Designing the ultimate outdoor space for your enjoyment should be a fun experience. There are so many different ways to update an outdoor space to make it more attractive or comfortable. There’s a reason why so many homeowners choose to augment their yards with a flagstone patio. Flagging is a highly customizable process, adding a natural hardscape element to your backyard and creating a contrast between your plants and other landscape features.
Flagstones are natural stones that have been split into thin layers and are primarily used for patios and walkways. The stones are commonly used in both irregular, natural shapes and in cut, geometric squares. They’re also a great choice for the added texture that comes from having a roughened surface, providing more traction even in the rain.
One of the many reasons why people choose flagstone is for its natural look and feel. Earthy colors like greys, browns, and reds create a very authentic feel no matter what shape you decided on. The amount of natural stone varieties available makes for unlimited design choices for all types patios. Create a natural looking path from the home to an outdoor grill using irregular shapes, or “crazy paving.” Or create a more formal patio experience and use a variety of rectangular flagstones in a pattern. The plethora of shapes available mean you can have fun with placement and maximize space.
When designing your flagstone patio, think about how you’ll be using the space. Are you grilling out with friends and family during the summer? What about focusing your new patio around an in-ground fire pit? If there’s one specific area you want to emphasize, design a circular pattern with the object or area as the focal point. If you’re interested in a rectangular shape, utilize the irregular flagstones for a unique pattern.
To create a more unified presentation, flagstones are often placed just slightly apart and then the gaps between are filled. One of the most common ways to fill the space between each stone is concrete, creating a solid surface to stand on. This is an elegant solution to even out the surface and create a space perfect for outdoor furniture, grills, or other freestanding backyard appliances, but there are so many ways to make each flagstone pop. Gravel is another common material used to fill the space between each flagstone, creating a more rustic feel to the space while still providing a base layer that helps keep the flagstones even. For a more natural design, some choose to fill that in-between space with moss or grass, making each individual stone pop in contrast with the green surrounding it.
If you are going to set your flagstones in sand or gravel, it’s important to note the risks that come with connecting the stones via mortar. Sand and gravel shift, and despite the patio looking incredibly smooth immediately after the project finishes, time, weather, and use will cause the stones to shift and your smooth patio will become bumpy. If you want mortar to connect your stones, it makes more sense to install them in a cement base to ensure stability.
Flagstones are often used for patio construction not just because of the variety available, but due to the durability of the product. The slate, sandstone, and limestone commonly used for producing flagstones are weather resistant and require very little in the way of continual maintenance. If your patio is laid in gravel or sand, you may need to readjust specific stones to keep everything level. Another maintenance plus for a flagstone patio is repair, if one flagstone breaks or cracks, it’s easy to repair just that one stone. No need to completely tear up the whole project for one faulty element.
The flexible nature of flagstone lends itself to both DIY and professionally installed patios. A quick Google search online reveals numerous how-to videos and articles showing amateurs assembling their own flagstone installations. Regardless of what path you take, it’s important to plan everything out first. Make sure that you’re happy with your design on paper before ordering, and once you’ve received your product, lay it out to see if you really like what you’ve designed first. That’s one of the major benefits of constructing a patio with flagstone – the ability to visualize the final product before you install everything and create your outdoor oasis.