How to Install a Patio or Walkway

Choose from three of the most common ways to install your stone patio or walkway.

Dry Lay Method

Use 1-2 inch or thicker flagstone or step stones
  • STEP 1: Check Building Codes
    Check with local building codes and appropriate utility companies before digging.
  • STEP 2: Excavate the Site

    Excavate the desired area to a depth of your thickest stone plus 2-3 inches for the gravel base. For example, if your stone is 2 inches at the thickest point, then you’ll need to allow for a 4-5 inch total depth.

    You can achieve this one of two ways, or a combination of both: 1) by digging down into the existing grade, or 2) building on top of the existing grade and adding forms or a border along the sides to contain the area.

  • STEP 3: Add Crushed Gravel
    Add the 3 inches or so of 1/4-inch minus crushed gravel and pack it down as much as possible. You might consider using a hand-tamper or renting a plate compactor for larger areas. After tamping use a fine spray and water it down. This will help compact the base properly, which is called hydro-compaction.
  • STEP 4: Arrange the Stone
    Arrange the stones in the desired pattern trying to keep consistent joints, most common are about 1”, and breaking up the joints so there are no continuous running lines. Stones may be hand-trimmed with a rock hammer or saw cut to achieve desired fit.
  • STEP 5: Set the Stone
    Using a rubber hammer, tap the stones into place adding 1/4-inch minus to low areas and removing from high areas so the stone seats firmly. Check with a carpenter’s level to ensure entire area is level, allowing for a slight pitch towards the edges for drainage.
  • STEP 6: Fill the Joints
    Sweep remaining 1/4-inch minus over the top to fill the joints and follow up with a light spray again. Repeat spray a couple weeks later. Another option for the joints is a polymeric stone dust called Gator Dust. This will give you a more solid joint, similar to a mortared joint but designed for patios with a gravel base. However if you prefer mosses or other vegetation to grow in the joints adding topsoil to the joints instead of 1/4-inch minus would work well.

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