I have a new house and there are rocks all over the place here. The sizes of these rocks range from 3x3x3 inches to 2x2x2 feet, all coming in irregular shapes. I have an area roughly 10x30 feet and I want to use these rocks to create a nice stone patio. However, searching for any permutation of "stone", "deck", "driveway", "rock", "boulder"... on YouTube gets me either a flagstone video or a retaining wall video which leads me to believe that it is impossible to just plop down a rock into gravel and then to put cement between them. I can't help but feel like 3,000 years ago this is how people created stone cobble roads.

My question is whether it is possible to use these large rocks in my project or whether I have to chip away at them to make them perfect 1" flat?

Edit: I did not imply that I wanted an outcome like this

enter image description here

I still want the outcome to look like so (by using rocks with a flat face or by chipping away at them to make them flat) enter image description here

It's just that my rocks (the input) look like so

enter image description here

And I don't want to spend 6 weeks chipping away at them to get them perfectly flat like so

enter image description here

So my question is this: Is it possible to use large rocks with a single flat side as the ground similar to how they are used as the flat face of a stone wall like in the below photo

enter image description here

  • Possible yes. Very time consuming with needing deeper digging and many different levels to have the top level. Plus you probably need a month or two just for layout design. Might also need cutting/chipping at least one face for flatness.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 11:50
  • Would probably be better to collect enough stones of similar thickness to cover the area, instead of trying with much different thicknesses.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 13:00
  • There's a good reason we don't build cobblestone roads anymore. They're terrible. Even when wheels were five feet high they were bumpy as heck. Their only redeeming virtue is that they weren't mud. A patio would also be terrible. Your furniture would rock and creak and your guests will twist their ankles and sue you.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 13:49
  • 1
    But to answer your question... yes, it's possible. Did you have a more specific question?
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 13:54
  • 1
    Remember the face of the smiling woman. She is only smiling because we don't see the hundred peons doing her work. Getting it to be flat will be hard. Making look good will be harder.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


Nothing magical, a lot of hard labor to move the random-sized rocks.

I'll clean an area out of the rocks, dig to the depth equal to the largest rock in that group, then provide a thick layer of the sand base, and start to arrange the rocks. Adjust the height by removing/adding sand, and fill the gaps with the fractured rocks and sand.

Follow the procedure, works from one area to another until completion. Do not forget to set up stacks and utilize strings to maintain the level of the finished surface.

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