Hardscape elements can add much beauty as well as serving a function in your outdoor space. Creating a natural stone patio or walkway can add an extra dimension to your landscaping and can be accomplished in one to two days, depending on the size of your area. There are a series of necessary steps that must be followed in order to ensure the stability and lifetime of your project.
Before starting your project, clear your space of any grass, stone or debris and level the area as best as possible. There should be a slight pitch for water drainage, but no more than a five degree slope is recommended.
After leveling, construct a border for your walkway using a standard steel or plastic landscape edging. Lay a layer of landscape fabric to cover the area in order to keep out soil and prevent weeds from coming through. Use metal anchors to keep the landscape fabric in place. (Note: Steel Edging comes in 16 foot sections.)
Once the edging and landscape fabric are in place, install a 2-3 inch base for your stone to sit in. Here a 3/4 inch pea gravel base is being used. Rake out the gravel to create a level surface.
Now you are ready to lay down the irregular bluestone slabs into the gravel base. A recommended size for the bluestone slabs is approximately 2′ x 3′. Move the stones within the gravel to ensure they are level and comfortable for walking and push the gravel up around the edges. Your new walkway is now complete and ready to enjoy!
To construct an irregular bluestone patio, first clear the area of any grass or debris.
Level the area and install a base of three to four layers of RCA (recycled concrete) while tamping down after each layer is deposited. A solid layer of approximately four inches is recommended.
Afterwards, add a layer of clean sandbox sand and use a level to make sure the area is flat.
Once the base is fully prepared, using a stone saw, carefully cut and piece the irregular bluestone slabs together to fit like a puzzle. This can be a bit tedious but better to take your time. Once all the stone is laid, fully clean off any dust or debris and wash down the new patio with a hose and allow to dry. Once completely dry, it is time to brush polymeric sand into the grooves of the stone without getting any onto the surrounding area. The polymeric sand will form a permanent bond between the pieces of stone to complete your patio project. Wet down lightly with a spray nozzle and let set overnight. (Note: Polymeric sand hardens like a cement and will not come off the surrounding patio once set with water. Take caution when applying to ensure the area is clean of any remaining dust or debris.) Once these steps are completed your new patio is ready to enjoy!
Following these simple steps will help guide you into creating a welcoming patio or walkway for your landscape to enjoy for years to come. For other design and hardscaping ideas, be sure to check out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, which is available on Amazon.
As Always…Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide to Landscape Design & Maintenance, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved