Flagstone Landscaping: Timeless Design for Your Outdoor Space

Published on: July 28, 2023

Among the myriad of landscape rock materials available, flagstone stands out as a timeless and versatile choice that brings natural beauty to any landscape. With the huge variety of modern and rustic cut flagstones, we have everything you need to showcase your individual taste and style. In this blog post, we dig into the world of flagstone and explore how it can elevate your outdoor areas, from pathways to patios and beyond.

What is Flagstone?

Flagstone is a type of flat, thin sedimentary rock that has been utilized for centuries in construction and landscaping. Its irregularly shaped pieces are perfect for creating pathways, patios, and outdoor flooring, and its natural variations in color and texture add a rustic charm to any space. With its durability, weather resistance, and non-slip surface, flagstone is a popular choice for outdoor applications, providing both aesthetic appeal and practical functionality.

How Flagstone is Made

First, a stonemason chisels or strikes larger stones, and as a result, it breaks up into thick, flat sheets. After that, these thinner sheets are then broken up into flagstone-sized pieces. There are multiple types of rock that masons cut and then shape into flagstones. First, the softest and easiest rocks to chisel into shape are sedimentary rocks. This includes varieties such as sandstone, shale, and limestone. Second, harder varieties include igneous rocks such as granite or basalt. Lastly, the toughest types belong to metamorphic rocks, such as quartzite and also marble.



What Are the Types of Flagstone?

When it comes to creating a stunning outdoor living space, the choice of flagstone makes a significant impact on the final result. Two terms you might come across while shopping are “patio” and “select” flagstone. Let’s delve into the differences between these two varieties to help you make an informed decision for your landscaping project.

What is “Patio” Flagstone?

Patio flagstone is smaller, usually 12” to 18”, and thicker than select pieces. It is most often used for creating a flat and even surface for outdoor living areas like patios, walkways, stepping stones, and pool decks. These stones are often more uniform in thickness and shape, making them easier to install in a patio setting. Because of their smaller size, they are typically palletized laying down, which helps prevent breakage during shipment.

What is Patio Flagstone?

What is “Select” Flagstone?

Select flagstone, known as “standup”, comes in large, thinner slabs of 18” to 36”. “Select” typically refers to a higher grade or quality of stone that is hand-picked or specially chosen for its superior characteristics. These stones are selected for their consistent color, texture, thickness, and overall appearance. Select flagstone is generally more aesthetically pleasing, making it an excellent choice for creating visually appealing landscapes and hardscapes. Because of their large size, they are usually palletized vertically.

What is Select Flagstone?

Benefits of Landscaping with Flagstone

Landscaping with flagstone offers numerous benefits that make it a popular choice for outdoor projects. Whether you’re creating a patio, walkway, garden path, or retaining wall, here are some advantages of using flagstone in your landscaping:

Natural Aesthetics

One of the most significant benefits of landscaping with flagstone is its natural aesthetics. The unique colors, textures, and patterns create a timeless and visually appealing outdoor space. Its organic charm adds character and complements various landscape styles, from rustic and traditional to modern and contemporary.

Natural Aesthetics Flagstone Pathway

Flagstone Durability and Low Maintenance

Durability and Low Maintenance

Flagstone is renowned for its durability, making it a long-lasting landscaping material. It withstands harsh weather conditions, such as heavy rain, extreme temperatures, and even freezing and thawing cycles. This ensures that your landscape design stays intact and attractive for many years, reducing the need for frequent replacements or repairs.

Additionally, this landscape rock requires minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning and occasional resealing, especially in high-traffic areas, are generally enough to keep it in excellent condition. This low maintenance characteristic makes this stone appealing for homeowners seeking a hassle-free landscaping solution.

Versatility and Functionality

Whether you’re creating a patio, walkway, garden path, pool deck, or retaining wall, flagstone can adapt to different design styles and settings. It offers endless design opportunities, allowing you to create intricate patterns, a random layout, or a combination of both. Additionally, these stones provide a comfortable and slip-resistant surface, making it safe to walk on, even when it’s wet.

Flagstone Versatility and Functionality

Popular Flagstone Landscaping Projects

The versatility, durability, and natural beauty of flagstone make it an appealing option for a wide range of landscaping and outdoor projects. Whether you seek a touch of rustic elegance or a seamless blend with nature, these popular projects are bound to elevate your spaces and leave a lasting impression.

Outdoor Patios

Creating outdoor patios with flagstone is a common and popular choice. Flagstone patios offer a beautiful, natural surface for outdoor seating, dining, and entertainment areas. The unique colors and patterns enhance the overall aesthetic of the patio, providing an inviting and functional space for homeowners and guests to enjoy.

Large backyard patio

Stepping stone pathway installed with small pebbles

Walkways and Pathways

Flagstone walkways and pathways are another popular project. These paths add functionality and charm to the landscape, guiding visitors through gardens, yards, or between different areas of the property. The irregular shapes and natural appearance creates a visually appealing journey through the outdoor space.

Pool Decks

Surrounding a swimming pool with flagstone provides a slip-resistant and comfortable surface for poolside lounging. An added advantage is the stone’s ability to stay cool in hot weather. This makes it a popular choice for pool decks and coping. For more landscape rock project ideas, read our “5 Landscape Rock Projects to Transform Your Yard” blog post.

Pool deck installed with landscape rock

How to Install Flagstone

From preparing the site to laying the stones and filling the joints, this guide walks you through the essential steps on how to install flagstone. Whether you’re embarking on a DIY project or seeking insights to collaborate with professionals, understanding the process of flagstone installation will set you on the path to creating your own outdoor oasis.


Prepare the Site

  • Measure and mark the area where you want to install the flagstone.
  • Clear the site of any grass, plants, rocks, or debris.
  • Excavate the area to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches to make room for the base materials and the thickness of the flagstone.

Create the Base

  • Lay a 2-4 inch layer of crushed gravel or compactable base material (such as Class II Road Base) over the excavated area.
  • Use a plate compactor or hand tamper to compact the base thoroughly and create a firm and level surface.
  • Ensure proper drainage by sloping the base away from buildings and toward appropriate drainage areas.

Install Edging

  • Install plastic bender boards or metal edging along the perimeter of the area to hold the flagstones in place and prevent them from shifting.

Lay the Flagstones

  • Start placing the stones on the prepared base, starting from one corner and working your way across.
  • Use larger stones first and fill in the gaps with smaller pieces.
  • Maintain uniform spacing between the stones, either by eye or by using plastic spacers.
  • Tap the flagstones gently with a rubber mallet to ensure they are level and firmly set in the base material.

Fill the Joints

  • Once all the flagstones are in place, fill the joints between the stones with either fine sand or polymeric sand.
  • Brush the sand into the gaps and mist it with water to activate the binding properties of the polymeric sand. This helps stabilize the stones and prevents weed growth.

Seal the Surface (Optional):

  • If desired, you can apply a stone sealer over the flagstone surface. Sealing enhances the color of the stone and protects it from stains and weathering. However, some prefer to leave the flagstone unsealed for a more natural look.

Enjoy The Timeless Appeal of Flagstone Landscaping

Landscaping with flagstone is a time-honored approach to elevating your outdoor spaces. The natural beauty, durability, and versatility of this sedimentary rock make it an excellent choice for pathways, patios, and various other landscaping projects.

With flagstone’s unique charm and ability to blend seamlessly with nature, you can create a captivating oasis that stands the test of time and is enjoyed by generations to come.

Front yard entryway patio

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