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pallen123's avatar

Laying a flagstone patio in Ohio?

Asked by pallen123 (1514points) May 12th, 2009

Here’s the deal: We have an approximately 600 square foot square of lawn area right off the living room of my house near Cleveland Ohio, and we want to put a flagstone patio there (to take up as much grass as possible so we don’t have to mow/water it). The official word seems to be that we must set the patio on six inches of crushed limestone. I mean, everything I read online says this, and the contractors I speak with all say the same thing—you must set it on at least 6 inches of limestone to ensure a stable base. But there was one book at the library that said you can lay a flagstone patio on bare earth—even over a lawn. For a bunch of reasons I’d prefer to set the flagstones over topsoil and plant grass in between—a very rustic look with large spaces between the flagstones. My reasons are: 1. environmentally speaking it seems like waste to lay down that much crushed limestone, 2. it’s expensive ~ $2800 to lay the limestone, 3. putting down the limestone requires heavy equipment that will tear up other parts of the yard, including plant bed. So my question is this: What will happen if I grade the topsoil in the patio area, compact it with a plat compactor, then place my flagstones and fill in the gaps with compost and then sod? Will the freezing winter somehow cause the ground to contort with the weight of the flagstones? Will they sink into the ground? I don’t mind repositioning the stones every couple years if a few of them tilt or wobble. Anyone have hardscaping experience in a cold climate and know anything about this? Thanks!

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5 Answers

chyna's avatar

My brother is a contractor and his is on the ground and has been there for a year now. They are still in place and I haven’t noticed any cracks. (live in WV, so basically same climate). If I talk to him this evening, I will get a better answer for you.

Knotmyday's avatar

Have y’ever noticed the ground contorting under the weight of regular old rocks? Your idea sounds great.

DarkScribe's avatar

We have flagstones and they were laid on compacted earth, It was compacted with one of those incredibly noisy machines like a giant floor polisher. They have been there for eleven years and haven’t moved. They also have ground cover growing between them. Maybe the limestone base is required if the patio needs to be load-bearing – have a roof.

FGS's avatar

Are you building a patio or just a series of flag stones? To be honest, if you want to build the patio the right way, 6 inches of limestone isn’t necessary…gravel suffices( find a quarry nearby,..I get gravel for $3.00 a ton). It needs to be tamped down. There are two courses of action. you can rent a motorized tamper or do it by hand (by hand being the cheaper of the two). Pour concrete over the gravel and lay in your flagstone over the cured concrete with a flexible mastic. Look in the phone book for the cheapest concrete supplier (DON’T mix it yourself, you’ll thank me later). I did all of this last summer (it took about three weeks and an ASS TON of elbow grease) but the savings are worth it. I also bought my flag stone from a local supplier, that brought the price down from $1500 to around $400. All told it cost me $1000 dollars as opposed to around $4500.

FGS's avatar

I live in KY..not too far from OH. Look for IMI concrete. They have BY FAR the best prices and the drivers went out of their way to give me a hand in laying and screeting the concrete the right way.

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