Step 1: Create a Layout

Whether you're building a patio with rectangular slabs or with broken pieces like the one shown here, laying out the stones to perfect your pattern before starting the installation will save headaches later on. Random patterns may require you to cut some pieces to fill in blank spaces.

Using a rope or garden hose, outline the shape of the patio. Beginning on one edge, lay the largest stones around the field; fit smaller stones in between; leave joints of 1½ to 2½ inches.

To cut a stone, flip it over and mark the underside for the cut. Using a grinder fitted with a diamond blade, score along the cutline. Prop up the stone on a stone you don't intend to use, with the waste edge hanging over, and hit it with a brick hammer to break it naturally along the score. Or set a mason's chisel in the score, and hit it with a maul to snap the stone.
Ask TOH users about Patio

Contribute to This Story Below

    Tools List

    • angle grinder
    • brick hammer
      brick hammer
    • mason's chisel and maul
      mason's chisel and maul
    • square spade
    • pointed shovel
    • bubble level
      line level
    • tamper
      hand tamper or compactor (rents for about $85 a day)
    • metal garden rake
      garden rake
    • mallet
      rubber mallet
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • push broom
      push broom
    • hand trowel
      garden spade

    Shopping List

    1. 1½-inch Broken Bluestone Sold in stone yards by the ton; 1½ tons cover about 100 square feet with wide joints. Choose an assortment of small and large stones of varying shapes. If possible, lay the stones out at the yard so that you know you have what you need.

    2. Stakes and Mason's line to lay out the pitch of the patio and keep the stones level.3. Paver Base A mixture of ¾-inch gravel and stone dust. One yard covers 108 square feet 3 inches deep.

    4. Leveling Sand One yard covers 324 square feet 1 inch deep.

    5. Moss Sold by the square foot. Buy enough to cover one-fifth of the area of the patio.