Choosing and Installing a Pennsylvania Blue Flagstone Walkway

Published by Millennial1 on August 5, 2007 - 3:02pm
No matter what they tell you, no two stones are alike when it comes to choosing flagstone and other landscape stones. Choosing your stones from the same lot and at the same time will ensure some uniformity. Choosing flagstone or other landscaping stones is a challenge. First, all Mother Nature provides variability of each stone and no two stones are exactly alike. That's the beauty of stone. Also, when stones are cut, they are seldom a uniform thickness. Nevertheless, you don't want to have one or two stones sticking out like a sore thumb. Finally, the stones are stacked together and not easy to select. The best way to ensure that you get the look you want is as follows: 1) Make sure you communicate the kind of pattern you want to your masonry contractor. We did a random rectangular pattern on the porch and entrance path (see photo below), 2) If you are doing a random rectangular pattern or anything that is not irregular on a porch, makes sure that the edge that is facing you (toward the front) is a consistent thickness. For example, 2 inches thick across like this: ==================== and not like =--====--==-=---===- 3) If you are doing Pennsylvania Select blue flagstone in several areas, select the stones from the same lot and at the same time. In other words, don't select stones for a porch one week and then go back and try to find a match for your entrance path. The odds of your finding it are slim and you may not find a good match, 4) The thickness of flagstone is nominal. In the trade, a 1.5 inch thick stone can range between 1.125 to 2 inches. For paths and porches, demand a minimum of 1.5 inch absolute thickness to make sure that the stone will not crack when people walk on it, 5) Try to find stones that have a smooth surface. Most stones have ridges and this is acceptable to a certain degree. What you are trying to avoid are ridges that would cause someone to trip or stumble over them, 6) Tell your contractor to mix the stones up and don't allow them to lay a stone that really sticks out like a sore thumb or is not in the same color range of most of the stones, 7) Remember that if you are doing an irregular flagstone layout, your contractor is going to buy the entire basket or lot. So just focus on the color. Note that this flagstone is not Pennyslvania Blue and has more color than most flagstone, which adds to its beauty. The Finished Path The masons have to cut the stones to correspond to the shape of the path and then apply grout between the pieces.