How to build a stone patio

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Directions on how to build a stone patio.

Detailed instruction video below:

Mortar can be temperamental.

Mortar and concrete harden at different rates depending on humidity and temperature, some areas require more gravel or less concrete. We are not responsible for whether your patio is a success, you must seek as much information as possible before undertaking a project like this. Mistakes are easily made and not easily undone!

Dalton Quigley of Quigley’s Landscaping on December 29, 2013

Steps to Mark Out and Find your Patio Space

Step 1. is to measure out the area to be made into a patio, this will help with figuring out materials for the project to see if it is affordable and if it will match with your furniture and use needs like entertaining / relaxing.

Step 2. Mark the area out with paint, flags, or stakes. Paint will help to develop the exact shape and position of the patio while flags are the quickest and easiest they can also be reused. Steaks should be used just prior to building the new stone patio because you can measure up and down the steak to determine the depth as well as tie strings for evaluating the slope and level of the patio for completion. All stakes must be riven down into the ground 8″ to 1′ deep at least they will need to be very stable.

Step 3. Find your corners and long spans at the very ends of these areas is where you will place stakes. You will need to buy and use masonry string and it is convenient to use a small line level. Line levels have a bubble inside of a small level that attaches to your string, when attaching a string line it is important to place it where you want the finished patio surface to be so tie your string very firmly from one end of where the patio will begin to where it will end starting at the upper end and ending at the lower. Since you will have no idea where the patio should actually finish with being sloped for rain water the slope instructions are below:

Slope Instructions ( Make a level string across your span and starting from the upper area streatch your string very tightly to the lower area. Make your string perfectly level you can do this with a laser level, string line level, or any method you choose. Once the string is perfectly level you will need to do a little math. The proper slope for a patio is 1″ ever 8′ so measure out how long your distance is, take this number and divide by 8 and you answer will tell you how many inches of slope you patio will need. Now take this slope number and measure down your stake on the lower end of your patio. Since your string is level and you now know how much lower it needs to go you will make a mark on the stake at the area where your string will need to go. Remember once set up your string is your guide to help know where you will wind up with the finished surface.)

Step 4. Now that you know where you need to wind up lets see how far down you need to go. Some areas require more or less gravel, and concrete levels to deal with frost and sinking. Our example will use 4″ of gravel and 4″ of concrete.

Formulas for Gravel, Concrete, and Stone

Example – 4″ gravel thickness, 4″ Concrete thickness, 1 1/2″ thick stone with mortar so allow 3″ for this. Now lets add this up. 4″ + 4″ + 3″ = 11″ of total depth.

So for materials you will need to do you length x width x depth.

Take each one lets say gravel – so gravel is length of the area x the width of the area x 4″ which is .25 and when you do this math it appears like this below:

10’L x 10’W x .25 = 25′

10′ x 10′ = 100 —- 100 x.25 = 25’cu ft

Once you know everything you will need material wise you will need to dig out the space and this will give you some extra topsoil to be used somewhere else.

Building the Stone Patio

1. Place your gravel into the space to be made into a patio and compact out the air, make the area sloped like you want the patio at the end of the project to be sloped. Use your line to measure down to see what level you are at as you go along. Remember to minus off the 4″ for gravel you added on so you are at the proper depth.

2. Pour concrete into the space and spread it out using your line to measure down to see what level you are at as you go along. Remember to minus off the other 4″ so you know your proper level. When you measure down from your string you should get the same number at the other end.

3. Mortar on the flagstone using the method in the video. Put the mortar in the gaps of flagstone, it will be messy and that is ok the mortar will come off later if you remove it within a few hours.

4. Scrape off the excess mortar after it has sat for a few minutes to harden a bit. You can take this mortar you have scraped off to use in the joints near the one you are at that you are working in the direction of.

5. Using a couple of sponges and bucket of water dip your sponge and ring it out, not too wet or ou will mess up the previous steps. Just we but not dripping. Wipe off the excess mortar while smoothing the area. Ring out and get the sponge cleaned up for doing more work as you go along. How you do some things may be different in your area due to different conditions and materials.

6. Lastly you will need to clean the film off of your stone, caution do not use acid as this will change the color of the stone. The color change is not a good one as it take the pleasant bright colors out and makes stone turn gray.

I want someone to build a  patio for me!

We are not responsible for the any results of any persons patio. Every area is different and materials may vary. Proceed with caution whenever you are building a hard surface.

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This page is for information regarding How To : Projects using Natural Stone.
How to build a stone patio.

Locations in the Nashville area. Our suppliers have an extensive lineup of Natural Stone products:
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Other Natural Stone Products: Nashville Stone Bench,

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