Brick is still the gold standard of the building rock world. Durable, versatile and beautiful, bricks can pave the way for a formal or informal outdoor living space and you don’t have to hire a professional brick layer to do the job. Building a brick patio is a simple (albeit a labor intensive) DIY project. Use this how-to guide and create your own outdoor brick living space or walkway next weekend.
Purchase a cheap can of brightly colored spray paint and paint the outline of your desired patio. The spray painted lines will help you visualize what the new brick patio or walkway will look like with your house and landscape. If you don’t like the initial spray painted designed, purchase a different color of spray paint and start over. Just remember which paint color is the true outline as you begin to build the patio.
Go with the Flow
Design the patio to work with the flow of foot traffic. You don’t want awkward door openings or steps. So after you paint off the patio perimeter, walk it off. Will the patio design create a natural flow from inside the home to outdoors and vise-versa? Are there surrounding landscape areas you want to be easily accessible from the patio? Walk them off to and make adjustments as needed.
Paint and flow are followed by furniture placement. Use actual patio furniture or newspaper cut-outs to ensure there is enough room not only for the furniture, but for scooting out table chairs when dinning out on your new brick patio.
Dig down one foot inside the painted area and remove soil. Tap down underlying soil with a rented plate compactor until soil is level. Add a 4-6 inch layer of crushed rock to create a base layer. Slightly dampen base layer with water hose and tap down level with plate compactor.
Lawn Edging and Sand
Place a lawn edging system around the perimeter of patio and under lawn edge, but don’t anchor into place until all pieces are placed and you’re satisfied with the layout. Install lawn edging anchor and add one inch of builder grade sand and smooth with rake and broom until level (don’t tap).
Lay the Brick
Start in one corner and lay one row of bricks straight across to another corner, then work your way back to the starting corner. Don’t press or hammer the bricks into place, just lay them out in the desired pattern on top of the sand. Stand on the laid bricks, not in the smoothed sand and check bricks frequently with level as you work. If sand gets disturbed while laying the bricks, lightly rub a broom over the top to re-smooth the surface.
When all bricks have been laid and you are satisfied with results, pour dry sand into the crack between the bricks and sweep bricks clean.