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A backyard patio can be so much more than a slab of concrete. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create an affordable outdoor oasis in your backyard using flagstone pavers.
Flagstones, bricks, or pavers make it possible for a backyard concrete patio to be more than a cold, gray slab. Select a location in your yard and sketch a basic plan. Before you break ground, contact your local utilities about locating any underground lines, pipes, or cables.
What You'll Need:
Determine the size and shape of your new patio. Wear safety goggles and use a sledgehammer when removing the old patio.
To facilitate drainage, excavate the area to a depth of at least 8 inches. The finished patio should be level with the surrounding yard. To determine how deep to excavate, add 6 inches (4 inches compacted base plus 2 inches sand) to the thickness of your flagstones. Our flagstones were 3 inches thick; we excavated to a depth of 9 inches.
Add base material. Gravel is good, but crushed limestone works even better to prevent settling. The deeper your base level, the less you'll see your patio shift during winter.
Tamp after adding a couple of inches of base material to ensure a solid foundation. The compacted base should be 4 inches deep.
Level a 2-inch layer of builder’s sand with a rake. Sand helps with drainage and makes it easier to position the pavers and level the patio.
Install edging around the perimeter of the patio, anchoring with 10-inch metal spikes. Cut and bend the edging as needed.
Lay your paving materials over the bed of sand. Slide the individual pieces close together for a clean look; leave bigger gaps if you'd like to plant groundcover, such as creeping thyme, between them. Tamp them gently with the mallet to secure them in the sand.
Fill spaces between pavers with builder’s sand or polymer sand. Because polymer sand acts like mortar when it’s wet, it will keep pavers more firmly in place than traditional sand. It also discourages weeds and keeps sand from washing over pavers after rainstorms. Sweep off excess sand after you fill the spaces.