How to Lay a Flagstone and Gravel Patio or Pathway

See how we installed a professional-grade flagstone and gravel pathway to connect outdoor spaces.

October 27, 2021
DIY Flagstone Path

DIY Flagstone Path

Step 1- Excavate Area Rake area and remove any old landscaping materials, rocks and debris for the pathway.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Tools and Materials

  • wheelbarrow
  • shovel
  • hammer
  • rake
  • scissors
  • hand tamper
  • wide broom
  • flagstone
  • temporary marking spray paint
  • vinyl garden border with stakes
  • weed block with stakes
  • all-purpose sand
  • gravel or pebbles

Step 1: Excavate Area

Rake the area and remove any old landscaping materials, rocks and debris for the pathway. Make sure the ground is level and clear of stumps and big roots.

DIY Flagstone Path

DIY Flagstone Path

Step 1- Excavate Area Rake area and remove any old landscaping materials, rocks and debris for the pathway.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Step 2: Plot the Pathway

Mark the inside of the planned pathway with bright marking paint.

DIY Flagstone Path

DIY Flagstone Path

Step 2-Plot Pathway Mark the inside of the planned pathway with a brightly colored spray paint.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Step 3: Install Border

Prepare the area by trenching out about 2 inches into the ground with a shovel or hoe along the outside edge of your painted lines. Then, using a hammer and border stakes, secure the vinyl garden border in place. Backfill with dirt, as needed. The border will help keep your finished pathway intact over time and prevent a washout during heavy rains.

DIY Flagstone Path

DIY Flagstone Path

Step 3- Install Border Prepare the area by trenching out about 2 inches into the ground with a shovel or hoe along the outside edge of your painted lines. Then, using a hammer and border stakes, secure the vinyl garden border in place. Backfill with dirt, as needed. This border will help keep your finished pathway intact over time and prevent wash out during heavy rains.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Step 4: Lay Weed Block

Roll out weed block material over the pathway (Image 1). Stake all the loose edges (Image 2), and trim the excess with scissors.

Step 5: Add Sand

With the weed block material in place, spread a few inches of sand out, making sure to keep it somewhat level (Image 1). For better drainage, make the middle of the pathway a bit higher than the sides for better runoff. Tamp the sand down for compaction (Image 2).

Step 6: Add Flagstone

Dry fit flagstones in your desired pattern, leaving about 1-3 inches between each. Start with large stones, making sure they're nestled into the sand so they don't move when you step on them. You can break up larger stones using a hammer to fill in any gaps.

DIY Flagstone Path

DIY Flagstone Path

Step 6- Add Flagstone Now you’re ready to start placing the flagstones in a random pattern, but try to be consistent with the space between the stones- from 1 to 3 inches. Start with large stones, making sure they’re nestled into the sand so they won’t wiggle around when you step on them. As you fit the stones together remember-you can always break up larger stones into smaller stones using a hammer, to fill in gaps at the end of this step.

Photo by: Tomas Espinoza

Tomas Espinoza

Step 7: Add Pebbles

When the flagstone is in place, spread the pebbles or gravel out and sweep into the gaps with a wide broom (Images 1 and 2). This provides a unique texture, better water absorption and helps keep the stones secure over time.

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