Flagstone Down

This pallet of “Gold Rush” flagstone from The Cascades has come to rest at Leafhopper Farm. This glittery geology sparkles in the sun, while also retaining a slate grey subtlety under the bright warm color.

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The area to be paved had to be leveled out with some digging and sod busting. It was tough, but rewarding once the ground was prepped and ready for gravel. A layer of base was first put down as a support for the heavy stone. After the gravel was laid and raked smooth, sand was then poured to add a fine base over the rough gravel to cradle the heavy flagstone.

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It’s puzzle time! Laying stone is no easy task, and as the pieces begin fitting together, the challenge of getting every stone set right becomes obvious. There are still some small gaps yet to be filled by scrap from cracked stones. Some rock is split on purpose to make a fit secure, though without professional stone cutting tools, a simple chisel and hammer cannot add finesse to splitting. It’s mostly luck and a little gentle tapping, which allows a corner, or odd angle to be chipped off.

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The patio finally began to take shape, with plenty of stone to curve around the beds to the kitchen door. In the below photo, you can see the gravel layer that has yet to be sanded. After a few stones are places temporarily to check fitting, sand will be poured before the stones are set for final tamping.

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There are still some small gaps yet to be filled by stone scrap, but the send allows each stone to set in its place. More sand is then poured over the walk to fill gaps between the stones. After a few rains and more settling, we’ll go back to the path and level each stone using a leveler and more sand to set the pavers more evenly. Eventually, a metal edge will be set along the ends of the patio to keep the stones held. The gravel drainage in this bottom of the above picture will remain unpaved. This gap will allow water to flow freely into the drainage and off the path. I can’t wait to see this stone after the first rains. The gold flakes sparkle brilliantly when wet, sending a bright reflection into gray days.

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