If you want to have a special, maintenance-free patio in your backyard, one that gives the casual look of an English garden, look no further than a stone patio. You can even build it yourself!
Building a stone patio sounds difficult, doesn't it? Luckily, it isn't. Just about anyone can use patio stones to build their own stone patio. There are dozens of patio stone designs that allow you to follow a planned pattern for building a stone patio – these can be found online or in gardening books and magazines. Or, you can really decide to have fun with it and work on your own patio stone design.
You are going to want stones that are fairly flat, of course; otherwise they won't make for a flat patio surface. Thinner stones, such as flagstone, are the most economical choices, but thin stone is more fragile and cannot be tamped down. That isn't to say that thinner stone cannot be used -- you can certainly use it -- just be careful when pushing the patio stones down into the ground and do not use a machine to do so, as the stone will likely crack. Another way to save money with this project is to use concrete pavers for a large part of the stone patio.
Really, though, the choice of patio stones is completely yours. You can choose any color, any variety and any size of patio stones you like. Patio stone designs are typically individualistic. You can make your stone patio all yours by opting for your favorite stone styles.
Putting your stone patio together isn't as difficult as it would seem. Your first step is to clear out a space for the patio, digging down several inches into the ground so that you have an even, flat surface for your stone patio. Once your surface is adequately prepared to about 10 inches deep, add about 6 inches of gravel (this allows for drainage) and a layer of sand. Now, it is time for the fun part!
Putting in the patio stones is somewhat like completing a puzzle – you have to find stone edges that kind of match each other. The stones should end up being no more than one inch apart on all sides. (It starts out easy enough but gets tougher as you go along.)
After you have laid the stones, fill the cracks with sand. Then, tamp the stones down, and enjoy your new patio!