With warmer days ahead, it’ll be patio season all over again. Why not bring the party outdoors by creating a backyard oasis? Start with the basics first by creating a flagstone patio to transform your outdoor space. It’s a relatively easy Do It Yourself weekend project that will be sure to impress your summer guests.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
• gravel, sand or granular material
• landscaping rake
• hand tamper
• rubber mallet
• natural flagstone pieces
• topsoil (optional)
Prepare your base
Select how big you want your patio area to be and take measurements so you can determine how many stones you’ll need to purchase from a landscaping store, nursery or hardware garden centre to cover the surface. Start digging out the soil, about six inches deep, and have a wheelbarrow on hand so it will be easy to relocate the soil somewhere else in your yard like a planting bed. Fill the base with sand, crushed stone or a granular material. Smooth and even out the grade with a landscaping rake before using a hand tamper to further level and compact the surface.
To check that the floor is even, use your level, placing it on a piece of wood on top of the surface you’ve created.
Lay your flagstones
The choice is yours whether you want to use rectangular stone pieces or irregular ones, but once that decision has been made start setting them down like a jig saw, using a hammer and chisel, if needed, to resize or reshape any stone. Take a step back every so often to make sure you like the design. When all stones have been set down and you’re happy with the look, stand on each piece or hit it with a rubber mallet to secure them in place.
Fill in gaps
Use sand, gravel or event topsoil to fill in the gaps between stones. Sand or gravel will hold the pieces firm in place while top soil will allow grass, moss or other greenery to grow between the stones. Dump the material of your choice and use a broom to sweep it into the crevices. Use your garden hose to lightly wet the patio and rinse the stone. The water will also help the material settle in place. You may need to add more material until the gaps are properly filled and are firm.