One of the easiest ways to add some beautiful hardscaping contrast to your front yard, side yard or backyard landscaping is to learn how to install a flagstone walkway. Flagstone stepping stones are very easy to use and don’t require a lot of skill. Landscaping with rocks is a great way to add texture to your current landscaping scheme without having to invest a lot of time or money. Combining flagstone stepping stones in Scituate with stone ground cover, as well as mulching or other types of contrasting filler can elevate your weekend project even further. These tips are appropriate for homeowners and property owners throughout the New England region.
Getting Started: Plan Your Walkway
Figure out where you want to build your walkway and begin to plot out the area. If you want a straight walkway, then plan on measuring out where you want the walkway to begin and where you want it to end up. The rule of thumb for walkways is to provide a two-foot width for one person walking and a minimum of a three-foot width to accommodate two people or a person pushing a cart, pulling a wagon or bringing in groceries, etc. If you want a winding walkway, use a garden hose or stakes and string to mark the position of your walkway. The same width rules apply to a curved walkway as to a straight path.
Preparing the Area: Dig Out the Soil
The next step is to begin preparing the area for your landscaping with rocks project by digging out the soil. Before your shovel hits the turf, make sure to contact your local utility companies to avoid hitting any cables, pipes or lines. You will want to dig down at least six to seven inches deep within the outline that you have created. This will make sure that large stones, the frost line and tree roots will not disturb the flagstone stepping stones and make your walkway uneven. It is important to ensure that you maintain even a slight slope away from your garage, house or other structures. This will prevent water and moisture from collecting and/or standing between your new walkway and the foundation.
Build a Base: Adding Crushed Stone
Now you will want to begin by creating a base made of crushed stone. You will need to fill the trench you have dug with about three to four inches of uniform crushed stone. The stone will need to be compacted for best results. You can walk over the area several times to pack the stone in together or you can rent a plate compactor. Another option is to use a hand tamp to compress the stone more consistently. This is the best choice for most small residential jobs. A well-packed base will eliminate shifting once the walkway is complete. Make sure to maintain that slope by adding rock carefully, moving from the low ground on up to the high ground for best drainage and water flow.
Maintenance Prevention: Add a Weed Barrier
The best way to reduce the amount of maintenance that will be required for your new flagstone stepping stones walkway is to prevent weeds from growing by adding a weed barrier. Many homeowners and landscapers used to use plastic sheeting to act as a weed barrier, however with the crushed stones below and flagstone stepping stones and stone ground cover on top, the plastic can be easily torn, ripped or punctured. Your best bet is weed control filter fabric, which can be laid directly over the crushed stone. If you are going to use edging, allow the fabric to extend outside of the path’s outline so it can be held in place better by the edging to prevent shifting.
Level & Compact: Creating Stability
The next step is to add about an inch or two of sand or stone dust. Using your level, make sure that the space is properly leveled and that there continues to be a slight slope away from the garage, home or other buildings. Spray the entire area with water and allow it to rest and drain overnight. What this will do is to effectively remove any air pockets from within the base and allow the area to be completely compacted. You can lightly pack the sand and stone base again the next day before you begin to figure out how to install a flagstone walkway for your property.
Flagstone Stepping Stones: Create the Walkway
Now you can begin to add in the flagstone stepping stones to create your walkway. Choose a pattern and style that works for you based on your unique needs and the type of stone materials that you are using. A rubber mallet can help you to ensure that the stones are installed properly and that everything remains level. Use your level to check the stones as you progress through the project. Use a mason’s hammer and a chisel to trim or cut stones, as needed. Create a half inch joint space between each stone as you progress throughout the project.
Stone Ground Cover: Filling in the Joints
There are a couple of materials that you can choose to use to fill the joints when landscaping with rocks. One way how to install a flagstone walkway is to use small pieces of stone ground cover, pebbles or gravel to fill in the joints. Another way is to use sand or polymeric sand for added strength and durability. Once your stone ground cover is in place, you can compact joints even further by sweeping in stone dust or sand between the joint spaces and then water the new walkway gently.
Where to Get Stone Ground Cover and Flagstone Stepping Stones in Scituate
All of these tips are designed to help prevent major shifting or movement, however there will be some settling within the first year. You may need to add more joint materials and water the walkway again to adapt to any changes or weathering that occurs, but your flagstone stepping stones will keep looking great for many years to come. The best place to get all of these materials and learn how to install a flagstone walkway is to visit J&J Materials. With two locations, one in Bourne and the other in Seekonk, J&J Materials will deliver all of your flagstone stepping stones and stone ground cover to your home or project location. We currently serve customers throughout the South Coast region, including all of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.