Basic Brick Path

With bricks you can create almost any shape of walkway you want, from a straight and narrow formal walk to a meandering path. In addition, the options in brick patterns offer design versatility. Bricks set in sand are less stable than those set in concrete, but the gentle undulations of a well-worn brick path are part of the charm of this traditional landscaping material.

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Before You Start:

Calculate the total area of the path. Tell your material supplier what patterns you’ll use (see Related Links, left), so material can be estimated accurately. Plan on making the path at least 36 inches wide so two people can walk comfortably side by side. Lay out the path, using the hardboard form to shape the curves. (Position one form on one side of the walk only. The other form will be positioned once most of the brick is in place.) Gather together the special tools needed for this project: a carpenter’s level, measuring tape, shovels, a rake for smoothing the sand, a hand tamper, goggles and gloves, a brickset, and a baby sledge.

What You Need:

  • 4-inch-wide 1/4-inch hardboard strips
  • 2x2x12-inch stakes
  • Coarse sand
  • SW (severe weather) bricks
  • Weed barrier: PVC sheeting or weed-block fabric
  • 1-inch deck screws

Step 1.

1. Prepare the base and edging. Excavate for the walkway by digging 5 inches down and at least 4 inches wider than the finished path. Edging with upright bricks requires a trench along each side of the path 1 inch deeper than the brick length. Pound in 2×2 stakes, level the hardboard, and fasten it to the stakes with 1-inch deck screws, adding wood shims where needed to even the hardboard form. Install the edging bricks along one side of the path (you will add the other side later). Use sand to bring them up to the desired level. When the edging is complete, smooth the bottom of the excavation and lay down weed barrier. Add enough sand so the bricks can be set even with the edging bricks. Rake and tamp the sand.

Step 2.

2. Fill in and finish. Using the edging bricks as a guide, level each brick by filling in with a splash of sand or tapping the brick with a rubber mallet. Lay the path with a slight crown in the center. Once you’ve completed the full width of the path, add the second edging. Finally, sweep sand between the brick and moisten. Fill, sweep, and moisten three times, then remove the forms and backfill along the walk.