How To Build An Attractive Flagstone Patio

Building a flagstone patio is an easy and affordable DIY project. The material is suitable for patios and other outdoor spaces because the water runs off, avoiding pooling.

Flagstone Patio
Michael Polikoff Landscape Architect

Learn what flagstone is, how much the material costs, how to construct a flagstone patio, and design ideas.

What is Flagstone?

Flagstone is a natural stone that miners quarry from an open pit. This sedimentary rock is sandstone bound together by minerals.

A stonemason chisels the rock, giving stones an organic, unique shape.

Flagstones are for paving walkways, floors, driveways, around pools, and patios. The stone provides a durable and slip-resistant surface.

Flagstones cost about $15 to $20 per square foot, but prices vary on your location.

Other materials similar to flagstone are:

  • Concrete pavers – Also known as paving stones, concrete pavers come in custom shapes and sizes. Cost ranges from $3 to $6 per square foot.
  • Stamped concrete – A concrete contractor pours the concrete base and uses a stamp imprint to replicate natural stone. The cost of stamped concrete is $8 to $12 per square foot.
  • Limestone paversThis is a sedimentary rock and is cut into shape by a professional and the cost is around $10 per tile.
  • Slate pavers – Slate is fortified with concrete and is a slip-resistant option. The cost of slate is around $800 per pallet.
  • Bluestone – This stone is an alternative to flagstone and has a blue hue. A square foot of Bluestone costs about $10.
  • Quartzite –  Is a natural material made of pure quartz sandstone and is durable and easy to clean. Quartzite pavers cost about $400 per ton.

These materials are suitable for outdoor use and require little maintenance.

How to Build a Flagstone Patio

How to Build a Flagstone Patio

These are the basic steps to flagstone installation using the dry-laid method.

Flagstone Patio Materials You’ll Needed:

  • Paving stones
  • Gravel
  • Leveling sand
  • Bucket
  • Tamper
  • Level
  • Wheelbarrow

Once you have gathered all of your materials, choose your space and have a design and shape in mind. You can always move the stones around and expand your chosen area.

Flagstone Steps for installation:

  • Start by removing grass and other vegetation from the patio area.
  • Dig down far enough to accommodate gravel, surfacing sand, and flagstones. This should be between six to eight inches deep.
  • Grade the ground, so it drains. About 1/8″ of drop per foot of patio will suffice.
  • Lay 4″ of gravel base to the ground and pack it with a hand tamper or plate compactor.
  • Next, pour leveling sand on top of the gravel and spread to a 1″ thickness. The best material to use is decomposed granite.
  • Layout your flagstones using a puzzling method. Use larger stones around the edges as the smaller stones will shift over time. Arrange stones by size and shape into the space, leaving a one to two-inch gap in between the stones.
  • Level each stone by moving the stone by hand. You may need to add more leveling sand underneath.
  • The final step is to fill the gaps with more decomposed granite leveling sand. You can also soil and plant grass in between pavers.

This dry laying method is cheaper than mortar and grout but will shift over time. If your bed of gravel and sand is compacted right, shifting will be minimal.

You can hire a professional for flagstone patio installation. The labor to install pavers can be intensive and gets even more laborious when using mortar.

Flagstones weigh about 10 to 20 pounds per piece. Graveling, sanding, and leveling is also a labor-intensive process.

A professional installation of flagstone patios costs about $1,500 for a 100-foot surface. You can bring down labor costs by choosing larger stones covering a broader area.

Should You Seal Flagstone?

Although you don’t have to seal your flagstone patio, it will increase the longevity of the stone. An application of sealer hinders weed growth in between joints and prevents mold. It can also prevent stone cracks.

Use a sealer every three to five years, although wear time may vary depending on weather and traffic.

DIY Flagstone Projects

These flagstone ideas create an organic feel to your outdoor space and can makeover any backyard into a formal, elegant living area.

Flagstone Pathway on Existing Lawn

DIY Flagstone Pathway Flagstone

Check out our tutorial on how to lay a flagstone pathway for a step-by-step guide to installing flagstone on your existing lawn. This project leaves the grass between the flagstones and can create a nice matching path up to your flagstone patio.

Flagstone Paver Patio with Mortar

Flagstone Paver Patio with Mortar
London Stoneworks LLC

This tutorial uses the mortar method to secure the flagstones. Using mortar between the joints gives a more polished look and will not shift over time. You can use this method for a driveway too.

