Old paving bricks

People love backyard features. Not only do they transform a uniform space into different sections that are set aside for different functions, they make a backyard look bigger. A patio is one of the best choices for adding that appeal to your backyard: it’s an easy project to do yourself and it’s even easier for you, tenants, and future owners to maintain; it’s a usable space for sitting outside or a backyard barbeque; and it means less lawn to mow. If you’re considering building a patio in your backyard but you’re worried about the potential headache of building a wooden deck, think about building a patio with paving bricks. Learn how to build a brick patio and the benefits of doing so below.

What are the benefits of a paving brick patio?

Whether you plan on living in a property for years to come or it’s a property you’re going to rent or sell, you want a patio that’s easy to maintain. Wood can be stained and sealed to keep most of the elements out, but eventually moisture will work its way through and you’ll find yourself replacing boards, restaining the deck, and cleaning out the debris that slips between the cracks each year. Floating decks, especially, are susceptible to having critters use them as shelter during the winter. But stone and brick patios don’t run the same risk. They settle firmly into the ground and just need to be swept clear for maintenance. Reclaimed patio pavers also match the exterior of every home and come in a wide variety of colors so you can find the perfect fit for the house and neighborhood.

How to Build Your Own Paving Brick Patio

The first step of any construction project is to map out the area. Using wooden stakes and string, outline the area you want your patio to be in. This helps you decide the size, the layout, and if you want to slide it over a few feet before you get committed to an area. Once you’ve decided the flat dimensions, decide how high you want the patio to be. If it’s up against the house, take the height difference between the bottom of the back door and the ground into consideration. Also, whether the patio will be next to the house or across the yard, angle it so any incline slopes away from the house to help with drainage. Mark the wooden stakes at both the current ground level and the proposed height of your patio (just in case the stakes shift or sink) and then adjust the string so it falls across the marks on each stake and gives you a working guide.

Then it’s time to start digging. Most patios will need to be about five inches thick, with four inches of base material for the paving bricks, which are usually one inch thick, to lay on. So take that into consideration while digging: if the highest point on the patio will be two inches above the current ground, you will need to dig three inches deep. As you’re digging, measure the depth at both the high and low points by measuring it against the string’s line.

Pour in paver base so you have a four-inch deep layer, using a rake to spread it evenly and a compactor to pack it tight. This base will be supporting the stones and needs to stand up to rain and erosion, so compacting tightly is crucial. After your first round of compacting it, the depth may decrease, so add even more so you get a finished layer of four inches. On top of the base, add a level layer of paver sand. Most DIY experts recommend creating horizontal tracks across the surface of the base with PVC pipes or electrical conduits to create smaller sections to work in. Lay out the pipes in a parallel fashion to create a row and pour in the sand; then push a two by four piece of wood down the length of the row, making sure the edges stay on top of the pipes, so you push the sand into a level layer. Do this across the surface of the patio area, and make sure the sand is level but not compact.

The next step is laying out the reclaimed patio pavers. Start in a corner of the patio and work your way outwards in the pattern of your choice. As you’re placing the stones, be sure to put them firmly down without dragging them but also don’t stamp a stone into position.
Add an edge to your patio with your remaining paving bricks. Not only does this give your patio a finished look, it helps hold the bricks and base into place. Because the edge is keeping the bricks together, make sure they stay in place by nailing them in. The last step to finishing your paving brick patio is adding two layers of paver sand: spread the first layer and push the sand into the gaps between the bricks with a broom. Then brush a second layer in place to fill any remaining gaps.

Paver brick patios are built to last and are a great DIY project to add sellability to any backyard. Go to Gavin’s Historical Brick to find historical reclaimed patio pavers that match your home’s design and add even more appeal to your home’s new feature.