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How To Build a Brick Patio or Walkway

A Hard Path Doesn't Have to be Difficult

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This curving brick walkway is an inviting entrance. Photo (cc) Flickr Member

This curving brick walkway is an inviting entrance

Photo (cc) Flickr Member "RealEstateZebra"

Forget the boring slabs of gray concrete. A brick patio or walkway will enhance the beauty of your home. But, how to prevent the pavement from buckling? The secret is in what lies beneath. For the perfect patio, follow these easy steps.

Time Required: 1-5 days

Here's How:

  1. Dig Deep. Begin with a six-inch deep excavation. Make sure that the excavation slopes gently away from your house, so puddles won't pool on your finished patio.
  2. Pack the Soil. Edge the hole with rigid plastic or rot-resistant wood, and then add four-inches of crushed stone. To help prevent settling, be sure to pack the soil and stone tightly.
  3. Keep out the Weeds. Overlapping strips of landscape fabric will keep out pesky weeds. Then, top the stone and the fabric with an inch or two of hard-packed stone dust.
  4. Choose a Better Brick. Always use a hard baked brick designed for paving. To check your brick, tap it with a hammer. A paving brick will let out a high, metallic sound; a softer ornamental brick will thud like a block of wood.
  5. Pick your Pattern. Be creative: Lay your bricks in a beautiful herringbone or basket weave designs.
  6. Butt the Bricks. No mortar is necessary if you butt the bricks tightly together. After the bricks are laid, a light sweeping of stone dust will fill in any cracks.

Tips:

  1. Start with a very small project until you get the hang of it. Learn from your mistakes. With a small project, you can always pull up the bricks and stones and start again.
  2. Make sure to buy plenty of bricks. The color may not match if you have to buy more from a different batch.
  3. Start at the center and lay whole bricks first.
  4. Use a brick-set to cut partial bricks.
  5. Remember that basket weave patterns will leave small openings at the center of each cluster.
  6. Also remember this: bricks are heavy. Be careful.
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