How to Level Brick Walkways

Brick walkways are considered by many to be among the most attractive, colorful, and esthetically pleasing of all walkways you can install in your yard. But unlike walkways of concrete or asphalt, leveling bricks in your walkway can sometimes prove to be a challenge. However, leveling and installing bricks for your walkway can be less backbreaking and time consuming, if you use the right tools and techniques. Many of the tools you'll require can be rented, if you don't own your own.

Things you'll need:

  • Power compactor
  • Small aggregate gravel
  • Work gloves
  • Bricks or pavers
  • Wood stakes
  • String or twine
  • Shovel
  • Push broom
  • Hammer and chisel, or circular saw with masonry blade
  • Brick edging strips
  • Level
  • Masonry sand or stone dust
  • Knee pads, eye protection
  • Wheelbarrow

Step 1 – Layout Your Walkway

Before beginning to lay your bricks, you need to layout your walkway. Be sure you install it where you won't be digging up sprinkler pipe or wire conduit. Figure out how wide you need to make it without having to cut bricks to fit. Decide whether you want it straight or curved. If curved, decide how sharp you want your curves. Keep in mind that in using hard, flat bricks, you'll need to cut some—or all—of them to create rounded edges if your walkway curves are too sharp. Drive your stakes into the ground at the inside and outside edges of your walkway. Finally, run string from stake to stake, to mark the edge of your walkway.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Walkway Soil

Use a pick and square head shovel to remove soil from your walkway. You need it to be about eight inches deep, because you'll be adding base aggregate, such as gravel. Remove all tree roots, weeds, stones and debris that can make the surface uneven. Use your shovel or an edger to make each of the two side edges even and straight. Finally, tamp all loose soil with a compactor.

Step 3 – Lay Pipe and Sand

Along each of the 2 side edges, lay and level a 1-inch pipe. You'll be burying this pipe with sand so be sure the pipe is level before you add the sand. Use a long 2x4 board and a carpenter’s level to level each of the 2 pipes. Then, making sure the pipe level doesn't change, begin adding and compacting the masonry sand, until it is 2 inches deep.

Step 4 – Install Edging

To prevent your bricks from spreading, install plastic edging. First, lay your edging straight along the outer boarders of your walkway. Then, drive 2-inch nails through the edging and into the ground.

Step 5 – Install Your Bricks

Follow the brick pattern you've chosen, and lay your bricks on the sand surface, being careful to keep the top of each brick level with the next. Be sure as you place them that the rows are staggered and are interlocked. When you have finished laying your bricks, spread more sand across the surface. Sweep the sand so it fills all the gaps between the bricks and clean up all the excess. To give them a more solid base, use your tamper again, this time on top of the laid bricks.