No More Front Yard! How to Build a Flagstone Patio

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASo I was staring at my front yard dandelion nursery, thinking about the amount of grass seed, fertilizer, soil, and even clover seed I’ve spread on there, when I just completely lost my sh*t temper.

I took a shovel to my front yard, thankfully small, and an hour later I had a freshly turned over dandelion graveyard. And I felt a lot better, though I needed to sit down.

But now I had a problem, because now I really had to deal with the front of the house. The dandelions and bare dirt where even dandelions wouldn’t grow had marked us as “that house” on the street. You know – the eyesore. And I was sick of it!

One of the problems we’d had is that the front entry way only had three  1-foot square slabs for a path, so we were constantly bumping into each other when going in and out. Which is completely ridiculous considering there’s a whole front yard of space there we could walk on with a little work.

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So I decided that the first priority was widening the entryway by a lot – up to 5 feet. There really needs to be a pathway here so more than one person can bring in groceries at a time.

Also, I was really, REALLY tired of hopping over the flower bed to get to the backyard. I wanted a path that went right across so I could easily walk to the backyard. Maybe even take a wheelbarrow straight through!

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For the rest of the frontage, which is really small given we’re an inside corner lot, we’ll just turn it into a flower bed. That way, we don’t need to mow any more, and this will help control the weeds. And it’s a new bed for me to play in. 🙂

We lined the bed and raised the level of the dirt so that things will grow in there.

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We chose Muskoka Granite random flagstone for the pathway. The hard part was transporting all that stone, one small carload at a time, to the house and getting it into place. I was really starting to get to know the guys at the landscape supply place, lol.

We started by digging the existing dirt down a few inches, and putting that dirt in the new bed, mixed in with some manure and peat moss.

Then we put in weed barrier – possibly useless, and crushed limestone – completely critical. I bought a hand tamper for $15 and we flattened it as best we could. It needs to be flat and firm to support the stones so they don’t wobble, so this step is important. Don’t skimp on tamping the limestone down just because it’s not a fun step – it’s the foundation of your path.

We were careful to set the grade (the level of the ground) to point away from the house, so that water will drain away from the foundation.

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We wanted some definition between the patio and the bed, so we chose pink marble stone. I brought home lots of different types of small stone before we found the colour combo that matched each other and the house. We picked the marble because it matched in colour, it was actually pretty affordable, and it was small enough that I could transport it myself. Sort of.

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Finally, we got all the stone in, as best we first-timers can. We decided to put the biggest stones nearer to where people are actually going to be walking, with the biggest strongest one just at the bottom of the stairs towards the driveway.

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It looks lovely with the first plants in, just after rain.

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We need to seal up those gaps though and level them, so we filled the gaps with a polymeric sand called EV Evolution. It’s not as easy as it sounds to put it in – I started just sweeping it in with a broom and quickly discovered that the sand likes to stick to the top of the stone. So I started pouring the sand into the cracks and sweeping any excess off the stones, this was a better approach. You need to make sure you put the sand in on a day where it isn’t going to rain for at least a couple of days.

Now it’s really starting to look good.

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With some decorative white quartz stone down the side and a few flowers, it really does look good.

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And I got my path straight across – no more hopping over flowerbeds to get to the backyard!

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Looks great at Canada Day

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Later in the season, it looks lovely with the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ blooming and a moonflower quickly making it’s way up the stairs.

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The entrance looks much more welcoming now, there’s plenty of room to welcome people up the stairs without bumping into each other.

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