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Using Large Slabs of Flagstone

Most flagstones have a small scale, each piece being about one square foot. However, if you want a different look, large flags can also be used. Flagstones are available in pieces as large as a few feet on each side. Often large stones are used as steppers in a pathway, but they can also be installed to create a patio. Check out these ideas for ways to use oversized flagstone.

Gardeners will love this connection of very large flagstones for their stability and much better planting opportunities than a solid concrete walkway.

Very large slabs, whether they are true stone or irregularly shaped poured concrete, are more stable when set on grade than a greater number of smaller stones fitted together. The access to this sun drenched outdoor living space is nothing more than a series of differently shaped slabs laid out like flagstone to create a safe walking surface. For the gardener in this home, the slabs are carefully arranged to bring access to nearly every plant without stepping off hard surfaces. This is a perfect way to integrate a necessary transition into an expansive perennial border. Pockets for larger plants and gaps between slabs are wide enough to establish ground hugging mats that fill in quickly.

Set large, thick stones in a field of gravel for stability.

Recently, large expanses of gravel have become popular in many gardens. For stability and interest, large flagstone slabs can be set into the gravel. When using stone in this way be sure to select large, thick pieces and compact the base material sufficiently. The stones will guide visitors through the gravel and provide a smooth walking surface

Think outside the box if you find an affordable source of long, narrow stone to create a wide, visually interesting walkway.

Some types of local stone or long, narrow leftovers from other projects are used here in an innovative way to create a wider flagstone path. The repeating bands run perpendicular to the direction of traffic for a visual staccato of stone and contrasting gravel color. To top it off, white pebbles are inserted into the wider gaps, pressed into the black gravel. This adds yet another texture and makes windblown debris less visible in the black pebbles. This is an excellent detail if you have access to affordable stone that isn't suitably shaped for traditional flagstone applications.

Hand pick large, thick slabs for casual flagstone pathways through gravel to avoid cracking under weight

Very large individual flagstones may be called "slabs" by some because they exceed the typical unit size. In this example, Arizona flagstone is shown here in a butter yellow "buckskin" color. To use this technique for flagstone paths in gravel or on natural ground, be aware that this stone can be very brittle. To stand up to the weight of foot traffic or a full wheelbarrow, these slabs must be at least two inches thick to ensure there's sufficient integrity to hold up. This may require hand picked flagstone to obtain the thickness and large sized slabs for this kind of project.

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