How to Lay a Brick Walkway or Patio

With the prevalence of do-it-yourself home improvement stores now easily reachable in every neighborhood, the creative homeowner has all the necessary materials and expertise on hand to tackle even the most complicated job. When it comes to real estate, curb appeal is a big factor in the value of any home, so many people focus their time and attention on things they can do to spice up their property.

Outside of fantastic landscaping and a new driveway, one great option is building a new walkway or patio. Concrete is an easy solution, but it's drab and boring. If you have the resources, you're much better off building with brick. It brings a bright, classic color to your property that can compliment any other design, and is fairly easy to install. The trick is laying it down with the proper foundation, so it doesn't buckle over time. Here are some quick and easy steps to follow to lay the perfect brick walkway or patio in front of your home.

The first step is the excavation, and you'll need to dig fairly deep to make it sturdy. Start by digging at least six inches deep, following the outline you created for the new patio or walkway. While digging, make sure the pattern slopes away from the house in a gentle manner. That will keep water from draining towards your home, and puddles from forming on the finished brick patio or walkway.

Next, you'll need to pack the excavated hole. Start by edging it with either rot-resistant wood or a rigid plastic. This will keep the sides from crumbling or losing shape. Then fill the bottom of the hole with crushed stone, at least four-inches worth. You want this foundation to keep its shape, so pack the stone, soil and wood or plastic siding tightly, until there is no shifting.

Brick and stone walk way

Now you'll want to insure that weeds have no place in your fancy, new brick patio or walkway. Pick up strips of landscape fabric, and overlap them on top of your stone foundation. Finish off your foundation with a one-to-two-inch layer of stone dust. Again, you'll want to pack it in tight so it doesn't shift or settle.

With the foundation complete, you can now turn your attention to the bricks. You'll want to buy bricks that were designed for paving, so look for hard backed materials in whatever color scheme you desire. If you're not sure, there's a simple trick you can use to see if the brick is up to snuff. Grab a hammer and tap one of the bricks with it. If the brick has been designed for paving, it will give off a high, metallic ring. If it's a brick designed for ornamentation, it will clack like a wood block.

Now that you've chosen the right bricks, consider the overall pattern before you get started. The neater the pattern, the more impressive the final patio or walkway will be. Consider a basket weave or herringbone design, both of which are classic in these builds. Hop onto your favorite design websites to see some examples, and print one out in color for you to follow. How you lay the bricks in place will determine whether or not you need mortar. If you butt them tightly together, you can avoid that messy, time consuming step. So lay them as tight as you can, and whatever cracks are left can be filled with a light cover of stone dust.

Hunt out tips from master builders to give your project a professional feel. Remember to buy too many bricks as opposed to too few, as you may not be able to perfectly match colors with an additional batch. And start at the center of the area, building outwards with whole bricks first.