Blue Stone Patio Thickness and Installation

by Andrew Z
(Clark NJ)

Susan:


I just came across your web-site. I am glad that I did. The Site is put together wonderfully, and you do excellent work.

I have a question regarding used bluestone.

There used to be a 15X15 "patio" behind my house made of blue stone. The reason I put Patio in quotations is because the patio consited of 2'X3" blue stone pieces (all failry uniform grey in color), merely placed in the ground (no base) in a rectangular pattern. We had the house remodeled and I pulled up the "patio". I want to try and re-use / recycle the bluestone and make something a little nicer than what was there.

What I had in mind is still rectangular in shape and approximately 17 X 17. (SOmeone else I know has some bluestone like mine that they do not want)

I was going to use the dry set base you mention on your site, and that I read on other sites. That is, make sure the underlying clay base is solid, use some type of aggregate over that, and then use some type of sand/dust and then lay the bluestone.

I have never done anything like this before, but I really want to give it a try (besides, we ran out of money from the remodel)

I noticed that the bluestone pieces vary in thickness - not by much, but they do vary. Also, I want to use some brick (or other color pavers) to offset the grey in the bluestone). Perhaps an outline, etc. Based upon what I have seen the bluestone itself varies in thickness 1/2" to 3/4", and the pavrs and/or brick can be aof varying thickness, but thicker than the bluestone.

My question is how the best way deal with varying thicknesses for the bluestone and the pavers/brick after you place the aggregate/gravel and/or sand?

My other questions is how do you think it will look sticking with the 2'X3' pieces as opposed to cutting them in varying shapes?

ANSWER

Hi Andrew,
I am glad you found my site too! Also, it's nice to know that you have found it helpful.

I will be happy to address your questions, which by the way, were explained clearly, and I thank you for that.

As I follow principles of landscape architecture, the first thing that comes to mind is that the patio should be sloped correctly for water drainage. I like to use a minimum of 1/4" per foot slope away from the house. Therefore, you should know what the top stone grades should be along the house and then where the patio ends. As an example, if your patio is 12 feet deep from the house as it extends out, where the patio ends should be 3" lower than the stones at the house.

Getting back to your question about varying thicknesses, you will have to set them in the base and get the tops of the stone to be level with each other...and at the right slope. So different stones might be set a little deeper or higher than others.

I am not up on the various tools, but perhaps there is a level that will tell you the slope. You can also use a string line and measure the differences in elevation. An eye level is another option. The slope of the stones should be correct and consistent.

As far as the sizes go, I am not positive, but pretty sure, that if you use all 2 x 3's, you will end up with long joint lines. I am not crazy about this. I like it much better when the joint lines are short and vary. This is particularly helpful if your lines are not precision straight! I came across a pattern that was made up of 2 x 3's and 2 x 2's which had the shorter lines and was attractive. This migh entail some simple cutting on your part, assuming all your pieces and the pieces of those that you can get are the 2 x 3's. So that's my only issue with all 2 x 3's.

I hope this was helpful and answered your questions. You might also be interested in my ebook on Patio Designs as there are different shapes and other helpful information.

Susan

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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