Our walkway was a dirt path that led to our front door. With that being said, we NEVER used it because it was constantly muddy (thanks to living in the rainy state of Georgia) and hard to walk through. After living here for a year and a half, we decided we needed to do something about it. I went back and for between pavers and natural stone, but decided to go with flagstone. Flagstone seems a little more forgiving for some DIYers and would be a fun "puzzle" challenge. It also keeps the old style farmhouse feel and gives a rustic look to our house.
We started with digging about 4 inches into the ground while keeping the original angle of the path so the water would drain away from our house. If you have a tractor to dig, I HIGHLY recommend it. we did it by hand with a rotary tiller, shovel, and wheel barrow.... and it was definitely not easy.
Once the ground work was prepped, we added about 3 inches of #57 gravel and smoothed it out. We then covered the gravel with roughly 2 inches of M-10 (crushed granite). next time, I think we will add more M-10 to make leveling the stones easier.
The next step was to lay down the stone pattern. This took WAY longer than expected. Think of laying flagstone as a big puzzle with pieces that don't actually match up! We had to chisel multiple pieces (I am pretty much a mason now) to get them to fit.
Once the flagstone was laid, we did an edge of buff mortar to hold the stone in place. The buff mortar will end up being partially covered by dirt, so it didn't really matter how "perfect" we made it (thank goodness!). Masonry hand tools definitely made this process ALOT easier. Also- the more wet the buff mortar, the easier it is to smooth out.
The last step was putting the polymeric sand between the stones. We went with the Techniseal polymeric sand and were very pleased with the results. This step takes time, patience, and precision. We used a push broom to spread the sand between the stones, then a normal broom to get the smaller grains of sand that were missed by the push broom, and lastly a fox tail broom to evenly smooth the sand throughout the stone cracks. We used a leaf blower to blow off any excess grains of sand on the stone before wetting the polymeric sand. We used a mist setting on the nozzle to ensure the sand wouldn't be misplaced by the water.
And BOOM- you have yourself a flagstone walkway! Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you learned a few tricks for your own DIY walkway.
When it comest to the materials used, we purchased everything from SiteOne and were extremely pleased with them!