Flagstone Walkway Repair

Flagstone Walkway Repair
by Bridget and Bear

Some elbow grease and tools can repair an overgrown and damaged flagstone walkway. You can reuse the existing flagstone if it’s in good shape.

DIY Slate Paver Pathway

DIY Slate Paver Pathway

This couple purchased a house with an old overgrown slate pathway full of tripping hazards. They spent the time and revitalized this pathway without having to replace the stone.

DIY Stamped Concrete Patio

DIY Stamped Concrete Patio
by Liss of Budget101

The price to have a contractor pour and install a concrete patio is exorbitant. If you don’t mind heavy manual labor, you can do the project yourself. This project also uses concrete pavers to build a retaining wall around the patio.

Flagstone Patios Design Ideas

Here are several flagstone patios that can inspire your flagstone project.

A flagstone patio is a really great option if you're aiming for a rustic landscape

This flagstone patio has that rustic landscape feel and blends well with this house.

Flagstone and gravel go hand in hand. Add some greenery on the side and the balance in perfect [Design by Newecolandscapes ]

Plants added to the edges of the flagstone create a perfect color balance.

For a more organic and natural look, decorate the patio with large stones and patches of moss

Groundcover plants, such as this blooming moss, add an organic feel to the stones

Flagstone also works wonderfully for traditional patios, regardless of the surroundings [Design from Arcadia gardens LLC ]

You can turn any space into an outdoor living area, regardless of the surroundings.

The irregular and unique shape of each flagstone makes this a great choice for organic-shaped patios [ From WaterWise Landscapes Incorporated ]

This patio layout uses large and small flagstones, making a visual statement.

You can set up a flagstone platform in the garden, a space where you can go to clear your mind [Design from Banyon Tree Design Studio ]

Set up a flagstone surface in the garden for a space you can go to clear your mind.

A flagstone patio can include flower beds or can be installed around the existing trees [Design from Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects ]

Use flagstone to install around existing trees, plants, and structures.

There's a large variety of patterns you can use, this spiral design being a beautiful example [ Design from Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture ]

This spiral layout is a creative way to make a stone pattern and is a good way to break up the repetition.

The dimensions of the patio are not the most relevant detail in most cases

You can fit a flagstone patio into snug spaces, adding a touch of class to a small backyard.

Flagstone walkways are particularly beautiful, this look suiting them really well

This project uses lush groundcover plants between laid stones and on a matching stone wall adding texture and color.

This is a contemporary patio featuring organic lines and materials

This contemporary patio builds up flagstone to create a secure retaining wall.

Use flagstone around the pool and highlight the geometry with grass

This unique design shapes lush grass around a pool giving the space a green vibe.

Geometric patterns usually define modern and contemporary designs

The stone’s geometric patterns define this modern and contemporary home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How much does a pallet of flagstone cost?

Flagstone prices come in between $0.20 to $0.50 a pound. A pallet of flagstone weighs three to four tons, which equals $600 to $2,000 per pallet. Pricing varies on the quality of stone and your location.

How many square feet is in a pallet of flagstone?

The average pallet covers 300 to 600 square feet. Thicker flagstone will have fewer square feet by pallet.

What color is flagstone?

Flagstone colors vary by the location of the quarry. Colors can be brick red, soft yellows, and cool grays and greens.

How do you repair flagstone patio cracks?

There are stone repair kits available at local hardware stores. Look for masonry adhesive to fill in cracked stone.

How do you break and shape flagstone?

Use a marker and draw a line where you want to make your cut. Score the line with a chisel. Continue scoring the line with a chisel and hammer until the flagstone breaks away. You can also use a circular saw.

Flagstone Patio Conclusion

Flagstone patios are long-lasting that can be customized to fit into any space. Stones can be laid around curves and fill odd spaces around the home exterior.

You can find flagstone and other paver materials in most towns. Look for a local supplier specializing in stone, sand, and gravel. Sourcing local can help bring prices down.

Make sure to choose the right style of furniture for your flagstone patio. Sturdy furniture with wide legs won’t get stuck in between the flagstone.

Sweep off leaves and debris as these can stain your stone if allowed to sit on the surface for too long.

Choosing the right materials for your patio will give your space a natural look that expresses your creativity in outdoor areas.