Backyard Makeover - How to Build a Brick Patio Circle

6 Materials
3 Months

Our back garden was in dire need of a similar amount of attention to what the house has received recently, so this is a little story about how I set about creating a patio area that was fitting of the house; enjoy.

This is how things started out - essentially a dumping ground!It was a mixture of turf, hardcore and concrete (with a semi destroyed brick BBQ area!)

And this was the plan....Oh yeah, and the idea was to do it all with no hired help!


I wanted to keep some of the turf for re-laying at a later date so I used a de-turfing machine to roll it up.

Dig out the hardcore and concrete

There was approximately 30 tonnes that I had to dig out to get the correct levels ready for the patio.

Level out and dig footings for retaining walls

The grass needed small retaining walls to stop it falling in on the patio so I next began to dig footings/foundations for these.

Pour concrete for footings

I used shuttering (planks of wood held in place by stakes) to make sure the footings would be the right depth once poured (approx 250mm).

Lay geo-textile matting down

I used this thin, permeable matting as it stops the 'fines' from the hardcore layer from mixing with the clay/soil below and sagging. In some scenarios it wouldn't be necessary but I didn't want to risk any areas of dipping in the patio.

Spread 100mm thick layer of "Type 1"

Type 1 is a mixture of stones (up to 40mm) and 'fines' (dust) which binds together when compacted to create a very hard dense surface. This is then whacked down and levelled using a mechanical whacker plate.

Build the retaining walls

I hired a bricky to build the retaining walls - as my bricklaying is a bit.... agricultural!

Ready to start laying the brick patio

First job was to measure the centre of the circle and then mark it out.

Set out the outer part fo the brick circle

The outer bricks are laid in a cement mix so that they are rigid and cannot move. These will hold in and retain the inner bricks which will just be laid on sand.

"Haunching" the cement up the side of the bricks

I smoothed the cement on the outer edges to half way up the brick, to create a slope. This gives the bricks extra stability from being pushed outwards.

Set the central cross in cement

My design split the circle into quarters so I set the central cross in cement too so that I could use this as a datum to make sure the brick infilled parts were all the same height with no sagging.

Whack down and screed sharp sand

Added approx 35-50mm of sharp sand tot he sector and made sure it was well compacted. I then used a straight edge to screed off the excess sand ensuring that the level was accurate to received the brick paving. The intention is to leave lay the brick approx 2-3mm proud of the cemented cross so that it can be whacked down to the level height.

Lay bricks & fix central pole for marking curve

After I'd laid the bricks in a herringbone pattern, I drilled a rod into the centre then attached this pole over the top so that I could use it to precisely mark where the curve needed to be for the next cuts.

Score along the top of each brick

Using a mini angle grinder I scored each brick along the mark I'd made. I then carefully trimmed each brick to shape. It would disturb the screened sand layer below too much if I tried to just use a large grinder to cut down from above.

Set inner edging bricks in cement

This inner curve of bricks is to retain and hold everything in place so I lay it in the same way as the outer edging. Beer is obligatory.

Admire the pattern taking shape

And then curse the fact you've still got another three quarters to do!

Repeat previous steps for the remaining sectors
Have another beer

Pass out due to exhaustion.

Finish the remainder of the patio area

I plan to use Cotswold (pale yellow) chippings for the areas around the circle - I just haven't got round to that yet!

Check out my other patio updates and house project on Instagram

Hope this was useful. I've documented most of my 3 year restoration of my half 15th Century, half Georgian home on my Instagram account: Sympathetic_restoration I'll be putting more up here soon too.

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • SusZanne SusZanne on Aug 03, 2020

    Where did you get the awning cover? Also too many videos with ads, skipped over them..a beautiful project.

  • Rose Rose on Aug 04, 2020

    how do you get into the garage?

  • Sara Sara on Aug 09, 2020

    THAT IS much labor and hard work, turned out great!!


Join the conversation

2 of 85 comments
  • Sally Bradley Zubyk Sally Bradley Zubyk on Jun 01, 2021

    This is absolutely stunning. You have an amazing talent and very high skill level. It is an awesome job and I love it! Congratulations!

  • Rich Rich on Jun 02, 2021

    Ahh thanks very much. I ought to get round to posting the rest of this that I’ve done.