Hammerhead Stoneworks built this backyard patio in the summer of 2013 in Arden, North Carolina. It features dry laid sandstone flagging and a sturdy stone bench. A modular block retaining wall was also replaced with a drystone retaining wall.
Sometimes we are able to work over an existing slab, which saves on the cost of removal. This was not an option in this case. As you can see from the photo above, the slab is flush with the threshold of the sliding glass door, making it impossible to add stone. We were able to find a good home for the rubble we removed. The chunks of concrete were hauled away by a young woman building raised beds for a garden on a steep slope. This saved our customer money and reduced waste.
After we removed the blocky retaining wall, we dug back the area, adding to the patio space and creating a more pleasing shape. As is often the case, the bottom edge of the stucco was a bit squirrely. We added a back splash of sorts to hide that edge. A funky boulder along the near edge provides some visual interest. We added a french drain that runs underneath the edge where the patio meets the lawn. We were able to tie that into an existing drain pipe, thereby avoiding digging a hundred foot trench to find daylight.
This close up photograph shows the variety of color available in this particular type of sandstone, sourced from Tennessee. At Hammerhead, we aim to have our joints be 3/8 of an inch wide and very consistent. We fill the joints with crushed stone and screenings, which settle into the spaces between the stones and help hold everything together. Dry laid patios like this have room to move, expanding and contracting with the sun, and also allow water to pass through. This is why a stone patio laid dry like this is more durable (and beautiful!) than a rigid, mortared patio.