Do not settle for a deck if you need a raised outdoor surface on your property. You can use brick to install a raised patio, unattached or attached to your home, which will create a more rustic and attractive surface than stained or painted decking boards. Raised brick patios are also durable and more resistant to weathering and rotting than wooden decks. Installing a raised brick patio does not require efforts of a professional installation team but can be an easy, do-it-yourself project for the average homeowner.
Excavate a trench around the perimeter of the patio site. You will use this trench as the base for the retaining walls on the outside of the raised patio. Dig the trench down to an overall depth of 6 inches using a spade and tape measure.
Check the entire area inside the trench with a level. Remove additional soil with the spade to create a perfectly level base for the raised patio's retaining walls.
Compact the soil at the bottom of the trench. Slam the broad end of the manual soil tamper against the bottom of the trench repeatedly until all soil at the bottom resists shifting.
Fill the trench with a 2 inch thick layer of gravel. Compact the gravel layer using the same method described in the previous step for compacting the soil.
Mix the ready-mix mortar with water in a wheelbarrow, mixing with a spade. Using the wheelbarrow in this way allows you to pull the mortar with you as you work.
Scoop a trowel full of mortar onto the gravel layer. Cover both ends of the brick with mortar and set the brick into place over the mortar on the gravel. Repeat this step again with each new brick along the bottom layer of the retaining wall. Use a jointer tool and rag to smooth joints and remove mortar from the exterior surface of the retaining walls.
Build up the walls of the raised patio, placing one brick at a time and one layer at a time. Cover the tops of bricks with mortar, as well as both ends, smoothing mortar into joints with the jointer tool.
Set cap bricks into place at the top of the walls using the same methods used previously. Do not apply mortar to the top of the cap bricks. Set the cap blocks into place only when you have built the retaining walls up to the desired height for the raised patio.
Fill the patio area between the retaining walls with gravel. Place the gravel into the space in 2-inch layers, compacting and levelling each layer before applying the next. Leave an open area at the top of the retaining wall that measures 2 inches plus the thickness of the patio stones.
Apply a 2-inch layer of masonry sand on top of the gravel. Smooth the sand to level using the edge of a 2 by 4 inch board.
Set the bricks into place inside the patio, starting in one corner. Apply a thin layer of mortar under each brick and on all sides of the brick except for the top.
Use a level to tap each brick to level before smoothing the mortar into the joints between bricks. Wipe excess mortar away with a rag. Repeat this step until you fill the entire patio surface with brick.
Cut bricks along edges and corners with a brick striking tool or appropriate cutting blade on a circular saw.
Do not use the patio until both the walls and surface have a chance to dry, which should take approximately one week.