How to Lay a Brick Walkway

Brick Walkway

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Overview
  • Working Time: 2 - 3 days
  • Yield: Walkway 10 feet long by 28 inches wide
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $600 to $750

A beautiful brick walkway is a perfect way to say welcome to visitors and residents alike. This simple brick walkway imparts a classic look—yet it's so easy to make, requiring simple tools and just a few types of building materials.

Basics of a Brick Walkway

Brick walkways are mainly composed of three elements: gravel, sand, and bricks. Layering these elements provides stability and promotes water drainage.

  • Gravel: About 3 to 4 inches of gravel at the bottom is smoothed and tamped down to create a base.
  • Sand: About 2 inches of sand on top of the gravel is screeded flat to help the bricks rest flat and level.
  • Bricks: Bricks are laid on top of the sand. After the bricks are down, sand is swept over them to hold them in place.

What a Brick Walkway Costs

The cost of standard 4-inch by 8-inch by 2-inch red brick varies by area. Expect to pay from $0.35 to $1 per red brick. Textured brick-sized concrete pavers that look like stone cost from $1 to $3 per brick.

The total cost of brick for this project is about $150 to $200. Purchasing brick by the pallet saves money and limits the number of deliveries.

Bagged gravel by the pallet for this project will cost about $350 to $450 for 10 cubic feet. Ten cubic feet of bagged sand will cost $50 to $100.

Determine How Many Bricks You Need

  1. Brick Size: Calculate the square footage of each brick. One 4-inch by 8-inch brick is 0.22 square feet.
  2. Walkway Size: Calculate the square footage of the area (the walkway) to be covered.
  3. Number of Bricks: Divide the second number (walkway) by the first number (brick size).
  4. Wastage: Calculate 10 percent of the number of bricks and round it up.
  5. Total Number of Bricks: Add number of bricks and wastage.

Codes and Regulations

Check with your local permitting office for any permit or building code requirements for your brick walkway. Since digging is involved, call your local utilities locating service to have the site marked for critical lines such as electrical wires or plumbing pipes.

When and Where to Lay a Brick Walkway

Building the brick walkway in warmer seasons is always more comfortable, but you can build it at any time of the year, as long as the ground is not frozen.

If possible, avoid laying the brick walkway over tree root systems, as they will eventually cause the walkway to move. Sunny areas are best. In shaded areas, moss, mildew, and fungus can develop on the bricks.

Safety Considerations

This project does not require you to cut bricks. But if you decide to lay the bricks at a diagonal, you will need to cut bricks. Whenever cutting bricks, be sure to wear hearing, breathing, and eye protection.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Flat shovel
  • Handsaw
  • Tamper
  • Electric miter saw or circular saw
  • Push broom
  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Mallet
  • Stakes and string
  • Bubble level

Materials

  • 150 bricks
  • Gravel
  • Sand or polymeric sand
  • 2 two-by-eights, each 10-foot pressure-treated ground-contact
  • Scrap two-by-fours

Instructions

  1. Lay out Walkway

    Hammer stakes in the ground and run string on each side of the intended walkway. Add 2 to 3 inches to the width to make room for the wood edging.

  2. Dig out Soil

    With the flat shovel, dig out the walkway area. Dig down about 7 1/2 inches.

  3. Install Edging

    Cut the scrap two-by-fours into eight sharpened stakes with the electric miter saw or circular saw. Set the two-by-eights on edge along the sides of the dug-out area. Add four stakes per side. Be sure to keep the stakes on the outside of the walkway. Screw the edging into the stakes.

  4. Add Gravel Fill

    Add 2 inches of gravel fill. Lightly water it down with the garden hose. Tamp it down. Then add 2 more inches of gravel, water the gravel, and tamp it again.

  5. Add Sand

    Cut a scrap piece of two-by-four to 28 inches. Add sand on top of the gravel, spreading it out into the entire area. Use the two-by-four as a screed to spread the sand flat. Keep adding sand until it is 2 inches from the top of the edging. Screed again.

  6. Lay Brick Edging

    Lay a row of bricks lengthwise on each side, paralleling the edging. Tap down as needed with the mallet to level them with the top of the edging.

  7. Lay Brick Field

    Add bricks in the center field area. Lay the bricks at a 90-degree angle to each other in a basketweave brick pattern. Frequently check for level with the bubble level. Tap bricks with the mallet to seat them into the sand.

  8. Fill Joints With Sand

    Scatter sand over the brick walkway and sweep it into the joints with the push broom. Polymeric sand may also be used, if desired.