How to Build a Brick Patio

Transform your backyard with a brick patio with these step-by-step instructions.

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After: Brick Paver Patio

Pave the way to good times with a patio made of brick pavers. Before beginning this project, just be sure to contact your local utility-marking service to ascertain that there are no buried electrical, gas or plumbing lines where you plan to dig. And if you’re planning to build a large patio, make sure it has a slight slope away from the house to ensure proper drainage.

Materials and Tools:

interlocking brick pavers
weed-blocking landscape fabric
6-inch landscape spikes
1 ton of stone dust for each 100 square feet
2 pipes and a 2x4-inch board for creating a screed
string
nails
level
rubber mallet
sod lifter (available for rental)
plate compactor (available for rental)
shovels and rakes
push brooms
grinder with diamond wheel or wet saw (available for rental)

Steps:

1. Use the sod lifter to remove grass in the patio area, cutting about 2 inches deep to get all the roots lifted. If desired, the sod can be laid in another part of the lawn — just keep it watered.

2. Level dirt as much as possible with shovels and rakes. If there are large humps, you can use the sod lifter to remove 2-inch slices of dirt.

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3. Lay down the landscape fabric, holding it in place with landscape spikes.

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4. Using a screed, fill the area with a 2-inch layer of stone dust in 5-foot sections. To create a screed, lay down the two pipes five feet apart and parallel to each other. Make sure the pipes are level with each other to ensure that the patio will be even. Fill the area between the two pipes with stone dust. Scrape off excess with a 2-by-4, using the pipes to gauge the depth. Remove the pipes and place them for the next section; fill in their depressions with the stone dust.

5. After the entire area is covered with 2 inches of stone dust, compact the space with the plate compactor.

6. Repeat the process of laying the stone dust two more times, which will leave about a 3-inch base of stone dust.

7. To create a center line, drive nails on either side of the middle of the patio and stretch string between the two nails. Use the line as a reference for laying the bricks. To get the line square, cross the first line with another going perpendicular. Use the 3-4-5 method to check for square: Mark three feet from the center cross on one string and four feet from the center cross on the other string. If the diagonal between the marks is five feet, the lines are square.

8. Starting in the center section, lay pavers in the desired pattern, working off your string line. Use the rubber mallet to hammer each paver into place. To cut in the edges, mark pavers with a heavy pencil line where you want to cut them, cut halfway on both sides of the brick with a wet saw or grinder with a diamond wheel, and tap with a hammer for a clean break.

9. After all the pavers are down, run the plate compactor over them to set them into the stone dust.

10. Spread a thin layer of stone dust over the entire patio and sweep the dust into all the cracks. Repeat until the cracks are full. Hose off or pressure-wash the area.

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