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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Bricks

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter L and the category of Informational

Here is one project most homeowners would never attempt on their own but in fact with a little patience and a lot of hard work it can be done.  Everywhere you look you see these marvelous patios and sidewalks and you wish you could have the same but no way are you going to pay someone to do it.  I’m talking about…
Laying Pavers

Here are a few pics of the last pavers I laid professionally

I spent the better part of my young working career in the landscape industry.  For many folks, they relate that to mowing the grass.  I actually built landscapes.  Everything from simple planting beds to elaborate waterfalls and Koi ponds.

I was known as the boulder guy.  I had a knack for building retention walls made from boulders.  Small rocks to giant 1 ton boulders that had to be placed using machinery.  I also built so many brick paver patios and walkways that I lost count.

Brick pavers are not too expensive when installed yourself.  Prices range from .99 cents per sq. ft. all the way to $10 per sq. ft.  It depends on what you want.  For this example, I will use the standard 4”x8” paver brick.  They are available at local landscape and nursery yards as well as all of the big box stores which is where I bought mine on sale.

The biggest part of laying brick is getting the excavation done correctly.  In our northern climate, where the ground freezes, we need at least 6” of gravel and 1” of sand under the pavers to keep them from heaving from frost and to also let them drain properly.

For this instance I excavated 7” deep plus the width of the brick, so 9” total.  I used a hand tamp, purchased at the hardware store for $20.  If you’re doing a larger area I recommend renting a mechanical tamp or plate compactor.

Fill your excavation with gravel.  Setting up strings helps to get the right amount of gravel in place.  Compact the gravel, filling and tamping where necessary.  When you're done tamping it should be almost as hard as concrete.  Then I lay lengths of pipe on top of the gravel and level them and pitch them accordingly.  A 4’ level works well for this.  Fill in between the pipes with an inch or so of sand, tamp and screed it with a 2x4.  This gives you a level and smooth surface for your bricks.
Laying the bricks is the easy part.  Pick a pattern and start with the longest line or whatever structure you are paving against.  For cutting, you can rent a wet saw at the local rental place. 

Here is the link to the paving project I did at my house.


  1. Nothing looks nicer than a well-done paver walkway - or even driveway. These are excellent instructions!

  2. This is really interesting. I've been thinking about laying pavers this summer.
    I just hope my neighbor, Melissa Pavers, goes along with my idea.

  3. Wow, that is fine workmanship!! I like the way it looks an may have to try it for our landscaping!!

  4. We got some paving stones to edge our rock garden. All the rocks, we have found ourselves, and we still have a few more areas to fill in. I like the idea of doing more landscaping. Maybe in the future.

  5. That looks really neat. With jobs like that it's good to get the experts in so you know it's been done properly and so should last.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

  6. I actually need some work like this done at my place. I have some ideas now, thanks. :)

  7. Wow. I think I'll just hire you instead.

  8. Those pavers you showed the pictures of were interesting; does seem like a lot of work and detail in making them. It is interesting here since there are so many boulders at different places how houses are built around boulders and on hills. Not sure I woud like living in something like that.



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