Well, mostly.

I feel like I start every post like that. The patio itself is done, it’s just the surrounding areas that still need work.

Where we last left off, I had laid the gravel and tamped everything down. It was brutal, but fortunately I had the help of my friend Alex (who totally earned her right to sit on the future patio).  Next, it was time for the sand.  I’d watched several videos about “screeding” sand, but in the end I threw out most of the rules and just did my own thing (does this surprise you?). I found that my bricks were way too irregular and my area was too large for me to screed everything all nicely and then try to lay bricks without messing up the sand in areas where I wasn’t working. So I ended up screeding as I went, with 2 long 1″ PVC pipes via this method.

Then, it was ready for the bricks. I had my heart set on a 2 brick wide running bond border with a herringbone center. But when I started laying it out to get a feel for it, I realized that the bricks were too irregular for it to work out long term.

So, I changed my plans and just did runningbond throughout, with a border.  I worked in areas, rather than completing the whole border and going back to fill in. I used a level to make sure the patio was matching my slope (laid out by my diagonal twine, described here). Using a rubber mallet, I tapped each brick into place.

Moving along…

As I went, I left holes for bricks that would need to be cut to fit.

I kept pressing on! Then it was time to fill in all the holes. I’ve never been so happy for my husband to volunteer his help! He started with a chisel, but then we decided to try the angle grinder with a masonry blade.

At this point the pictures get scarce because we were just trying to get everything done. I started sweeping sand as Mike was finishing up the cutting. We decided to use regular paver sand to fill the gaps instead of polymeric sand. I figured that the patio is bound on all but 1 1/2 sides, and if we noticed things were moving we could always go back with the polymeric sand. So far it’s been great and we’re still in the process of sweeping sand over it (every time it rains, the sand settles).

The difference in the sand “grout” color is just because I hosed down all the gravel dust from the driveway onto the patio, but I’m still planning to sweep 2 more bags of sand on the patio over the next couple weeks.

Check out that gorgeousness! This brick actually came from Historic Main Street in a neighboring town called Hendersonville which makes it about 100 years old!

I LOVE the end result! We don’t have any real furniture yet, so we just moved the Adirondack chair from the front porch and the bistro set from the deck off the master bedroom.

I also took our old standalone fire-pit and built a brick enclosure for it. I think it looks kinda neat, but it’s certainly not permanent in case we want to move it or get rid of it entirely.

Is the patio perfect? Of course not! If you want a perfect patio, you’ll have to use new pavers. But the antique brick paired with the runningbond pattern makes it look like it’s been there forever!

The next step is to start plans for the surrounding areas, including sprucing up the mulched bank, adding a flower bed to the side of the house, and making some outdoor furniture.

So, what do you think?

16 Responses

  1. Molly

    We’re just beginning a patio very similar to yours using reclaimed brick from an old factory. Seeing your pictures gives me hope!

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  3. Jane

    Hiya, thank you for your brillliant post – I have been looking for how to lay a brick patio – and even been advised it is not really a goer – I wondered if you had time to give me a quick reply to the advice that you have to seal the bricks? With some kind of PVA – and also, if you have not just been walking sand and dust into the house forever – does the sand take care of that? You did it a year ago, and I just wondered how it is fairing now? Do you know what kind of brick you used – as I am also finding out there are rather a lot :-) Thank you

    • rachaelevans

      Jane- The bricks I used are antique bricks from a neighboring town’s main street (it was being re-done), so I didn’t seal or do anything to them before using to preserve the patina. I wouldn’t think you’d need to seal bricks at all though for patio use, laid in a gravel and sand base. Some bricks are not meant for paving though, just check the specifications. The ones at the big box hardware stores are sometimes stained concrete, and not actually clay brick. I was very particular about using the antique brick, if I wasn’t able to find it I would have scrapped the whole project. I definitely prefer the look to anything modern.

      It’s really just like any other paver patio, as far as dust and dirt goes I suppose. We sweep it occasionally, but it’s pretty low maintenance. The patio sloped for drainage, so whenever the rain comes it sort of washes away most debris. Aside from pulling weeds now and then, it’s just as lovely as the day I finished it. Actually, I think it’s better now because I’m getting moss on a good portion of the bricks. My goal was to put in a patio that looked like it had been there all along, and it definitely fits the bill. Good luck with your project if you decide to go ahead with it!

  4. danny

    That brick patio looks amazing! Great job, we’re about to start ours with 100ish year old bricks from the Waxahachi cotton gin.

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