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How to Install a Traditional Brick Walkway

Use these step-by-step instructions to install a charming herringbone-pattern brick walk.

More in Outdoors

installing traditional brick walkway
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Clear and Mark the Path

Remove all the existing end pavers. This is a good time to cut back any plants or roots that might get in your way.

When the path is clear of any end pavers, mark the outline of the new path you want with ground marking paint. To achieve a consistent look for the path, measure the desired width and mark the other side as well (Image 1).

Next, the loose rock must be removed. A transfer shovel works great. You can also use a mattock head pick to remove any roots that may have made their way into the path.

The soil that's been turned up from all the digging needs to be tamped (Image 2). Fill in any indentations with extra soil, then tamp the soil again.

Step 2: Lay the Base

To prevent any plant growth from entering the path in the future, we lay down ground cover material over the length and width of the path (Image 1).

Using a rake, spread a paver base of crushed limestone (Image 2). The base should be applied to a depth of 4 to 6" on top of the ground cover material. This will compact down well, providing a firm base for the bricks.

Make sure the base is level. To do this, you'll need a level and a screed (Image 3). A screed is any price of wood or other material you can use to level the loose paver base by running it over the base. Once the paver base is level, use the plate tamper to firmly tamp the base in place.

Insert the metal edging along the sides of the path and secure it with the stakes provided with the edging kit.

Step 3: Apply Sand and Bricks

Apply sand to the path using the backside of a rake. Be sure to not use the tongs of the rake. That will only further disturb the sand and paver base. Using a screed and level, make sure the sand is uniform and then tamp the sand again.

Start laying the bricks as a border around the edge of the path, tapping each one down firmly into the sand with a rubber mallet. Next, start angling bricks into the corner. One by one, lay the interior bricks at an angle (Images 1 and 2), continuing this pattern for the rest of the path.

For spaces that are created in the pattern, you'll need to use a wet saw to cut bricks to fit (Image 3). Wet saws can frequently be rented from home improvement or rental centers.

As you continue around the path, use the screed to make sure the sand remains nice and level before bricks are laid.

When all the bricks have been laid, pour sand over the top, raking it over the entire path. Then, with a broom, sweep it into every crevice (Image 4).

Tips:

  • Wet saws are a great tool for cutting brick, but they're also extremely dangerous if not used properly. Read the owner's manual before using a wet saw.
  • Keep blades sharp, clean and oiled, and inspect blades for cracks.
  • Never wear jewelry or loose clothing, and tie back long hair.
  • Wear hearing protection.
  • Never cut unless you have a clear work area and solid footing. Never use a wet saw on a scaffold.
  • Always lock saws where children cannot get to them.

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