Flagstone has many uses in the landscape. From striking walkways and patios as steps and flooring, to a fun fire pit or water feature, flagstone can jazz up the landscape.
With so many types of flagstone available, it’s no wonder you find it used in so many landscape designs, along with lots of questions.
- How much should you buy?
- Why are there different prices for the material?
- Is it suitable for DIY projects or only for professionals?
The information below will give you an overview to get your landscaping project started.
If you need more questions answered about landscaping with rock, flagstone or other materials, check with your local rock, stone or landscape supply. They have a wealth of knowledge to share.
Adding flagstone to your landscaping design provides you with an excellent way to define the areas of your garden and make your yard easily accessible and navigable. It’s an excellent material to use with so many attractive and useful applications.
Different Types Of Flagstone
You’ll find lots of different types of flagstone, and see a number of different names applied to these types. For example, you may see large, thick slabs referred to as “standup”. The reason for this is that they are often marketed standing on end in a rack.
The stone is often referred to as patio stone for obvious reasons. These two types of stone are very different, each intended to be used in entirely different applications. This is why it pays to be careful and know exactly what you want when you go rock shopping.
Having a clear vision and a good list can cut through a lot of the confusion when sorting the wide variety of prices with this type of stone material. For example, there are some types of flagstone that are intended for do-it-yourself use by non-pros.
There are still other types, especially intended for professional use. In this article, we will provide essential information to help you make the right choices for your project. Read on to learn more.
5 Important Questions To Think About When Buying Flagstone Landscaping Rock
#1. How Is It Sold & How Much Does Flagstone Cost?
You often see Flagstone sold by the ton rather than per piece or by the pound. The cost will vary depending upon the kind of rock being sold. Generally speaking, the per ton price ranges from $40-$320. The price difference depends on the quality of the rock. More exotic rock naturally costs more. If the budget is tight, consider looking for locally quarried common flagstone.
#2. What Thickness Does Your Project Call For?
Choose a type of stone thick enough to bear up well under the task at hand. For example, if you want to lay a simple path or walkway without using mortar, you cannot use very thin flagstone. You’ll need stones at least two inches thick. Otherwise, they tend to crack and break with use. If you are planning to provide a mortar base, you can use a thinner variety of stone.
#3. What Width Do You Need?
If you’re going to make a patio using mortar, you have a number of different choices. For this type of construction various shapes and sizes will do. On the other hand, if you’re making a pathway you’ll want to look for large flagstone slabs a minimum of two feet in width. Proper selection will help you construct a sturdy, reliable and easy to navigate pathway.
#4. Do You Want Or Need To Mix And Match?
When you go stone shopping, you may find the slabs organized by colors, sizes and types, secured to pallets using chicken wire. This keeps the types of a size all together in one place. In some rock yards, you must buy these collections whole and are not allowed to cherry-pick the individual slabs you want. In other rock yards, you can individually select the slabs you prefer from pallets already open. If this is important, do a little research before heading out.
5. How Much Flagstone Will You Need?
There is a formula for determining the exact amount of material needed for your project. To start, multiply the length and width of the project to get the square footage. So, for example if you are going to create a patio that is 10 feet by 20 feet, you would multiply these two and come up with a square footage of 200.
Your next step is to determine the “coverage” of the material you have in mind. This means the amount of area that your material of choice will cover. The staff at the rock yard should be able to assist you in determining this.
Once you know square footage and coverage, you can determine how much material you need. Here is a formula you can use:
Divide the total square footage of the project by the total square footage of the coverage. So, if you wanted to build a 200 square foot patio, and your material provides 100 square feet of coverage your formula would be:
200÷100 = 2
This means that you need two tons of flagstone to build your 10 foot by 20 foot patio.
Flagstone Landscaping Ideas You Can Use
Flagstone is a marvelously versatile material that can be used to meet a wide variety of landscaping needs. Here are just a few:
#1. Build A Flagstone Patio!
A flagstone patio is a classic addition to any home. The easiest way to build a good looking patio is to lay your stone on a bed of sand and then fill the joints with gravel. This creates a very casual patio setting that is not necessarily long-lasting.
