How to Build Brick Patios

A well-built brick patio can be an attractive addition to your home and provide an elegant and classic outdoor entertaining and relaxation area. While it's important to do the job the correct way, there aren't any inherent difficulties in the job that can't be conquered by the homeowner who's willing to invest a little sweat equity in the job.

  • Marking paint
  • Shovel
  • 1-by-12 board lumber
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Gravel
  • Rake
  • Sand
  • Bricks
  • Rubber mallet
  • Broom
Mark out the area where you want to place your brick patio. Take into account the proximity of the area to your home, relevant landscaping details and the terrain. Trace out the edge of the patio area with marking paint, available in cans from your home improvement store.

Dig out the area where the patio will be installed with a shovel to a depth of 12 inches, removing the dirt and grass with a wheelbarrow.

Line the sides of the excavated area with 1-by-12 boards, cut to length and set on edge in the pit. Check the alignment of the boards with a level to ensure they're true, and nail the corners together where they meet with a hammer and nails. Backfill the outside edges of the perimeter with dirt you removed during Step 2.

Place landscape fabric on the bottom of the excavation to inhibit the growth of vegetation. Landscape fabric usually comes in long rolls, so cut pieces to fit with scissors or a knife, overlapping the edges by an inch when placing adjoining pieces together.

Fill the excavated area to a depth of 7 inches with medium-sized (1 to 2 inch) gravel. Rake the gravel out as you put it in so that the top is smooth and level

Add construction sand onto the gravel until the level is 1 inch below the top edge of the excavation. Apply the sand a bit at a time, raking it in so that it works down into the spaces between the gravel. Rake the top so that it's smooth, and then pack the sand down by placing a board on the sand, walking on it, moving the board and repeating the process until the surface is flat and level.

Place your bricks onto the sand in the pattern you've chosen. Start on the outside and work around to form a border first, then fill the inside of the perimeter. As you add each brick, tap it down firmly with a rubber mallet and use a level to check the positioning of the brick.

Spread a thin layer of sand on top of the bricks and brush it into the spaces between the bricks with a stiff broom. Then brush the remaining sand off the bricks. Repeat this step one to two times in the upcoming weeks. The sand that works in will help inhibit shifting and settling of the bricks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Practice the brick pattern you'd like to use on the patio before you begin the patio. This will give you some valuable feedback on the look of the bricks you're using and the pattern.

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