Bluestone Patio + Walkway – Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio + Walkways

At this recently built home in Concord, MA the owners are looking to add a bluestone patio and bluestone walkway.

After discussing options we decide on thermal bluestone for the patio and bluestone stepping stones for the walkways.  The stepping stone walkways save on material costs and labor and also compliment the modern style of the house.

Before

Before

Bluestone Patio + Walkway Prep

First the grades are set, the base is dug out, the subsoil compacted, and then filled with a crushed stone base.  Proper base prep is important for a long lasting patio.  When digging the base we want to remove all organic earth and/or clay until solid well drained subsoil is reached.  In most areas this won’t be more than 8-12″ deep.

Bluestone Patio Prep

Bluestone Patio Prep

Bluestone Patio Prep

Bluestone Patio Prep

Bluestone Patio + Walkway Installation

After the base is prepped we lay a thin layer of bedding material to level and set the stones.  Here we use 3/8″ crushed stone or “chip stone”.  It is a fine gravel that spreads easily, provides a solid base, and good drainage.

The bluestone pattern is planned out ahead of time.  The idea is to create a random pattern without any running joints or four corners.  The walkway stones are spaced to create an easy stride.

The patio joints will be filled with the same chip stone to create a fully permeable system.  More and more popular these days, a fully permeable patio eliminates potential drainage issues and puddling.  It also means the patio does not have to sloped as much to shed water which can be visually noticeable against level lines on a house.  The walkway joints will be filled with loam and seeded with grass.

Bluestone Patio Installation

Bluestone Patio Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Walkway Installation

Bluestone Patio + Walkway Completion

Ones the stones are set we sweep in the joint material and the patio is ready to enjoy.

Bluestone Walkway - Concord, MA

Bluestone Walkway – Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio - Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio - Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio – Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio - Concord, MA

Bluestone Patio – Concord, MA

 

 

 

 

Flagstone/Bluestone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Rebuilding a Flagstone Patio in Lincoln, MA

At this home in Lincoln, MA the existing flagstone patio was badly overgrown and out of level.  The original flagstone patio had apparently been laid directly on the soil with wide joints.  Being it a sunny area, weeds grew rampant and the patio had deteriorated considerably.

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Original Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio Lincoln, MA - Before

Original Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

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Original Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

 

To solve this problem the plan was to take up the existing flagstone, excavate the soil, lay weed block fabric, base material, and re-lay the patio with 1/2″ joints.

In order to achieve tight joints the stones must be cut and pieced together.  It is a labor intensive process but the results are attractive and potentially make it harder for weeds to take root.  To make up the difference in area that we lose with tighter joints and cutting waste, we purchased a couple additional pallet of Irregular Bluestone to match the existing patio flagstones.  The larger section of the patio is made up of the existing flagstones, the smaller portion of patio beneath the Japanese Maple is made up of the new flagstone that we would usually use.

Assembling the Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Assembling the Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

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Assembling the Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

 

The base material consists of ~4″ gravel and ~2″ of stone dust.  The gravel base is sturdy and drains well, the stone dust (fine crushed up stone) is workable and lets us level each stone.  Gravity holds everything in place while the patio remains flexible to minor movements in the ground.  This method is more cost effective than cementing the patio stones and there is no risk of visual cracks in the cement if things eventually shift.

The flagstone patio is complete in time to enjoy a lovely autumn in New England:

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln ,MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln ,MA

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio - Lincoln, MA

Flagstone Patio – Lincoln, MA

 

 

 

Stone Stairway and Walls – Maynard, MA

At this charming home in Maynard, MA the front entry way and retaining walls were in disrepair and unsightly.  With an appreciation for stonework, the homeowner desired to replace the wooden stairway with a natural stone stairway and to sure up the existing retaining walls.

Maynard, MA - before

Maynard, MA – before

Maynard, MA - Before

Maynard, MA – Before

After considering the site and deciding on materials, we draw a simple plan so that the homeowner can better visualize how the stairs will be situated.  Granite steps will be used for the stairs, bluestone pavers for the landings, and Pennsylvania Fieldstone for the walls.

Maynard, MA - Landscape Plan

Maynard, MA – Landscape Plan

Next we break ground and excavate for the new stairways.  Any good sized stones are saved to aid in the rebuilding of the walls.

Maynard, MA - Excavated Site

Maynard, MA – Excavated Site

Next the stairs and walls start going in.  We set the step, and then build the walls up to meet the level, and so on.  The stairway walls are mortared with cement but are meant to look like they aren’t.  The side walls and retaining walls are dry laid without the use of mortar.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps

The walls grow higher.  The #3 is salvaged from the original wall and set at eye level in the new stairway.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps and Fieldstone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps and Fieldstone Walls

The stairs and walls reach finish height.  The upper retaining wall is built higher than the original was to help flatten out the steep grade of the gardens.  The side retaining walls are built with the existing stone and supplemented by the larger pieces of the PA wallstone that were purchased for the stairway.  Cobble stones and clay brick make up the bottom landing while bluestone is used for the upper landings and to cap the stairway wall.

Maynard, MA - Stone Steps and Stone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Steps and Stone Walls

After the railings go in the project is complete and some nice fall decorations bring it all together.   Take a look at the before and after.

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before

Maynard, MA - Stone Stairway and Fieldstone Walls

Maynard, MA – Stone Stairway and Fieldstone Walls

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Maynard, MA – Completed Granite Steps and Stone Walls

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Maynard, MA – Completed Granite Steps and Fieldstone Walls

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Maynard, MA – Completed Stone Stairway with Bluestone Landing