Building a Stone Walk or Patio - April 9th 2002
Stone makes a terrific looking patio or walkway with its natural striking appearance. Stone blends well with all types of landscaping.
The types of stone most commonly used are flagstone and slate. Both are hard and flat making them very suitable for walkways.
Stone can be laid in a variety of patterns. An irregular pattern gives the most natural look but will require more cutting so that the stones fit together roughly.
If a more formal appearance is desired use a multiple cut pattern of rectangles and squares joined in a geometric pattern.
If you do not wish to do all the cutting as stone can be purchased pre cut and then put together like a jig saw puzzle.
A third consideration is to purchase pre cut stones of one size and place them in a pattern like bricks.
A stone patio or walkway may be built with either wet or dry construction. Dry construction could be called brick in sand construction. Edging could be concrete, stone or wood. The sand base should be at least 4 inches. Joints between stones can be filled with sand or try crushed stone or decorative gravel for a different look.
For a more permanent patio use wet construction setting the stone in a 4 inch concrete slab with a 4 inch gravel base and a perimeter footing to the frost line. To make a stronger base place reinforcing wire mesh between the gravel and the concrete.
To set the stones mix a mortar of 1 part cement and 3 parts sand with water to the consistency of a good packing snow (the kind you make snowballs with). Spread over the concrete to a thickness of about 1 inch.
Spread only enough mortar to set one or two stones at a time. Tap the stones with a rubber mallet to embed them in the mortar making sure that they are all level and even.