Learn all you need to know about flagstone patios and browse design options for your outdoor space.
Flagstone patios are attractive additions to any home, and if you're considering adding an outdoor living space to your backyard, you may want to consider this classic and convenient design option.
From cactus plants to iron elements, a rustic colored awning to stucco, this patio takes an eye-catching approach to comfort and southwestern design. It's a small space, but the strategic landscape adds a punch of flavor to the elevated structure. Photo courtesy of Landscaping Network
The first thing you'll want to do if you're considering adding a flagstone patio is to choose a location and a size for your patio. Remember that your patio is likely to be a gathering space—you don't want to build too small and have guests knocking each other off the patio. In terms of location, pick as level a spot as possible—this will help the patio's overall longevity and ease of maintenance.
In this design by Thomas Oppelt, the elegant casita offers a glimpse of the surrounding countryside. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
Maintaining the historic character and integrity of the landscape was the main objective of this design. Rustic and understated elements add personality and credibility. Design by Chad Robert
Relaxing Pool House
The pool house is reminiscent of a Mediterranean beach cottage with soothing neutral shades and lots of natural light. Design by Rebecca Johnston
Landscape designer Jamie Durie created an Asian-style space for dining and relaxing where the "walls" of the pergola serve as an enclosure as well as a place to showcase potted specimens.
This patio is located away from the house, surrounded by colorful landscaping and shaded by trees. A short wall provides a sense of enclosure. The walkway continues on to a potting bench and a secluded arbor swing. Design by Jamie Durie
Contemporary + Classic
A beautiful wall with Spanish arches serves as the backdrop for this gorgeous backyard lounge area. The look merges elements of Old World design with the clean lines of contemporary style. Design by Jamie Durie
Three Tiers of Relaxation
The Place for Pizza
The focal point of this new outdoor kitchen is a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Italy. The 36-inch oven turned out to have a 52-inch base, so landscape architect Mark Schisler had to move the counters three feet to accommodate it. The oven is covered with a stone veneer, rather than real stone, to save more space.
This terrace went from an area with no place to sit to the ultimate in a resort-like lounge and dining space. When evening comes, the area turns into an extra-comfy place to watch movies. A 3-D water feature and a fire pit table complete the ambiance.
Whether it's for roasting marshmallows with the kids or grown-up entertaining, the fireplace often becomes the outdoor gathering spot for the family. A new retaining wall on the steep slope provided the terrain for this patio and new lawn. A berm of cryptomeria trees will provide privacy from the neighbors. Design by Mark Schisler
When you've decided on a size, plot out your measurements in a rectangle with string, tape or marking paint. Next you'll need to do some digging with a spade and shovel—cut four inches down with the spade (at a minimum) around the perimeter, then excavate four inches of soil from the entire rectangle with the shovel.
Your next step is to ensure that the area is level. Set a scrap plank down the full length of one side of the area, and place a level on top. Scrape dirt from one side or the other until it's level, then repeat for the other side and the middle of the area. Next, perform the same test for the width of the area. Next up, moisten the area, tamp it down so that it's packed tightly, then set landscape fabric down to prevent weed growth.
Now you're ready to frame your area. You'll use 2x4s nailed together to enclose the entire rectangle. So that your form can precisely contain the sand you're going to use later, you want to bury it two inches down around the perimeter. Once it's buried two inches down, shovel two inches of sand on top of the landscape fabric. Once the sand is level (you can use a scrap of wood to level it), tamp it down. Once it's solid, you're ready to lay your two-inch flagstone pieces. Begin in one corner, and tamp each stone down with a rubber mallet. Keep checking that they're level—if a stone is high, scrape sand from underneath it, if it's low, add sand underneath it.
When all stones are laid, pour sand over the entire patio and then brush off, so the sand fills any cracks. Lastly, remove the 2x4 frame and fill the vacant area with sand.
See also: Deck and Patio Design Ideas