Easy Brick Patio for Beginners

Image of a circular brick patio with a medallion inlay in the center.
Beginners should avoid attempting a brick patio design as elaborate as this one. A simple rectangle will be much easier. David Beaulieu

Bricks can be laid in a variety of different patterns. The pattern is strictly for looks, and the brick surface will perform the same regardless of the pattern. For beginners, it makes sense to use a simple pattern that requires little or no cutting of bricks. Perhaps the best option is the basket weave, which is decorative and eye-catching but also very easy to install. And if you size the patio to fit the bricks, you shouldn't have to cut any.

The best bricks to use for this project are paving bricks, or brick pavers. These are about 2 inches thick and have smooth, solid faces to create a nice walking surface. For a basket weave design, which has a checkerboard pattern, you want the widths of two bricks to equal the length of one. Therefore, an ideal size of paver is 4 inches wide by 8 inches long.

Supplies Needed:

  • Tape measure
  • Stakes
  • Hammer
  • Mason's line
  • Shovel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Crushed stone
  • Hand tamp or plate compacter
  • Paving bricks
  • Brick patio edging
  • Landscape fabric
  • Sand
  • 2x4 board
  • Rubber mallet
  • Plywood
  • Broom
  • Garden hose

How to Install a Brick Patio

The easiest way to install a brick paver patio is the sandset method. The bricks are laid on the ground, over a layer of compacted gravel topped by landscape fabric and a smooth layer of sand. After the bricks are laid, you sweep sand into the cracks between the pavers to lock them in place.

  1. Measure and mark a square or rectangular patio area, using stakes and masonry line to represent the borders of the patio. Base the dimensions on the brick paver size, and add space for a brick or other type of border.
  1. Dig out the area to a depth of 8 inches, sloping the soil 1/8 to 1/4 inch per running foot away from the house for drainage. Use a level to check the slope as you work.
  2. Pour crushed stone inside the excavated area to a depth of 4 inches. Tamp the stone thoroughly with a hand tamp or a rented plate compactor. Remove the stakes and string.
  1. Do a test run by laying your brick pattern, to check your measurements. This way, if your initial measurement was off, you can correct it now. Be sure to include the edging in the test-fit.
  2. Install brick or other edging along the perimeter of the patio, following the manufacturer's directions. The edging should fit snugly agains the test-fit bricks. Remove the test-fit bricks, keeping the edging in place.
  3. Lay landscape fabric over the stone, to suppress weeds and separate the stone from the sand layer.
  4. Pour 2 inches of sand over the landscape fabric. Use a long 2x4 as a screed to smooth and level the sand. There should be 2 inch between the top of the sand and the top of the patio edging.
  5. Lay the first bricks, staring in one corner and running along the edging to complete a row. Alternate each pair of bricks to that two are horizontal, then two are vertical, and so on.  Press the bricks gently into the sand, and abut them together as closely as possible. Tap the bricks with a rubber mallet to settle them into the sand, if necessary.
  6. Run a mason's line across the first row, aligned with the leading edges of the bricks. Straighten the bricks as needed.
  7. Install the remaining bricks, one row at a time, moving the mason's line for each row. Tip: Lay a sheet of plywood atop the bricks to kneel on while you work.
  1. Spread sand over the bricks, then sweep across the patio surface with a push broom to work the sand into the cracks. Sweep in multiple directions to reach all cracks, adding sand as you go until the cracks are filled.
  2. Gently spray the patio with a garden hose to settle the sand in the cracks. Spread and sweep more sand into the cracks, and spray again, until the cracks are completely filled and the sand is settled.