Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Giant Puzzle: Part Two of our DIY Flagstone Patio

This is the second in a series of how we (as in my Honeyman, a few of my kids and myself) built our beautiful Flagstone Patio.

I've always enjoyed the challenge of a good puzzle. This phase of our Flagstone Patio was the ultimate puzzle experience. With the foundation superbly in place, read about that experience here, and four tons of flagstone to choose from, we were ready for the next step.

Laying the Stone

Having never done this before, we were on a high learning curve.

At first it really was like assembling a puzzle. We'd lay out stones on the grass and in the flower beds to view the shapes so that we could find the perfect piece for the space.  

"I'm looking for an obtuse triangle" someone would shout out.  
"Got one! Try this." 

"Alabama... do you see one shaped like Alabama?"
 It really was like a game.

You can imagine using this method took a lot of time and eyes to find the perfect stone for each space.

Ace helper adjusting his tunes

As we began the second half of the patio and there weren't as many stones to choose from, it became harder and harder to find the perfect stone. It was evident that we would have to cut the stones to alter their shape.

We tried the chisel method of scoring the stone, using a hammer and chisel on the scored line to break the stone where it needed to be altered. This worked... sometimes, but was essentially a frustrating experience when the stone broke the wrong way, which happened often. There had to be better way. 

Keep in mind that we could have bought pavers with nice uniform edges that fit together perfectly.  But that was not the look we were going for. We wanted a stone patio that looked not so formal... a little more country.

What to do, what to do...

Fortunately I married a smart man, and what he doesn't know, he figures out. Out comes the circular skill saw and after purchasing a masonry blade, we were in business once again. We now had the ability to make the stone fit the space.  Not wanting perfectly squared edges, he would lightly tap with a hammer after using the saw to make the edges look more natural. 

After the stones were all in place, we needed to make the surface  level from stone to stone. My Honeyman used a 2x4 to spot the areas that needed adjustment and a level to level the surface of the stones, carefully lifting up each stone and raising or lowering the sand as needed. This took a whole lot of time, but it was essential to our desired outcome of near perfection. :)

Up next... Filling in the Gaps.  Stay tuned!


  1. Friends again? Have been to your new Lemons blog and enjoyed reading about the daughters you cook with ;~)

  2. I'm tempted to say that straight edges are easier to maintain because you can take weeds out with a swipe of a knife ... but I'll wait for your next post.

  3. I have only laid square paver's and they gave me enough trouble - I can imagine all those weird shapes! It all looks so lovely and level.

  4. Wow, what an ambitious project! I love how it looks! I want to put in a small brick patio, but I want it to be round. I wonder if we could pull that off. For now, I think we are going to put the circles cut from our tree's branches around, and plant some things between them.

  5. Oooh this looks great so far!!! I think it gives each home a very nice look and adds so much more charm versus plain cement. Good luck filling in the cement! I'm sure it's going to look wonderful when it's complete: I'll be dropping by!!

  6. God bless husbands is what I say, what would we do without them !! Your patio looks fantastic and I'm sure you will all have hours of fun relaxing on it.

  7. What an enormous amount of work!


  8. Looks lovely. Waiting to see how it finally turns out.

  9. Wanting some gardening advise: I started yellow squash, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers and basil indoors under lights. They are all doing fine, but I want to get them outdoors. My husband and I built a large greenhouse (quansot hut style over raised box beds) and inside the greenhouse today, it was about 78 degrees and 30% humidity. I really really want to plant my stuff in it, but have a feeling I should wait a bit. What do you think?

  10. Oh, and also I was wondering if anyone has suggestions as to how to carefully plant long, leggy squash without killing them :) Under the grow lights, they grew very long and leggy, so I was thinking I could plant them fairly deep so that the stem itself is mostly under the ground.

  11. Kim, go ahead and plant those squash a little deeper, it won't hurt them.
    But wait a bit longer before planting. We still could have low temps. May 15th is often the safe date to plant.

  12. Does your Honeyman need some more work or is he for hire? Beautiful job!I've been wanting to have our existing breezeway pavement redone. It's 34 yrs. old and evidently wasn't done right in first place, wide cracks/seams. The original owner of this house evidently tried to fill in the seams himself and it looks like it too. One area is lower than the rest and water accumulates as well as leaves from other people's yards and mature trees. I'll have to pull this up again and make my husband sit down and look at it. He wouldn't be able to get down and up to do it himself so we'd have to hire it done. We used to do all our own work but not anymore. Can those pavers be cut with a wet saw?


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