flagstone walk

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by bobcatnj, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. bobcatnj

    bobcatnj LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    looking to do a flagstone walk with a 2 step stair coming off a front door. not sure what to use for the stairs. retaining wall block? any ideas? anyone have some pics of some flagstone walks??

    STONE SCAPES LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    You could use granite steps. Also techo bloc just came out with steps.
  3. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    Build the steps with a base block and overlay with the flagstone. Just make sure you keep the thickness in check with what a steps rise.
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    Is the flagstone being set in mortar?

    Even if dry lay you can build the steps out of concrete + block and cover with stone.
  5. leaflandscape

    leaflandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    Here are two ways to do nice natural steps. The first picture has natural limestone steps (we did the hardscaping and they finished up the gardens-ouch!), and the second picture has mortared flagstone steps over poured concrete (the flagstone walkway is dry-laid). I hope these help.

    housefeb06 136.jpg

    may05 017.jpg
  6. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    here some quick pics for you......all dry laid except the large entry steps in pic 4 are supported by a concrete slab and block work for reasons that would take a minute to explain....so I own't right now. Are you looking for 2 additional steps and 3 risers or one step and 2 risers????

    Keller 025.jpg

    McMer 023.jpg


    DenPro95 007.jpg

  7. Hokie84

    Hokie84 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Your dry laid flagstone patio looks great. I have been doing hardscaping for only a couple of years, mostly all paver and SRW. I did one irregular flagstone patio, but the owner wanted the wide gaps. I have a front walk project this spring, and would like to do I job a nice as the walk you posted. Could you share the technique you use to do a dry laid irregular flagstone path with tight joints? What tool do you use to cut the stone, and do you use the same edge restraints as with pavers?

    Thanks for any insight you can give me
  8. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    I personally like to use all hammers and chisels with mild support from a 4 1/2" grinder with a diamond blade but most guys I work with like the opposite formula. All primary work with a grinder with support from the hammers and chisels to add the required texture to the edges of the stone so the pieces don't look like they have as much of a cut look. Obviously using the grinder is the easiest way to do it but either way you're relying on a "back cut" of the stone to finesse your pieces together and give each piece the natural look. When you back cut your stone you're giving yourself a thinner edge to the stone that makes it easier to fine tune with hammers/chisels to get the tight fit you're looking for. Many guys out there will rely soley on a cut off saw with a 12 or 14" diamond blade. I personally don't care to incorporate a saw into my crews mix of tools to do this work for the simple fact that most younger guys will go for a straight cut instead of the more natural rounded edge. I think it is in pic 4 above you will see all the cuts are straight on the pieces of stone.....IMO it just doesn't look as natural which is the look most of our clients are going for. It looks too manufactured and doesn't have that finished look of quality craftsmanship. As far as edge restraints go we typically never use them on a natural walk as the edges are usually left very wavy so it would be next to impossible to put edging on and have it be effective. Instead I use gravel on the edges and pack it in tight with a hand tamp. Hopefully this helped you, if not let me know
    Here's some guys at work
    By the way....always protect the house you're working on if using a grinder. The dust can be your worst nightmare when it comes in contact with finished carpentry

    July 083.jpg

    July 165.jpg

    Smith 011.jpg
  9. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Marcus, how consistant is the flagstone in thickness?
  10. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    MRusk it all depends on the supplier we get it from. We have some places we can buy it for pretty cheap that gives us pieces from 1"-3" all on the same pallet. When doing a dry laid application this can be a pain in the neck. The 1" pieces are worthless because they're so fragile and the 3" pieces are just too heavy to handle for a walkway or patio. We have recently been using a broker who goes all over New York and Pennsylvania for us hand selecting bluestone flagging and steps for us, essentially piece by piece. The cost is somewhere around 5 times as much as our cheapest source but the benefit is that we have next to no waste. With the cheaper product we were getting as much as 50% waste per pallet and then we had to deal with handling the product numerous times on the site and then hauling it away. It was an easy decision for us to switch to the more expensive product. We plan on 100 sq ft per pallet so when we were only getting 50 sq our budgets were going down the drain.
    So in short in a dry laid app we like pieces in the 1 1/2" - 2 1/2" range for patios and walks, pieces 3"+ when they may be in a vehicular situation, and only in specialty masonry apps when we have no other choice do we use the 1" thick pieces.
    All that applies to bluestone only which is our primary product of choice. We do use a couple quarries out of Mass on occasion and also use Saw 1 granite slabs from Swenson pretty regularly as well.

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