How to Install a Flagstone Patio: A Step-by-Step Guide

While concrete patios have long been the norm, many homeowners are now shifting to flagstone decks. A sedimentary rock known for its earthy color combinations and durable nature, flagstone enhances the overall aesthetic of your property. Since it features a roughened surface with natural ridges, the material provides excellent traction while being slip-proof. 

Plus, flagstone is highly durable, withstanding years of weather exposure and foot traffic without letting go of its glossy, smooth finish. Unlike mass-poured concrete or manufactured pavers, each piece of flagstone is crafted by nature, giving your patio the “turning heads” appeal. Impressed already? Read on for a step-by-step breakdown of how to install a flagstone patio. 

Step 1: Design & Planning

Before you start to install a flagstone patio, take the time to design and plan your flagstone pavers. What is the square footage of your area? Do you prefer an expansive backyard patio for gatherings or a small circular space? Which landscaping features do you want? Also, think about how the sun’s rays hit different parts of your yard to identify the most comfortable location. 

After you’ve thought about these questions, make a rough sketch of your patio vision. Then, use a measuring tape to map it out in the yard and calculate its dimensions in square feet. Remember to choose a slightly sloped area with good drainage, so water flows away from your home. 

Following this, use the sketch and measurements to determine the amount of materials needed to cover the yard. Generally, the materials for a flagstone patio cost around $15-$27 per square foot and include the following:

  • Flagstones
  • Landscape fabric
  • 10-inch metal spikes
  • Marking paint or chalk
  • Crushed stone or gravel
  • Edging material (metal edging, pavers, or bricks)
  • Basic tools (tamping tool, tape measure, level, shovel, rake)


Step 2: Excavate the Site

If you don’t build up a proper drainage mechanism, your patio will end up becoming a puddle of water after the slightest of rain showers. Thus, before you install a flagstone patio, use a shovel to excavate the region to around 6-7 inches in depth. A good rule of thumb is to dig enough to accommodate the thickness of the flagstone, around 4 inches of base material, and 1-2 inches of leveling sand. 


Step 3: Add the Base Layer

The base layer is essential for an even patio as it helps support your flagstones, preventing them from breaking and cracking. So, add a 4-inch layer of crushed stone or gravel (you can also use crushed limestone) as the base. Then, use a hand tamper or plate compactor to pack it down, ensuring a stable foundation for your stones. 


Step 4: Lay the Landscape Fabric

While not necessary, a landscape fabric provides further protection to your patio by serving as a weed barrier. This textile material is usually placed under flower beds and patios to prevent weeds from growing through the stones. So, before you install a flagstone patio, lay a landscape fabric over the base layer to ensure a solid, well-protected foundation. 


Step 5: Install 1-2” of Leveling Sand

If you’re still unsure about how to lay flagstone on dirt, know that it is a relatively straightforward process. Just excavate the site to up to 8 inches, add the base layer, and lay the landscape fabric. Plus, for those working on dirt, it’s always best to add 1-2 inches of leveling sand, which helps with drainage by leveling your patio. 

Instead of the builder’s sand, you may also use crushed rock or decomposed granite in this step. Just make sure to spread your material evenly using a rake. Then, spray water on the sand layer using a hose and a tamper to make the base further compact and solid. You may also use a rake to smooth it out. Employ a line level in this step to check the grading and level the base accordingly to ensure an even patio. 


Step 6: Place the Flagstones

Once you have a solid, compact foundation in place, the next step is to install the flagstone patio. Lay the stones on top of the leveling sand and arrange them according to your flagstone patio design (with larger, more stable stones toward the edges). Then, use a rubber mallet to tap the stones gently in order to secure them in the sand base. 

Generally, your flagstones will have up to 1-2 inches of space between them due to the stone’s irregular shape. Add masonry sand in these gaps to fill them up, and spray light water afterward to settle it down. Repeat this process using a hand bristle brush until the stones are leveled and the gaps are filled. 


Step 7: Add the Edging Material

After you have installed the stones, add edging material (pea gravel, sand, or decomposed granite) around them for a clean, tidy look. Anchor the edging in place using metal spikes around the patio’s dimensions. This helps keep the flagstones from moving, ensuring they stay in excellent condition for decades without lifting, cracking, or shifting. 



Installing a flagstone patio is a promising choice that elevates the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. By following the steps listed in this guide, you can create a cozy corner where you can relax after hectic days, entertain guests, and connect with nature. 

However, if you want to outsource the installation aspect to professionals who know their job well, trust Safari Landscapes. The company has been in the industry for over 50 years, providing the finest flagstone patio installation and other lawn care services. As experts in landscape design, Safari Landscapes is your go-to for creating a beautiful, appealing patio that ups the aesthetics of your property.