Building a Brick Patio

What You'll Need
Carpenter level
Tape measure
Wooden stakes
Rubber mallet
Mason cord
Utility knife
2x4 piece of lumber (screed)
Paving bricks
Landscaping fabric

Creating a simple brick patio is not difficult and can be done in a single afternoon. These steps will show you how to build a simple 10x10-foot loose-laid brick patio with brick edging without having to use mortar.

Step 1 - Digging the Patio

Measure the 10-foot by 10-foot area for your patio and stake it out placing a stake 1 foot past the length and width you've determined. Place a stake at each corner. Check to make sure the area is square.

Stretch one end of the mason's cord from one corner to the other. Repeat with another piece of mason's cord to make a cross as you tie them to the stakes.

Begin digging out the patio to a depth of 7 inches. Make your patio slope slightly at about 1/4-inch per each foot lengthwise of the patio for water run-off. Always check your depth often as you're digging so you can adjust quickly if you need to.

Lay the landscaping fabric in the bottom of hole.

Cover the top of the landscaping fabric with 4 inches of gravel. Use the rake to spread the gravel out until it is even then tamp it down.

Step 2 - Installing the Edging

There are many things you can use to edge the patio but for this we will use brick edging.

Start by digging a 2½-inch deep trench around the edge of the patio. Add ¾-inch of sand to the trench.

Place a brick in place and set it with the rubber mallet. Add more bricks until you are finished but always check the level of each set of bricks.

Strike the bricks with the rubber mallet to adjust their depth if needed.

Step 3 - Laying Down the Foundation

With the edging in place you can now lay the foundation for the brick patio.

Pour the sand directly over the gravel until you have about 1 inch. Use the piece of wood as a screed and drag it across the surface of the sand in all directions in order to level it out. The sand is used as a cushion for the bricks to sit on. Check the level of the sand and continue until you are satisfied then tamp it down.

Since the sand will settle in the gravel check to make sure you have an inch of sand and add more as needed.

Step 4 - Laying Brick

Choose the type of pattern you want to use when you lay your bricks. This will determine how you start this step.

Choose a corner to start at then start laying your bricks according to the chosen pattern. As you lay them keep a ¼-inch space between each brick. Check for the evenness in your patio by placing a piece of lumber over the bricks with a level on top of the wood. Check in all directions so you don't miss anything. Use the rubber mallet to set the bricks in place as well as to level them. Continue laying the bricks until the patio is finished.

Step 5 - Finishing it Up

You are now in the home stretch of laying your brick patio.

Dump sand over the surface of the brick patio. Use the broom and push the sand across the surface in all directions so you can push the sand into the spaces between the bricks. Continue adding sand and sweeping it across until the spaces are filled.

Use a spray attachment on your hose and lightly spray the patio surface. You want to lightly moisten the sand, but not wash it away. This will help to compact the sand and create a seal.

Use the broom again to push remaining sand inside the spaces between the bricks. Add more sand if you need to until the spaces are filled.

Rinse the patio off.