Easy Do-It-Yourself Flagstone Patio – NOT!

April 19, 2011

I love how those home improvement shows always make it look so easy. One that I came upon the other day created a flagstone patio with a stacked stone retaining wall and voila! All during the course of a half hour or maybe it was a full hour – regardless, this is an invitation to disaster.
“Be prepared” is what I must say first. As I spoke to a friend of mine who found a “great deal” on some demolition flagstone on Craig’s List, she personally hefted over 3,000 pounds into the back of a pick-up to begin her own flagstone patio! “Get OUT – three thousand pounds by yourself?!!” I exclaimed! And also offered that perhaps she might not have to go to the gym for the next 3-4 years!!!! But as she further delved into the details and mention of “anyone with high heels best remain on the paved portion of the patio” this now momentous project, I felt it worth a blog…
On TV, they clear and carve the area, level the surface, cut the stone with a wet saw…well, you can imagine – maybe. But in REAL TIME with one or two novices, it becomes more than a challenge. They WILL get finished – and barring anything unforeseen, before the summer is over so that they can actually enjoy the fruits of their labor…Patience and perseverance – one step at a time…one stone at a time…
Often on EXTERIOR design projects, it is not uncommon for the homeowners of the residential plans to want to “help” with the process. It sounds like fun. This is great. It allows for an investment of more than money when one actually participates in the work. So I never discourage this involvement. But I have rescued clients from trying to do it all themselves – when the tension is so thick that you can barely cut it with a garden spade! They say that building a house together can ruin a marriage…the stress can be tremendous – so too can be the landscaping projects and remodels that seem so manageable – until reality strikes! How heavy, how even, how flush…the exacting details…this place is a mess…how much longer is this going to take????? If you survive, it can be satisfying – but at what price this prideful satisfaction?
I shot this beautiful stone path at the Acropolis in Athens a couple of weeks ago. It was so perfectly casual. Stone against plantings is so welcoming – especially meandering through a garden. It provides texture, color, contrast and all with the harmonious sense that it’s a natural occurrence…with a little help from patient and capable hands.

Inviting path in the gardens of the Acropolis, Athens

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3 Responses to “Easy Do-It-Yourself Flagstone Patio – NOT!”


  1. […] Easy Do-It-Yourself Flagstone Patio – NOT! « Patti Says…Description : One that I came upon the other day created a flagstone patio with a stacked stone retaining wall and voila! All during the course of a half hour or maybe it was a full hour – regardless, this is an invitation to disaster. … Often on EXTERIOR design projects, it is not uncommon for the homeowners of the residential plans to want to “help” with the process. It sounds like fun. This is great. It allows for an investment of more than money when one actually participates in …https://pattisays.wordpress.com .. […]

  2. Nancy Penton Says:

    Dear Patti, I am writing a scholarly paper on ancient paths. Could I have your permission to cite this photograph in it? I need your name as the photograher and the date of the photograph in order to cite it properly. Thank you, Nancy


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