Your first choice for all your natural stone needs
Serving the Gatineau/Ottawa region since 1999
Tel: 819-775-0968

Flagstone Walkway Installation

Tools Required: Shovel, level, string line/stakes, rubber mallet, wheelbarrow, chisel, hammer, tamper, planks
Materials Required: "A gravel", screenings, flagstone

Procedure :

  1. Map out the area the area to be covered according to your plan with a string line and stakes.
  2. Excavate the area to the desired depth. Usually this is at least 6 - 8" but it can vary. Ideally your excavation will remove all the soil own to the existing harder sub-grade. This could be clay or stone depending on your situation. If your sub-grade is very deep it is satisfactory to stop at an 8 " depth. The excavation should extend 6" beyond the area to be covered.
  3. Add the base material compacting it as you go in 3" layers. A plate tamper or jumping jack tamper is recommended. Spraying the surface with a small amount of water when compacting will help with the process. The base material is often "A gravel" (called 3/4" Crusher Run in diagram) which is a mixture of crushed stone and fines that forms a hard stable base.
  4. Install the screenings (or sand) leveling bed about 2" deep on the compacted base. Level the loosely and use two straight bars and a plank to screed the surface. The finished level area should be lower than the final grade by the thickness of the surface product. Remember to allow for proper run off slope: approximately 2"for every 10' run.
  5. When beginning the installation with flagstone, start at a corner and work along the outside edges. Use the pieces that are naturally suited to straight edges first and then fill in the interior with the rest. Most flagstones can be shaped with a good chisel (except for slate with must be cut). Score the stone on each side and then work around the stone with the chisel until broken to the desired shape. Be patient with it... don't try to break it with one blow. An alternative to the chisel is to use a quick cut saw with masonry or diamond blade to cut the stone to size.
  6. Each stone will need to be leveled individually. Place the stone on the screenings and tap it level. A rubber mallet is useful for this. It's a bit of a puzzle laying it out but it can be done. You may want to lay the pieces out aside from the job to form a pattern you like.
  7. Once the stones are laved, pack in the joints cracks with your choice of fill. Sweeping screenings in is great for a firm finish but you may want to try soil or mulch as an alternative. You'll likely have to top up the joints after a few rains but eventually they will settle in nicely.

Following the preceding steps closely should result in a long lasting surface area. Cutting corners is possible but shifting may occur. Spending extra time and effort in fully compacting the base is crucial for the longevity of your project.

Stepping Stone Walk

The easiest way to lay flagstone is to simply lay the stones out in the desired pattern on your lawn. Leave them for a few days until the lawn has turned yellow underneath the stone. Lift the stones and dig out the faded sod. Then re-lay your stones. Done! You can cut the lawn right over them. Some shifting may occur each spring but they are easily leveled again.