There’s a fine line between over-developed landscaping and natural landscaping that can be a tough line to walk. We all want our outdoor spaces to be comfortable and include as many amenities as possible, but the goal is to have an actual outdoor space – not just a duplicate of the interior of our homes.
Luckily, there are several products that thread this line to help generate an elegant outdoor space that’s well maintained and landscaped but also feels natural. Flagstones – thin stone chunks that can be shaped or left in a natural shape – are a perfect element to achieve this look. Utilized properly, these stones can maintain the natural splendor of your landscaping project while still providing the utility you desire.
One of the most common ways flagstone is utilized is as a base for an outdoor patio. The individual stones are traditionally placed in a bed of cement (for a more sturdy patio) or sand or gravel in a desired shape. The space in between each stone is then filled with smaller gravel, plants, and more. The customizable nature of a flagstone patio combined with the relative ease of installation makes it a common choice among pros and DIYers alike. Cut flagstone patios can be an attractive formal addition to any outdoor space, while irregular flagstone patios are completely unique. With a number of varieties and colors to choose from, its clear why flagstone is such a popular choice for patios.
Of course, no patio is complete without a pathway leading to it, and once again flagstone is an excellent choice. Create a more natural look and feel by filling the gaps between the stones with sand, river rocks, or even mulch. With these natural fillers, it’s still best to lay down a weed barrier first – you don’t want to have to weed in between your pathway!
Slate is one of the more common types of stone mined for flagstone products and the resulting chunks of stone can be used to construct major new additions to your yard. Is your yard hilly? Slate staircases are a great way to move between your house and outdoor space. Built by a strategic combination of the placement of the slate pieces, digging and then mortaring, the end result is a natural looking staircase that’s built directly into the ground. (This is one of the more difficult projects involving slate, and since safety is paramount for constructing staircases, you may want to hire a professional for this one.)
Additionally, flagstones aren’t just valuable for projects that lie flat on the ground, they are also commonly used to create attractive retaining walls. Adding verticality to your garden is a great way to stand out and allows the greenery in each level to visually stand out. Retaining walls made from flagstone have an old-world feel to it, evoking a rustic, European vibe that enhances any landscaping project. Properly installing retaining walls can be a challenge but the effort radically transforms any outdoor space.
If you’re looking for a way to add outdoor seating to your garden without buying an ugly plastic chair that’s vulnerable to the weather, flagstone can even help you out here. Combining three properly shaped stones can create a natural looking outdoor bench. Mortaring together the slabs ensures stability, and these outdoor seats are an excellent addition for gardens or placed around a fire pit.
Speaking of fire pits, flagstone is an attractive material to use for the exterior of the finished product. For the interior, you’ll want a material that’s fireproof, like firebrick. However, constructing this fire pit in the center of your flagstone patio, along with flagstone seating, you’ll have a natural looking outdoors space that’s both chic and cohesive.
Flagstone’s popularity as a hardscaping building material comes from a combination of elements, chief among them is its weather resilience, color options, and variety of shapes.
The variety of colors available means that you can use flagstone for all of your outdoor projects but still have contrasting colors. Utilize a lighter gray for your retaining wall and an earthy brown for a path. Combine the different colors with the variety of shapes and options available and there are nearly unlimited ways to differentiate your flagstone elements.
There’s also very little maintenance required to maintain a flagstone path or patio. Most of the time you’ll be sweeping the exterior or weeding the surrounding areas. If an accident does occur and one of your flagstones is chipped, it’s easy to remove just that one element – no need to tear out the entire patio to fix one cracked piece.
Slate and other types of flagstone are just the elements you need to achieve a landscape that is both useful and beautiful – naturally.