How To Build A Brick Walkway At Home

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Brick walkways offer an easy and picturesque transition from one area to another in the outdoor landscape. Whether you need a path to a patio, easy access to a vegetable garden, or a serpentine path to a hidden meditation spot, a brick walkway is easy to build in a weekend and will remain almost maintenance free. Choose The Best Location

  • A walkway should be of sufficient width to allow two people to walk side-by-side without difficulty.
  • Allow a minimum of 3 to 4 feet for the walkway width.
  • Brick walkways are best built away from the roots of large trees to avoid future damage.
  • Allow at least one and a half feet between the walkway and any major trees or shrubs. This will help minimize the damage to tree roots when digging the foundation.
  • Get started by using a garden hose or thick rope to mark the desired shape.
  • Several pieces of scrap wood, cut to the width needed, can help mark the area for the walkway and keep it consistent.
  • This is the time to experiment with options and locations for the walkway. Once you are satisfied with the shape, a can of chalk spray paint will make it quick and easy to mark the path outline.

Dig & Level The Foundation

  • With the walkway outlined, remove the grass and dig the foundation into the soil at least 6 inches deep and level.
  • Use a spade for digging into, and breaking up, the sod and the dirt. A shovel will work better for removing the broken up pieces.
  • Remove any rocks, sticks, roots and other obstructions from the foundation trench.
  • Line the foundation with landscape fabric.
  • Spread 3 inches of gravel across the bottom of the foundation and firmly tamp the gravel down with a hand tamper or motorized plate compactor.
  • Cover the gravel with a thin layer of masonry sand, allowing enough vertical room for the bricks to be set on top.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Popular Brick Patterns There are many different brick patterns for walkways. Some patterns are simple to position, and some patterns are difficult and time consuming. Several popular patterns include:

  • Running bond
  • One-brick basket weave
  • Two-brick basket weave
  • Three-brick basket weave
  • Herringbone

The brick supplier should have pictures of these patterns. Choose which pattern you prefer. Installing Long Lasting Edging Position and install the plastic edging to keep the walkway stable over time. To properly install the edging, position the first row of bricks across one end of the walkway. Then align the edging to the bricks. Secure the edging every 3 feet with the spikes supplied with the edging. Lay The Bricks Use the first row of bricks as a guide and begin to lay the bricks in a running bond, or whichever pattern you chose.

  • Lay the bricks close together and tap them into position with a rubber mallet.
  • If the walkway pattern requires half-bricks or partial bricks, these can be cut using a motorized masonry saw or brick chisel and mallet.
  • When using a chisel and mallet, it is necessary to have even support under the brick to get en even break. Sand seems to work the best for this to get an even cut on the brick.

Finish With Masonry Sand

  • After the entire walkway is bricked, sweep masonry sand into all joints between the bricks with a push broom and gently mist the walkway with water from a garden hose to set the sand into the brick joints.
  • Back-fill and cover the plastic edging with mulch to help the sod or lawn grow back to the edges of the walkway.

Tools & Materials Needed To Build A Brick Walkway

  • Heavy rope or a garden hose
  • 12-inch landscape spikes
  • Bricks
  • Landscape fabric
  • Masonry sand
  • Chalk spray paint
  • Gravel
  • Plastic edging
  • Hand tamper or plate compactor
  • Shovel and spade
  • Garden hoe
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Scissors
  • Powered brick saw
  • 3-foot level
  • Straightedge
  • Rubber mallet
  • Push broom
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear protection
Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Bill Washburn William "Bill" Washburn has a BA in advertising from the Art Center College of Design and has taught at the University of Southern California and Northrup University. Writing from a well-connected studio in the rural foothills of the west coast, he is a frequent speaker at local art associations and has published numerous articles discussing periods of art history and the fundamentals of drawing and painting. William is a master gardener who grows his own culinary herbs, organic heirloom vegetables and a variety of fruits. He writes frequently about his gardening experiences on his website Pioneer Dad. He is an accomplished advertising writer, fine art painter, and art director with more than 20 years' experience. 

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