Laying Paver Bricks

Brick pavers make for attractive patios and walkways.

Patios made from brick pavers are attractive and relatively easy to construct. With basic do-it-yourself skills and a little instruction, almost any homeowner can complete a project using brick pavers.

Design and Planning

Select the area for the patio and mark its perimeter. A flat area with no plants, trees, or other obstacles makes for the easiest installation. Get measurements of the planned length of the sides to use for both the design and to determine the quantities of materials you will need. Draw the patio plan to scale on a piece of graph paper and decide upon the brick paver style(s) and colours you will use and the pattern in which you will lay them.

Materials and Manpower

Calculate the quantities of materials you will need based on the square footage of the patio. You will need a four-inch base of finely crushed gravel, a one-inch layer of masonry sand, edge restraints of a quantity that will extend the total length of all the sides of the patio, and the brick pavers. For tools, you will need picks, shovels, rakes, a hand tamper or heavy duty plate compactor, a five-foot piece of 2x4 lumber, two pieces of six-foot-long one-inch PVC pipe, and brooms. Plan both the day(s) for the work and the delivery or pickup of the patio materials and tools based on when you will have helpers available.

Prepare the Base

Screeding a sand base.

Excavate the area for the patio down to a depth of five inches, plus the depth of the brick pavers you will be using. Compact the soil firmly to prevent any settling of the patio later. Stake the edge restraints in place all along the perimeter. Add the four-inch layer of crushed gravel and rake it level. Select a corner with a 90-degree angle to start in, and lay out the PVC pipes about four feet apart and parallel. Spread a layer of sand a little deeper than one inch in the area between the pipes. Grasp the 2x4 by its edges, rest it on one end of each pipe, and pull it towards you to screed the sand and create a one-inch deep, smooth sand base.

Lay the Brick Pavers

Go back to the starting corner, take the first paver, and press it firmly against both edge restraints, about an inch or two above the sand. While maintaining pressure against the edge restraints, lower the paver onto the sand. Repeat this process with succeeding pavers, using either the next paver or edge restraints to press against. When you have completed laying pavers on the screeded sand area, move the pipes, make another screeded sand area, and lay more pavers in the same way until you have laid the entire patio. To finish your patio, add a 1/4-inch layer of sand over all the pavers and sweep it back and forth with the brooms, working it into the cracks between the bricks and setting them in place.

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