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Why your fall landscaping should include natural flagstone

When it comes to your outdoor oasis, you must furnish it with cozy furniture pieces, install lighting to illuminate the space, and buy a barbecue for entertaining. But what about the outdoor floor? Upgrade the look of your fall landscaping by hiring a paving contractor to lay down this timeless look: flagstone.

Consistently, natural flagstone is one of the most sought after items for outdoor renovations. Homeowners still gravitate to the look of real stone pathways and patios, myself included. Natural stone is special in part because every single stone is unique. With different shapes, colours and grains natural stone is a feast for the eye.

But there’s just one thing…

Unfortunately, beauty costs. Natural stones are the most expensive addition to a backyard next to a pool…and for the record; I’ve installed several patios that cost more than a pool. When it comes to real stone, there are only two styles that are used: random and cut.

Random Flagstone

Random flagstone refers to natural stone that is completely arbitrary in shape and size. While relatively inexpensive in material costs, random flagstone is extremely labour intensive. A properly-laid random patio should have gaps that are less than 2” in between stones on all edges. These patios are like a jigsaw puzzle without a picture reference guide.

If that doesn’t sound daunting enough, imagine that the jigsaw pieces are all different depths. On average, the cost of installing a random flagstone patio is around $35 to $45 dollars per square foot. That often doesn’t include the cost of the gravel base.


Cut Flagstone

The other option to random is square cut flagstone. Square cut refers to flagstone that has been cut into smooth-edged shapes like squares and rectangles. In my opinion, a properly installed square-cut flagstone patio might be the most beautiful and valuable upgrade to any home.

Unfortunately, square-cut flagstone is very expensive. The cost of the material is significantly higher than random stone because of the labour and machinery involved in creating the shapes. While it might be easier to install because of the flat sides, square cut flagstone still has various degrees of thickness. If the stones are not laid so that all of the edges are even, you can create what I like to call “toe-stubbers.” I’ve personally quoted prices in excess of $85 per square foot for a square cut patio.

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Need advice? Go for a timeless look

While the shape of the stone impacts the price, so too does the type of stone. With terms like sandstone, limestone, and all kinds of individual quarries producing stone using their own names, it can get pretty confusing. I always advise my clients to choose stones based on how they will look in a few years instead of how they look today. All stone will fade in the sun. Even if you try and seal it, the elements always change the look of stone.

If you are going to spend thousands of dollars on the flooring of your outdoor room, you should be happy with it for the entire time you are in the home – and increase your home’s value at the same time!

More in Outdoor Living

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Why plan for next year’s landscaping in the fall season

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