Dry Laying Flagstone & Flagstone Type
I'm trying to replace my lawn with a native CA garden and planning to put a flagstone through the area where the yard used to be. I've never worked with stone and want to make sure I do it right because of the amount of work involved and looking for some guidance.
1) First off is the type of flagstone to use. I'm looking for 1.5'-2' pieces and the local rockery had three that caught my eye: Three Rivers Tumbled (looks good but after searching Google this stone will leech iron/rust even if sealed); Rustic Garden Tumbled (smooth and clean, but the traditional drab grey); Bouquet Canyon Thin (price is 1/2 of tumbled Bouquet Canyon, but at half the price there were some 2 inch thick pieces that should be affordable). Does anyone have any knowledge of Bouquet Canyon? Does it need to be sealed? Is it "brittle" and have prone to cracking? I was planning on just laying it down bare.
2) The soil where the lawn used to be gets "soft" when wet and the flagstones will need more support underneath. The options I'm considering are:
a) Removing the layer of lawn topsoil and replacing it with the harder adobe underneath and tampering it down before laying down the flagstone.
b) I have a pile of half inch/one inch rocks and was wondering if I could find a use by removing the topsoil, laying down these stones, then putting the flagstone on the stones. Or if some extra "cushioning" is needed, to pour some sand over the stones to fill in the gaps.
c) Remove the topsoil and do the traditional process of 1/2 inch gravel, fabric, stone dust, then flagstone. This is the most costly and time consuming and I'm hoping to avoid this.
d) Do nothing, just clear the weeds and level out the existing topsoil and lay down the flagstone.
Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!