Brick Patios are the customary bearer for class and classiness when building an outdoor patio, adding a rather formal touch to your backyard or patio. Using a Brick Patio on the locations adjacent to your residence makes the home itself much more attractive. Another benefit that a brick patio holds over a concrete slab patio is durability.
Brick patios do not crack in the way that concrete has a propensity to do, and should anything be damaged, you need only to substitute a few select bricks or concrete pavers rather than replace the complete patio slab.
Basic Brick Patio Design And Brick Patio Installation
Step 01 of your brick patio design, removal of existing materials
For the first step of your brick patio design, we laid out a rectangle, which most closely approximates the patio’s finished shape, by placing a stake about 2 ft. past each corner. To guide accurate stone laying, it’s important to establish parallel sides and 90o corners. You can make an accurate 90o angle using the 3-4-5-triangle method.
Drive a stake at the primary corner and wrap a string line right at the corner.
Measure from the stake 3 ft. along with a straight baseline. In this case, it’s the home’s foundation. Make a mark on the foundation with a pencil.
Lay the string out in the general direction of 90º from the house. Make a mark 4 ft. away from the house.
At your first 3 ft. pencil mark, measure 5 ft. out diagonally towards your 4 ft. mark on the string. When the mark on the string is exactly 5 ft. from your first pencil mark, you just created a 90º angle from the house.
Second, decide your finished patio height. The patio height should be slightly above the surrounding ground so that rainwater won’t stand on the surface.
At your first stake against the house, tie the string line at the level that you want to represent your finished patio height. Attach the other end to the outer stake.
Attach a line level to the middle of the string line. Slide the string up or down the outer stake until the string becomes level.
Third, establish an adequate patio slope so rainwater will drain away from your home.
Mark the level point on the outer stake. Allow at least a 1 in. drop for every 8 ft. away from the house. Example: A patio 16 ft. out away from the house has a 2 in. drop.
Slide the string down the stake to the proper slope and secure the string line.
Read More: How to Improve The Look of Outdoor Patio
It’s Time to Begin Excavating
Dig out the soil to the proper depth. TIP: Use a power sod cutter for best results. Use a shovel and pick if necessary to dig a “rough” depth to within an inch of the final depth. Use the string lines (and additional cross lines) to determine proper excavation depth.
Roll up the sod and store it in a cold damp place to keep it moist. When the job is complete, replace the sod around the edge of the pavers.
Step 02 of your Brick Patio Design, Base
As you might expect, the secret of a long-lasting patio lies in a good base for the bricks. The thickness of your base depends upon the soil; low-lying, wet soils need a thicker base than well-drained soils. Four to six inches of well-compacted, finely crushed stone should be enough.
However, the type of base material available varies from region to region. In some areas with sandy soils, you can rototill Portland Cement (1-94 lb. bag per 30 sq. ft.) into your existing native soil Compact it with a vibrating plate compactor as we did on our project. After compacted, lightly wet the area to form a rigid base. This is called cement stabilization and is used for “foot traffic” areas only.
The gas-powered plate compactor; it saves a lot of hard labor when compacting the aggregate base. Later, you’ll want to compact the surface of the bricks too. You’ll find it well worth a rental fee.
It’s important to assure that the base is flat and the slope is just right. Your finished brick patio surface will conform to the base, showing every dip and rise.
Edge Restraint –
If you are using aluminum or plastic edging, nail down your edge restraints, being careful to accurately follow your string lines If you are using a concrete toe, go ahead and screed your sand 5 in. beyond your finished edge and lay your bricks. The toe will be installed near the end of the project.
Step 03 of your Brick Patio Design, Screeding the Sand
Place two parallel pieces of 1 in. steel conduit pipe about 5 ft. apart onto your base. Shovel coarse sand between the conduit pipes. Screed it back and forth with a straight 10 ft. 2″x 4″ board to make it smooth, and then carefully fill with sand the gaps made from removing the pipes. Do not walk on the sand. Complete 10 x 10 ft. (about one pallet) square sections at a time, laying the bricks before smoothing the next section.
