If you want to add a bit more function and style to your backyard, increasing the size of your living and entertaining space, you call install a beautiful brick patio. You might believe this to be a colossal job, one that requires the skilled hand of an experienced tradesman, like a mason, but it’s actually not that difficult. However, it is time consuming and will take a lot of effort to get the job done right so you don’t have to call-in a professional to rescue a botched attempt.
You only need a few common hand tools and the stamina and determination to do it right. This doesn’t mean it will be a cinch, but it will not be so complicated that you can’t handle it on your own. Of course, it’s always nice to have at least one set of helping hands and even better if that person is good with DIY projects.
Types of Brick Patios
You don’t necessarily have to just lay brick after brick in a linear, stock fashion, but you certainly can choose this very classic look, if you wish. There are actually six different types of configurations you have to choose from; and, depending on how much time you have to commit, along with your level of skill at laying bricks straight and within the confines of the border, you might just opt for something a bit more visually dazzling.
It’s a common misconception that you have to hire a skilled mason to get a flat, uniformly handsome brick patio that stays that way. All you really need are a few hand tools, knee pads, and the determination not to cut corners. In fact, it takes more skill to build a simple wood deck than to put down a handsome surface. —This Old House
Okay, so you can have the time-tested look that is just one after another in a straight line, across and out, which you can see is called “Jack on Jack.” You can stagger the bricks in a Running Bond fashion, making it a bit more visually appealing. Another option which is also a great choice is the classic Basket Weave, which invokes a more stylish look and feel, or, you can opt for shuffling it up a bit with the Half Basket Weave. The Herringbone is a more complex style, while the Diagonal Herringbone is for the truly adventurous.
Regardless of the style you ultimately choose, you should take the time to carefully plan ahead. Not only for your budget, but for the time it will take and the size of your new brick patio. Once it’s installed, you can line the border with gravel, mulch, colorful plants, or just use border stones.
Steps to Build a Beautiful Brick Patio
The first thing you need to do is to gather the tools and materials you’ll need to install your new brick patio, which are as follows:
- Landscape fabric
- Landscape spikes
- Stone dust
- 2 pipes and a 2×4-inch board for a screed
- Rubber mallet
- Sod lifter
- Plate compactor
- Push broom(s)
- Garden hose
When you have your tools and materials together, you can then follow these steps to lay a beautiful brick patio:
- Using a sod lifter, clear the grass, digging down to two inches to get the roots of grass. You can transfer the sod to another area, but you’ll have to keep it watered for it to remain healthy and to grow in its new location.
- Shovel and rake the area you’ve dug up to make it as level as possible. The extra dirt can also be reused in another area, like a planter.
- Roll out the landscape fabric to form a weed-resistant barrier and to keep any grass from growing in the future.
- Take the two pipes and place them parallel apart about five feet. Then, fill in between the pipes with stone dust and use the 2×4-inch board to scrape off the excess. Do this in sections until the entire rooted area is filled with stone dust.
- Once the area is filled with stone dust, use the plate compactor to tamp down the dust and then repeat steps 4 and 5 as necessary until there is sufficient, compacted coverage. The stone dust should be about 3 inches thick for the best base.
- Nail two spikes or nails on either side down the precise middle to create a true centerline to work off of when laying the bricks. Check at least twice to ensure that your center line is indeed in the exact center to have an accurate marker.
- Start laying the bricks from the center out, beginning at the stringed center line, in the pattern that you desire. This is where the challenge will be greatest, especially if you’re laying the bricks in Diagonal Herringbone configuration.
- Use the plate compactor to carefully tamp the bricks down into the stone dust.
Once the bricks are securely in-place, spread more stone dust over the entire patio and sweep it with a broom to fill in the cracks–you might have to do this two or more times. After the cracks are filled, spray the patio with a garden hose to finish.