DIY: Home-made flagstones

 

DIY: Make Your Own Natural Looking Flagstone

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I wanted to make a little flagstone patio under my trees, but flagstones are very expensive.   I wanted them to look natural and not uniform like they would be if I used a mold.  So I came up with this method and I think they turned out pretty good.

  • First find a nice flat surface to work on like a concrete patio.
  • Next, lay several layers of heavy plastic on the surface.
  • You will need 4 2×4 boards about 4 to 5 feet long.  They don’t need to be nice; you are just using them to make a frame for pouring concrete.

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  • Fasten three of the boards together to form a box.  Leave the last one un-attached.
  • The height of the boards will determine the thickness of your concrete, so lay the 4 inch side flat on the ground, this way the finished stones will be about 2 inches thick.

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  • Now for your concrete.  I used “Ready to Use Concrete Mix” by Quickrete.  I bought it at Lowes in 80 lb bags so you will need some muscle to work with it.
  • I mixed up two bags at a time. I would suggest not doing more than that at a time because your slab of concrete will be too big and heavy to work with.

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  • Always put a little water in first before you add the concrete mix or the powder gets stuck to the bottom and it is hard to mix.

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  • Mix thoroughly adding enough water to wet it well and have a little bit of soupy mixture on top

 

 

 

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  • Pour your mixed concrete into the frame.

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  • Use the un-attached board to adjust the size.

 

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  • Use a trowel or a stick to work the concrete.

 

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  • The surface doesn’t need to be perfect, but you don’t want it to be gravelly, so with the stick or trowel keep working the cement until the gravel is knocked down and the surface is smooth.

 

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  • Let it dry for two or three days.
  • Remove the wooden frame.
  • With a shovel, pry up a corner of your concrete slab.  This can be kind of hard; a hand trowel sometimes helps to get an edge under it.

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  • Slide a broom handle or piece of rebar under your concrete slab.

 

 

 

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  • Stand on the slab straddling the broom handle.  Keep your weight on one side of the broom and give the other side a sharp blow with your foot.  This will usually cause the slab to break right along the line of the broom.  I would avoid jumping with all your weight because this causes it to break into small pieces.

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  • Use this method to break your concrete slab into pieces.

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  • Now for coloring them.  Originally I was going to use concrete dye, but I found that it was quite expensive and also I didn’t really want the stones to be a uniform color so I experimented a bit and found the easiest way to color them was to use spray paint.  I thought I would have to repaint them every year, but it has been 6 years and they still look good.

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  • I got several different shades of brown and sprayed with the darkest first.

 

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  •   I left each color kind of splotchy (is that a word?) and then finished with the lightest.  It was kind of hard to make the paint job look really natural, but once I laid them into the patio they looked great and totally natural.

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