Sunday, February 24, 2008

A properly installed flagstone path

Towards the end of last summer I was asked to redesign a front yard for a century old home in the Mount Pleasant Rd and Lawrence Ave. area in Toronto.

The clients were having basement issues with some failed drain tiles and water penetration through the walls. The plan was to dig the foundations up and waterproof them properly. The end result was that the old landscape would be destroyed and that was when I was called in.

One of the first things I noticed about the old front yard landscape design was that the access to the front door was a path leading from the street to the door and not to the driveway. Now understanding the era in which this home was built, pedestrian traffic was the main mode of transportation back then, so a path to the driveway was not a major thought.

I recommended that since they were tearing everything up, we could build a walkway leading from the front door to the driveway and better service visiting guests that would park in the driveway. They asked what materials should be used and I suggested to stick with the existing materials in the Credit Valley Flagstone pathway leading to the road. The front fa├žade of the home also had Credit Valley stonework and so using that stone would keep the flow from house to garden very nicely.

The above photo shows the construction work of the pathway I designed. When installing a proper flagstone path, there should be a good solid base of concrete set in so that you have a good foundation for the flagstone to be mortared on to. This particular construction has a 4 inch grid of wire mesh and will have between 4 to 5 inches of concrete poured around it. The mesh gets suspended by hand about midway between the top and bottom of the concrete surface as the concrete is being poured.

Once the concrete cures, the flagstone can then be shaped and set in place to create a beautiful and attractive walkway. This type of construction could last another century or more as I am certain the pathway will outlast my lifetime. The end result is a pathway that would welcome anyone that parks in their driveway.

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