The Patio Man

August 21, 2012   //  Posted in: Backyard, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  12 responses

Props to Pete for producing the perfect patio.

One man, one day, one brand new flagstone patio.

I can’t take any credit for our latest patio project; the guy’s a flagstone rockstar, singlehandedly bettering our backyard and making an outrageously cool, functional, and livable space. We spent all of Sunday relaxing, which, to us, implies doing anything but staring/working at computer screens, and instead kept our muscles in check with some hard core labor. Pete’s flagstone project, legit labor. Mine? Semi-laborious sanding and staining of the kitchen cabinetry, but still enough for me to wake up with a right bicep that was still swollen to double the size of the left, and oddly, a bruised left buttcheek, but I’m used to those kind of DIY ailments. Mostly, I just looked like I was getting away with something as I sneaked through his worksite with stained fingers.

Getting in the way of Pete's patio, but legitimately working on the cabinet staining based on the color of my hands.

Side note: My neon pink sneaks from 2005 prove that I’m so ahead of the neon trend, yo.

Pete likened the flagstone installation to DIY Crossfit with natural material weights (like buckets of sand and 200 lb. rocks). We gave you guys a heads up that this was going to be happening in the near future, but two patios in one month in 1/10-acre lot must be some kind of Guinness Book of World Record. I don’t know, I’ve been too busy staining to give them a ring.

A couple of notes on this construction:

  • We did not use crusher run beneath this patio. Rationale: We’ve both lived with patios and pathways created using only sand underlayment that do not flex/bend/break/warp dramatically, and are optimistic that this one will be a-OK too. The stones are a lot heavier than simple bricks and pavers, after all. While we had a lot of extra sand from our first patio project, we were fresh out of the crusher, and even though we know it’s not “the way” to do it right, we wanted to save ourselves $50 in stone and $50 in delivery charges and see how this worked. Live and learn and sometimes experiment to save money.
  • There’s no polymeric sand either. We’re just using normal sand in the cracks as filler just until we see how the stones flex/bend/break/warp after a season of freezing and thawing. We also kind of like the idea of having grass or moss between the stones in this part of the yard, but mostly didn’t want to put polymeric between stones that were bound to shift a little bit over time.
  • It’s curved edge was a nice finishing touch, rather than making the new patio a rigid square/rectangle. The shape actually now mirrors nicely with what we did with the first flagstone patio, which is a completely round flagstone circle.
  • Dudes, we still have a LOT of stones leftover. More to come on how we’re going to use those babies.

Honestly, what an awesome backyard transformation this whole flagstone undertaking has been.

Finished flagstone patio, and a howling dog.


  • Michelle
    5 years ago - Reply

    Looks awesome, Pete & Emily. Staining cabinet doors is totally legit labor btw.

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Thanks Michelle :) Wait until you see the cabinet update in tomorrow’s post. It’s been project I’ve been working through every single day.

  • Elisa
    5 years ago - Reply

    Can’t believe you did this in one day. Pete, you are a man’s man. Looks awesome.

  • Marylou
    5 years ago - Reply

    Can’t wait to see the final cabinet project…in person I hope sometime too….flagstone looks great….your Cody is so funny with his picture perfect howling!

  • Lillie J. Hopkins
    4 years ago - Reply

    It’s awesome indeed! What a transformation! Putting flagstones was a great idea and i’m totally impressed with how you guys did it for just a single day. It must have been fun and tiring at the same time but the results are really great. I’m excited to see the final cabinet project!

  • Bonnie R. Stamey
    4 years ago - Reply

    Wow! Perfect! I’m impressed! You did a great job there and to think you did it by yourselves in just 12 hours? Amazing! It turned out really well. It was a brilliant idea to install flagstones on the pathway. Oh and by the way, the cabinets were amazing!

    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      Thanks Bonnie!

  • RB
    4 years ago - Reply

    Hi Emily – My husband and I are planning to do a small flagstone patio. I’ve been doing some research and came across your great blog. Really appreciated your posts about planning and executing the two small patios in your yard. I wonder – now that it’s be a couple of years, do you find that either of the mothods you guys used is holding up/staying in place much better than the other? I’d love to just use a few inches of sand and avoid dealing with the crusher and polymeric sand. We’re looking at an approx 10×4 area, between the stairs to our small deck and where we have the grill sitting in the yard. It’s shady and doesn’t grow grass very well, so I get muddy feet every time I go in and out to the grill. Thanks a lot, appreciate any guidance you have. Happy to have stumbled upon your blog!

    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      Hey RB! Exciting project! The round patio that we did with the crusher and polymeric still looks as good as the day we finished it. No issues with shifting over the last few winters, no weeds coming up through the cracks, if we were to do this project again, that’s the way we would go for a permanent installation. However, the smaller patio we did here in this post with just the sand is actually holding up really well too. There is a little more tendency for the stones to shift or feel a little bit bouncy (although, face it, they each weigh 100+ lbs, there’s not a TON of movement), but what bothers me the most is that the weeds do pop up pretty regularly through the cracks and are a pain to remove. I’m constantly trying to sweep little tree helicopters from between them. I can’t use the blower on the surface as easily because it will dislocate the sand that is in between the cracks. It works, and it is holding up well, so for a grill area it might be totally fine for you, but if you want it to be a nice, permanent space where you can also put a few chairs and not have to think too much about upkeep, the crusher and polymeric sand is worth it in my book. I hope this helps you, and good luck on your project! <3 flagstone.

    • RB
      4 years ago -

      That’s super helpful, thanks so much. Crusher and polymeric it is!

  • Haris
    4 years ago - Reply

    I tried something similar recently on my yard. Thanks for posting. It was a lot of help, altough I prefered concrete for the patio.

    That because the stones were not as heavy and they needed to be steady. Also I put concrete between the gaps!

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