How to Build a Brick Path

Updated February 21, 2017

A brick path through the yard adds charm and ambience to the home. Brick paths can be a straight line, or meander around landscaping with sweeping curves. Building a brick path is labour-intensive and requires substantial planning to do it correctly. Taking shortcuts ensures that sooner or later the brick path will begin to fall apart and no longer be safe to walk on. Having several people to assist will make the building project go by much faster and easier.

Decide on the direction of the path. Avoid areas too close to trees because of root damage while digging.

Lay a garden hose along the path if it has curves. Spray paint alongside the hose to provide a guide for the digging.

Lay some of the bricks side by side on the lawn to determine how many rows you need to create a path that is approximately 24 inches. Take half the bricks used in the test and cut them in half lengthwise using a carbide-tipped blade in a circular saw. Set these bricks aside for starting and ending your path.

Dig a trench along the path that is at least 26 inches wide and the depth of the brick plus another 2 inches. Use a flat-blade shovel to ensure the sides of the trench are flat.

Measure the depth of the trench with a measuring rod every foot while you dig to ensure that it remains a consistent depth as the contour of the yard changes.

Hand tamp the soil the length of the trench to develop a consistent compactness.

Lay landscaping fabric along the bottom and edges of the path to create a wrapping for the sand and bricks. There should be about 3 inches of extra fabric on each side.

Fill the bottom 2 inches of the trench with construction sand and level by dragging a 2-by-4 stud along the sand. A brick worked into the sand should be about 1/8 inch above the surface of the soil. The brick will settle to the soil level after a few weeks.

Start at the beginning of the path and lay the first row of bricks, seating each brick firmly into the sand. Every other brick should be a half brick, with the cut edge facing to the rear. Use a straight edge to ensure that they are properly aligned at the rear and top edge. A very small mistake here will grow to a large problem later.

Continue to lay the rest of the bricks following the trench. Check each row for a straight edge along the front and top. Use the remaining half-bricks to finish the last row.

Pull the excess landscaping fabric tightly over the top of the bricks and fill in with soil between it and edge of the trench on both sides. Tamp the soil down to ensure a snug fit.

Scatter 1/4 inch of fine sand along the path. Sweep the sand along the length of the bricks to fill in any cracks or separations.

Cut away the excess landscaping fabric on each side of the path.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Spray paint
  • Circular saw with carbide blade
  • Flat-bladed shovel
  • Measuring stick
  • Hand tamper
  • Landscape fabric
  • Construction sand
  • 2-by-4 inch wood stud cut to the width of the trench
  • Fine sand
  • Broom
  • Knife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.