If you want to build something more substantial, you’ll need to lay a concrete bed and place your flagstone like concrete pavers are installed. Just putting concrete between the stones is not a good idea. It is not stable and will end up cracking in the joints. For a truly long-lasting and well constructed flagstone patio, you’re probably best hiring a professional.
#2. Create Outdoor Seating
You can create seating by stacking flagstone and putting mortar in between the slabs. Generally speaking, a good height for this type of seating ranges between 18 and 22 inches. You would build the base with flagstone and then top it off with smooth capstone to provide comfortable seating.
This type of low seating wall is a nice touch around a patio fire pit. It makes a very uniform appearance because the same flagstone used for the patio, fire pit and your seating wall match. If you want to be a bit more daring and creative, use flagstone in contrasting colors and textures.
This type of construction may seem simple, but it can be rather challenging. You may prefer to turn to professionals to coordinate your fire pit, paver patio, flower bed, and seating wall.
#3. Build Flagstone Steps
You can connect the various levels of your garden with attractive stone stairs. Steps made with flagstone are durable and natural looking. Usually this type of stone is not thick enough to make an entire step on its own, so you will need to use mortar to stack layers.
Keep in mind that stairs need to be extremely well made for safety and durability. Again it’s probably a good idea to hire professionals to make certain that this project is carried out properly.
#4. Build An Attractive, Functional Retaining Wall
If your property is on a slope and you would like to create more distinct levels, flagstone is the perfect choice for good-looking, effective rock garden withr retaining walls. You can build up one level of your property with soil and keep it there with a good retaining wall. This provides a very dramatic and distinctive appearance.
Keep in mind that retaining walls are not just ornamental construction. You will need to check your city ordinances to make certain that you are building within their specified guidelines.
Very often city codes require that retaining walls be built at a specific height (commonly three feet). It may be necessary for you to hire a structural engineer. This is very important because wrongly constructed retaining walls can cause a lot of problems and safety risks, not to mention expense.
#5. Create Beautiful, Durable Walkways and Paths
While it is true that most these projects require a professional, a flagstone walkway or path is one you can tackle yourself! Just be sure you select the type of natural stone that is thick enough to withstand the wear and tear of foot traffic. You will need slabs that are at least two inches thick.
Your path can be narrow or wide and arranged in a casual mosaic sort of pattern or in a linear fashion. Take care not to finalize your project before you have taken a test stroll. If your stones need adjusting to provide a natural, comfortable walking surface you’ll want to know it before you cement them in place.
If you are working without mortar or concrete, be sure to prepare the ground well in advance. Clear it of all weeds and rocks and ensure that the surface is level. Put down a weed barrier (such as landscaping cloth) and lay your stones. Fill in the gaps with pea gravel or mulch. Alternately, you can use rugged, low-growing groundcover plants to fill the spaces.
#6. Build A Stunning Fire Pit
A garden firepit is a great place to gather together with your friends on brisk autumn and winter nights. You can make a very natural looking firepit using flagstone. This is a project that you can do yourself or hire a landscape or masonry crew for something more elaborate and lasting.
You should be aware that the interior of your fire pit should be made of a landscaping material that is fireproof (e.g. cinderblock). Use mortared flagstone to finish the exterior.
How To Lay Flagstone, Building A Walkway Or Path
A really great way to top the beauty of a garden is with a flagstone path. The walk to and from the garden can become the most important part of the garden and also the centerpiece. It’s a connector between the inside and outside.
These excellent videos show you that doing a walkway path yourself is not an insurmountable task. With just a few materials and tools you’re going to be well on your way to adding something special to your garden.
Laying The Pathway Out
Setting The Slabs Of Stone
The video at times is a little shaky, but the insider tips are great – Enjoy!
Installing The Flagstone – Part I
Installation – Part II
Have A Natural Looking, Well-Coordinated Yard
It’s easy to see that the natural flat shape coupled with the natural beauty of flagstone make it the perfect choice to enhance and improve your garden setting. Refer to the information presented here as you plan and create practical, functional, gorgeous flagstone additions to your yard.