Add a flagstone path to your yard for easy access from your door to your driveway, mailbox or garden. If you use the right tools, you won’t have to settle for a straight path with right angles, but rather curve your flagstone path to suit the landscape.
Step 1—Choose Your Stone
There is a wide variety of stones available for walkways, ranging from ochres to slate grey. Decide on the look you want. You should try to get stones that are approximately 3 inches thick. This will prevent them from cracking under weight.
Step 2—Plan Your Path
Use your garden hose to lay out the contours of your future walkway. Experiment until you have a design that is attractive yet functional. Avoid putting the path over or too near large trees, where roots may interfere. Use a second hose to mark the contours of the other side. Make your path wide enough to walk comfortably. Actually walk along the proposed path, and adjust if needed.
Step 3—Mark the Path
Use spray paint to follow along the hose, marking the contours of your path. Allow to dry.
Step 4—Cut the Path
Use a shovel and dig out the path to a depth of 5 inches.
Step 5—Prep the Base
Make the base as level as possible (following the contours of the land). Moisten with water, then tamp down.
Place a layer of landscape fabric down on the base to prevent weeds from coming up between your stones. Put down 2 inches of sand, and tamp level. This should leave you 3 inches from ground level.
Step 6—Begin Laying Stones
Start placing stones from one end, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Experiment for the best fit and look. Focus on the middle of the path first. Walk along the middle, making sure your natural gait lands on stones. Adjust as needed.
Fill in the sides. When your stones overlap the curved edge of the pathway, use a carpenter’s pencil to trace the outline of the path onto the stone.
Step 7—Cut Corners
Taking care not to lose the place of each stone, use a wet saw or a saw with a concrete or rock blade to cut along the trace lines. Do this by making a series of straight cuts, each one taking off a little more of the arc. Cut stones one at a time rather than all at once.
Step 8—Final Fitting
Set each stone back in place when done. Fill in spaces with smaller stones, minimizing gaps. Gaps mean movement, and movement means maintenance.
Use a level to measure from side to side. If too low, remove the stone and add sand. If too high, remove the stone and scoop out sand. Settle back into place.
Step 9—Finish Up
Once all the stones are fitted, cover with fine sand and broom into the cracks. Water lightly, and repeat until you have it filled. Fill in the sides and tamp lightly (use wood, not a metal tamper on the stones) to seat the stones.