A Guide to Basic Brick Patterns for Patios and Paths


The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Bricks have been made for thousands of years, and formal brick patterns have been around for almost as long. As uniform modular units, bricks can be arranged in all sorts of ways and still come out with straight, tidy edges, which is what most people want when paving a brick patio or walkway.

Brick patterns, also called bonds or bond patterns, aren't just for looks; they also help tie the bricks together to keep them from shifting. This is especially important for wall construction but also comes into play with paving. For DIYers, appearance may be the top consideration, but just as important is ease of installation. Patterns that require fewer cut bricks can go down much more quickly and with less waste than complex bonds.

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    herringbone pattern

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The herringbone pattern has a mesmerizing look but could not be simpler. The bricks are merely laid at 90-degree angles to one another in a zig-zag pattern. This pattern requires no cuts in the field area, but if you want straight edges, you have to cut every outer brick at a 45-degree angle.

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    pinwheel design

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The pinwheel bond will require some brick-cutting skills, but it is an interesting and great-looking pattern. As you can see, it is a geometric representation of a basic pinwheel. At the center of each pinwheel shape is a half brick, which means you have to make at least one cut for every two pinwheels.

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    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The basketweave brick pattern is one of the simplest bonds to work with, but its visual effect is magical—it looks like a woven basket! This is a popular choice for patios due to its decorative value and ease of installation. You can also mix things up by running the paving diagonally.

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    grid design

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The grid brick pattern consists of square sections brick set into a grid-like frame of wood timbers or other material. The basketweave pattern is a classic choice for this treatment, but other straight-edged patterns also work well, such as jack-on-jack and even pinwheel.

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    half basket weave

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The half-basketweave brick pattern is laid with two horizontal bricks butted against a single vertical brick. The relative positions of the three bricks in each grouping alternates from row to row. The visual effect is similar to that of the basic basketweave but slightly more complex.

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    jack on jack design

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The jack-on-jack brick pattern, also called stacked bond, is nothing more than bricks laid in perfectly aligned rows. The effect couldn't be more orderly and geometric. This pattern is more commonly used in wall construction than in outdoor paving. Wall brick is always mortared, so the bricks do not shift. In paving, any movement in the brick distorts the neat lines of the pattern. However, jack-on-jack works well for grid patterns or edged paths because the grid or edging keeps the brick from shifting.

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    Running Bond

    running bond

    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    Also called stretcher bond, the running bond is perhaps the most classic brick pattern for walls. It's an equally good choice for paving, but it requires more cuts than some of the other patterns. The simplest version of running bond places one brick over two below—known as a 1-over-2 pattern—so that each joint between neighboring bricks falls over the center of the brick below. This can also be varied to create offset joints, and this staggered pattern can even vary from row to row, if desired.

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    Illustration: The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

    The whorled brick pattern is just one example of a very complex—and very time-consuming—brick pattern. It involves tricky, precise cuts on more than half of the bricks. The effect of complex patterns like this can be stunning, but the difficulty of installation makes it unsuitable for DIYers. Often, this highly decorative pattern is used as a centerpiece within a larger area made with a less complex pattern.