Garden flagstones for walks and color
Dec. 9, 2006 - When deciding where to plant the newest addition to the garden or knowing which fertilizer to use, we're usually able to find the answer by recalling past experiences with similar plants or checking our collection of plant reference books.
What happens if the question has to do with using flagstone in the landscape?
If you've ever gone in search of stone books at a bookstore, you know how hard that can be.
Unlike most plants, flagstones will last a really long time, even if you don't water them.
Flagstone refers to the shape of certain stones. The slab-like pieces, or “flags,” will range in thickness depending on variety. Harder types of stone, such as quartzite and slate, may be found as thin as 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick, while quarrying of softer stone, such as sandstone, usually begins at 1 to 1-1/2 inches thickness.
Flagstones are most commonly used to construct walkways and patios, with pieces ranging in size from 6 inches to 12 inches on the small side, 24 to 48 inches on the large.
Finding the right color for your particular site is easy, since flagstones can be found in so many colors.
Idaho quartzite is commonly found in cool silver and warm gold metallic combinations, as well as hues such as palomino, green mist and chocolate swirl. Arizona sandstone ranges from pale buff beige to soft rose, peach, red and even rainbow-swirled colors.
Three Rivers flagstone has warm gray, ochre and purple tones and will occasionally feature imprints of fossilized plants. Yosemite slate offers a deep gray color with rusty orange and black highlights and flecks.
Before you go stone shopping, measure the length and width of the area that needs to be covered. This will give you the square footage so that you know about how much stone you'll need.
Natural stone is usually sold by weight and the masonry store will be able to convert your square footage requirement into pounds of stone required.
You also will need to decide whether the stone will be set on a sand/soil base or on a concrete base. Individual stones need to be stronger when set on a sand base to allow for earth movement and shifting.
When flagstone is laid over solid concrete, the firm base allows thinner stone to be used. For simple, yet durable walkways and patios, many do-it-yourselfers opt for using a framed-in sand base and then pipe mortar into the joints once the stones have been placed.
Flagstone coverage varies with different factors, such as stone hardness, thickness and spacing between stones. For instance, one ton of 3/4 to 1-1/4 thick quartzite will cover about 150 square feet while one ton of 1-1/2 sandstone covers about 80 to 100 square feet.
Of course, on an informal walkway, you can just pace off the area and place a stone where each foot lands.
Yep, when they say I've got rocks in my head, I just smile and say, “Thank you.”