed to be completely symmetrical and had to have slope and grade movement for drainage. Ideally you would still like to have a very subtle bit of movement in some direction so you don't puddle in the middle, but in this case it's not nearly as important as it would be if you had a solid flagstone with mortar joints or compacted joints.

The main 2 things I would concentrate on if I were you
1) have at least one 24-30 inch level with you and try your best to not have highs and low or edges that are out of level. It doesn't sound terribly important, but it matters. It's not easy to eyeball something like that because the eyes will deceive you when you do all that stone work and then come back in and backfill and you realize that your stones are an inch higher in some places as opposed to others. (and yes, that is not uncommon if you do not use some method of leveling, either pulling a string grid or using a hand level).

2) Just make sure your true base is firm. Don't bust up the virgin soil anymore than is absolutely necessary, try to skim it with a flat or edging shovel after you have initially chipped away at it. Don't get in there with a tiller and go nuts , you want good compaction at the true base and then you can set your stones in a subbase or crushed limestone without having to watch them sink and shift (if you choose not to use a small mortar bed under each stone, which isn't absolutely necessary, I just like it that way).