Bringing in the Flagstones – The Fire Pit Adventure, Part 3

Click here for part two

Click here for part four

This was the exciting week – the patio pavers arrive! There was a lot of hand-wringing on my part when it came to picking the patio materials. I am the type of person that must love an item before purchasing, no matter what.

As you recall, last week I wrote about making an un-level patch of land level-ish. It was exhausting. But figuring out exactly what I could buy that met my expectations was a bit of a challenge.

I went back and forth in my mind between going for a rustic, natural look or a crisp, polished look. In the end, I knew that the outdoorsy, natural look was the way to go. And that meant flagstones over brick.

I was quite sore after this particular day.

If money were no object, I would have gladly purchased a few pallets of the gigantic flagstones at my local Ace Hardware. But I didn’t think spending $2,100 on a patio was a good idea. So, plan B.

The first batch of flagstones were decent-sized, about 2 feet at max length. Some were pretty heavy. The ultimate challenge with flagstones is making the space level. While I did a fairly decent job of leveling out my surface beforehand, it basically meant nothing because each and every flagstone is of varying thickness and texture. As a result, one corner of the area (near the hole, of course) required quite a LOT of pavers base (upwards of 6″), while the opposite corner required the bare minimum of 1″.

My three tools were a one-foot level, a four-foot level, and a rubber mallet. Each tool had a specific use; when installing the pavers, not long did I have to make sure that the entire surface area was level, but each stone was level in multiple directions.

Levels come in a lot of sizes, the most important is to have a fairly long and short level for this project.

To make things a little easier, I started with the largest stones around the circle where the fire pit will be. Making these all level to one stone set me up for the rest of the pavers.

This was the last easy part.

Definitely a painstaking process; picking a stone, leveling the stone to the nearest level stone, and then confirming that the whole piece was level.

Rain put me off for a few days, and either because of the rain or because I just didn’t notice before, but one whole section was completely sloping and I had to pull out great pieces of the patio to repair it. The sooner I can get the paver set in, the better!

You can see the larger pavers in their places in the background.

After setting the largest stones, I had another batch of pavers brought in by a friend and started filling in the gaps to try and bring the spaces down to no more than 1.25″.

Up close view of the paver design
My daughter was able to contribute to this part, looking for smaller stones.

Hopefully the ground will be dry-ish by Sunday so I can begin the paver set process. Stay tuned!

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