The natural texture and the dark colour palettes of bluestone stepping stones look absolutely stunning in nearly all settings. The best part is that you don’t have to use edge constraints with bluestone pavers. Not only does it look attractive in your garden, but bluestone pavers happen to be the most versatile and durable material for all kinds of landscaping projects. Bluestone stepping stones stay intact for several years. No amount of snowfall or heavy rain could shift the position of the stones. Even if they do shift, it is quite easy to reposition them.
Coming to the installation, you are going to need a professional contractor to build a pathway with bluestone stepping stones. Though installation isn’t that complex, digging the ground and creating a base is time-consuming and tedious. Still, if you think you can lay bluestone stepping stones on your own, follow the below-listed steps to get the work done with ease.
First things first, you need to remove the plants, shrubs, furniture, and other obstacles from the area you want to turn into the walkway. You must mark the area first. This will give you a better idea of the number of stones you need to cover the space.
As it is a walkway, you will need only a bunch of bluestone stepping stones. However, if you want to incorporate this natural stone into your patios and pool decks, then measure the space. You can use the utility tape to get the measurements in square footage. To mark the area, you can use a spray paint or put string along the edges of the pathway.
Stepping stones are laid on a base. It is important to build a solid base featuring layers of gravel and yellow sand. This will help you ensure that your walkway will not come off the ground when it is exposed to the changing weather and harsh environmental elements. The stronger the foundation is, the longer the bluestone pavers last.
Now, for the base, you need to excavate the ground. The height of excavation depends on the thickness of the pavers and your base material. Usually, you need to dig up to 6 inches for a walkway. If you are installing the stepping stones on the driveway, then dig at least 10 inches deep for the base. To improve the soil structure, use a compactor plate on the excavated space.
Lay the gravel base on the excavated ground. You could also use crushed bluestone for the base. Whatever material you use for the foundation, make sure you level it with the compactor plate. Run a compactor across the gravel to level it. A garden hose can be used to wet the area if you have used dry gravel. Once you are done with the base, lay a layer of yellow sand. The first 4 inches of the ground must be covered with the gravel bedding, while the rest two inches need to be the layer of sand.
Then again, you need to use a compactor plate to level the sand bedding before laying the tiles. Compaction is a must. It levels the base for the stones, avoiding the stone shifting. You could use a vibrating plate compactor, but that’s a little heavy. You will probably have to call a professional to run it across the base. A manual compactor can also be used. The compactor needs to be used thrice on the surface or until the base is level.
Place the bluestone tile in a way that its edges are in line with the strings. This part is not as difficult as building the foundation. If you are installing the stones in a specific pattern, then start with the large stone. Mostly, homeowners choose crazy paving patterns for walkways and alfresco. If you too are planning to lay the tiles in a free-flow pattern, then consider laying out the stones dry.
You may have to cut the stepping stones if they don’t fit well with each other. Temporary placement will give you a better idea of the total stones needed for the area and how they should be laid.
You don’t need the edge restraints with bluestone stepping stones. But, unlike concrete, irregular-sized natural stones need to be cut before they are laid. You can use a masonry saw to cut bluestone pavers. You can use a leveller to ensure that the stones are aligned with the string. As mentioned earlier, you can always reposition bluestone pavers. So even if you mess up the installation, there is always an option to shift the stone.
Once you have laid the bluestone stepping stones, use small pebbles or the crushed stones to fill the gaps. You could also use mortar, but pebbles or other natural décor stuff would look better. You may also have to refill the joints a few weeks after the installation. Sweep the pebbles or sand into the wide joints and run a compactor again to settle the pavers and mortar into the base.
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