University of Missouri Extension

G6930, Reviewed June 1998

Building Brick Walks and Patios

Denny Schrock
Department of Horticulture

Bricks in sand make an attractive, durable and pleasant outdoor paving (Figure 1). They are easy to install — the easiest to handle of all paving materials.

Individually, bricks are small and lightweight. A brick walk or patio can be installed piecemeal at leisure. Do not attempt too much at one time.

Bricks have other attractions: a non-glare surface, pleasant texture, mellow color and pleasing contrast.

On the other hand, weeds and grass may grow up through the joints, freezing and thawing may cause heaving and bricks may need resetting. Bricks are absorbent and can hold stains. The general roughness of the surface makes it unsuitable for dancing and some games.

Brick walkwaysFigure 1
Brick patios and walkways provide a durable and attractive outdoor paving.

Use common hard brick

Choose hard-burned brick for paving. Soft bricks crack too easily. If available, slick-surfaced face brick or cleaned old brick may be used. A hard-burned brick will give a clear, high-pitched metallic sound when hit with a hammer. Soft bricks will give a dull thud like a block of wood.

Get enough bricks to do the entire job. There is enough variation in bricks that those from another batch may not match the color or size of those previously purchased. Common brick may range from 8 to 8-1/4 inches long, 3-3/4 to 3-7/8 inches wide, and 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches deep.

Running bond. Figure 2
Running bond.
Basket weave

Figure 3a
Basket weave.

Figure 3b

Paving patterns

Bricks can be laid with either open or closed joints. Where no mortar is used, closed joints are best. This means that the bricks are butted tightly together. When closed joints are used, the running bond pattern is easiest.

Herringbone and basketweave are popular designs, but are more difficult to lay. Basketweave, when laid with closed joints, will leave a 1/2-inch hole in the center of each group of eight bricks.

Materials and tools

The following materials will be needed to lay a closed-joint brick surface over an area of 100 square feet:

The lumber is used for edging and the amount necessary will depend on the shape used and also the closeness to structures where an edging may not be necessary.

The stakes are used to brace the edging. Cedar, cypress or wood that has been treated with a preservative may be used instead of redwood lumber.

Steps for laying a patio or walk

Grade a patio Figure 4
Grade a patio 1 inch in 8 feet away from the house.

Cross section of construction Figure 5
Cross section of patio or walk construction.

Using a brick set Figure 6
Using a brick set to cut brick.

G6930 Building Brick Walks and Patios | University of Missouri Extension

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