Laying a Brick Paver Patio

michiganmoves/flickr

michiganmoves/flickr

A brick paver patio is a great accent to include in your yard and adds to the aesthetic value to your home. Before you can begin the actual breaking ground on a paver patio, you need a design. The design of your patio must reflect and compliment the overall look to you home, not one that clashes with it. Design a patio that will complement the existing colors and textures of your home. For example, a home with well-worn cedar shake siding will look great with a sand-molded brick paver for that bit of aged dignity look, while a modern home is better off with a tumbled concrete paver brick.

When laying a brick patio, consider the reason why you need the patio in the first place. Are you entertaining guests outdoors for grill parties etc? What are the other features outdoors you have that must be taken into consideration as well such as the grill, seating measurement or entry/exit to the house? You need at least 30 square feet of space around the patio doors so that you and your guest won\’t feel like you\’re being overwhelmed by the patio once you step outside.

Once you\’ve considered all you options and designs, the next step is to get into measuring the space and taking note on any features in the house (or outside) that will have an impact to your overall design. Also take into account the direction the brick paver patio is facing as you don\’t want to lay one that\’s fully exposed to the sun at the hottest time of the day, thus expediting the wear of the patio.

Tip: A person using the patio needs about 20 square feet of space to feel comfortable. So to find out just how big a patio you need, multiply that by the number of people you normally have over for a party to obtain the amount of space you\’ll need to provide.

What you typically need:

  • Brick pavers – the sizes may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most brick pavers come in 4″ x 8″, 3 5/8″ x 7 5/8″ and 3 3/4″ x 7 1/2″ with a thickness of about 1 1/4″ to 2 1/4″.
  • Sand – use well-graded, washed concrete sand. These hold the bricks in place
  • Crushed Stone – they are used as a strong base to support the patio; also known as gravel, road base, or crusher run depending on where you are.
  • Border or Edging Materials (optional) – You can choose from several different options for border or edging materials, such as brick, plastic or metal edgings, Wood – use 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 pressure-treated, or natural redwood; string and wooden stakes (that is used to align your brickwork). Also include 8 inch long spikes if you\’re using wood, metal or plastic edgings.

Tools

  • Flat shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden hose with fine spray nozzle
  • Hard garden rake
  • Masonry saw for cutting and fitting the brick (available for rent at local rental store or brick distributor)
  • Carpenter\’s level
  • 3 feet long 2 x 4
  • Trowel
  • Broom
  • Plate compactor (which can be rented)

Method:

  1. Once you\’ve marked the design outline for your brick paver patio, excavate the area to a depth of 8 inch and spread crushed stone/gravel over the entire area. Rake it and tamp down to a level with a plate compacter.
  2. Once you\’ve compacted the whole area, install the edgings which will help you ensure your bricks are laid out in a more professional manner.
  3. Pour sand over the gravel to a depth of 1 inch and rake it to distribute it over the entire area. To level the surface of the sand, use a horizontal 2 x 4 to smooth out the sand.
  4. You can now begin to lay the brick pavers from the edging border, cutting the bricks to size as required when you come across any irregular shape endings. Tap the pavers into place with a rubber mallet and continue laying pavers until the whole area is complete.
  5. Spread a layer of sand over the entire patio then work it into the gaps between the pavers with a broom. Gently spray water over the entire paver brick patio so that the sand will settle into the gaps. Once all the sand has filled the gaps, use a tamper over the entire area to set the bricks down on the patio.

Congratulations, you\’ve just built yourself a brick paver patio. It is a project that can be done just over the weekend (sans design and material procurement time). You don\’t have to be a rocket scientist to build one, and the patio will be a great area to entertain your guest over the evenings or weekends with a barbeque/grill party.

More Reading:

How to Lay a Brick Paver Patio:

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-lay-a-brick-paver-patio/index.html

Brick Paver: http://www.doityourself.com/scat/brickaccents

How to Install Brick Pavers:

http://www.groundtradesxchange.com/pavers/brick-pavers.htm


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