Note: When laying bricks next to an existing concrete surface, the sand should lay exactly 21/8 in. below the concrete surface. Cut a 21/8 in. notch out of your board to speed up the screening. Check your sand height by placing a brick on it against the concrete edge. It should stand 1/4 in. above the fixed surface. Compacted bricks drop exactly 1/4 in. and “no more” in the 1 in. of coarse sand.
Step 04 of your Brick Patio Design, Laying Bricks
Start your square corner and work your way out in a triangular direction. Most projects are bordered with rectangular bricks to form a clean edge. Lay each new brick against the previous brick it’s placed next to and slide it straight down. Do not slide bricks across the sand. Install each brick without leaving gaps. Nudge them tighter by tapping with a hammer handle or rubber mallet. Note: Never stomp a patio brick into place.
Should you find the bricks not aligning, stop and find the problem. Check the starting corner to make sure it’s exactly 90º, and adjust the bordering brick if necessary.
Step 05 of your Brick Patio Design, Cutting Bricks
Once all of your bricks are in place, some areas may require cutting to form a particular line or edge. Draw a line on the surface of the bricks with a grease pencil (crayon-like pencil). Splitting the bricks with a guillotine cutter will work for simple cuts. But for angled cuts and better results, you’ll need to rent a wet saw with a diamond blade.
Step 06 of your Brick Patio Design, Edge Restraint
Aluminum edging is our recommended edge restraint. Aluminum is lightweight, flexible, easy to use, and does not warp. Use long landscape nails and nail down your edge restraint along all exposed sides
When aluminum edge restraint material is not available, you can make a concrete edge called a concrete toe
When all bricks are cut and laid in place, use a flat shovel and dig a trench around your finished edge. This is done by digging straight down, 2 to 4 in. below the bottom of the bricks, and out 4 to 5 in. Dig straight down with the shovel making sure not to disturb the bricks. Next, follow the directions on a bag of Portland cement to make a thick cement mixture. Shovel the mixture into the trench and smooth from halfway up the brick in a 45º angle to the ground. Let it set. For driveways make the toe larger and set a piece of #3 steel rebar in it.
Brick Patio Design Step 07 of your Brick Patio Design, Compacting
Finally, set the bricks firmly into the sand with the plate compactor. Like mowing the lawn, make only one pass. Use a rubber mallet and woodblock to set hard-to-reach areas. Sweep fine sand into the surface cracks and vibrate them one final pass, sweeping more fine sand in as necessary.
Two passes with the plate compactor are sufficient. The fine sand, in the joints, will pack down after a few rainstorms. Keep extra fine sand on reserve to refill the gaps as needed.
Brick Patio Design Equipment List
- Gloves & Safety Glasses
- Lumber (2) 10’ straight 2″x4″ yellow pine
- Sledgehammer or heavy rubber or plastic mallet
- Shovel & spade
- 2-3) 8’ lengths of 1″ steel electrical conduit pipe
- Nylon mason’s string
- (2) long tape measures
- Carpenter’s chalk line Rake
- Wooden or metal stakes
- Carpenter’s level
- Line level which clips to a string
- Pick, if the ground is hard
- Grease pencil
- Aluminum edge restraint
- Landscape nails
Brick Patio Design Material List
- A cubic yard of very coarse concrete sand for every 200 sq. ft. of a project. (3) 40lb. bags per 10 sq. ft.
- One bag (25lb) of fine sand for every 200 sq. ft. of a project. Sand is used to filling brick joints.
Vehicular Traffic: 1 cubic yard of crushed limestone or reclaimed concrete (very fine) for every 80 sq. ft. of a project at 4 in. depth.
Pedestrian Traffic: 1- 94 lb. bag portland cement for each 30 sq. ft. of a project. Rototill into the existing subgrade.
3.Edge Restraint: 1- 94 lb. bag of Portland cement for every 25 ft. of a concrete toe. Add the equivalent of a 3-to-1 ratio, send to cement.
Brick Patio Design Rental Equipment List
- Gas-powered plate compactor
- Guillotine-type stonecutter or masonry saw for complete brick cuts