What are some tips/tricks for efficiently setting a large brick patio?

My husband and I are planning a 17'x20' brick patio and wish to do it right the first time. (The bricks are reclaimed from streets in our local community.) Any pointers are greatly appreciated!
  3 answers
  • Liza Liza on May 30, 2017
    Make sure you prepare the ground first. I had a contractor put in a large paver patio for me. He excavated about 12"-18", tamped down the soil, added a gravel layer, tamped it down again, and added a sand layer, and tamped that down before he laid the first paver. You can find info online about how to prepare the site. If you don't prepare it properly, you may end up with weeds, drainage problems, and wobbly pavers (bricks). At the end, the contractor spread sand on top of the pavers and worked it into them. My patio is level, and it would take some serious effort -- and at least a crowbar to dislodge any of the pavers.

  • Lydia Weikel Cox Lydia Weikel Cox on May 30, 2017
    I echo Liza's recommendation on preparing the ground below befor setting bricks!!! Previous owners of my former home put in a brick patio in Central Pa., sometime in the 4 years they owned it before I purchased the property. I lived there 15 years and only in the last 2-3 years was there any deterioration, due to heavy roots invading the foundation and sprouting between some bricks. (Note: Trumpet Vine should not be ANYWHERE nearby!!! It is nearly impossible to remove or kill, always popping up from extensive root system, many feet from main plant. Consider habits of surrounding plants carefully.). Also, the sand used for "grout" between bricks is different than play sand for children. It has rougher, sharper edges on the grains, which aid in holding sand in place when installed with moisture and tamping firmly into place. For long term care, use weed killer of choice to keep weed free between bricks (vinegar, salt, or pickling brine of both for organic method works well) and fresh application of gritty sand every few years will keep you enjoying your patio for many years. If in a shaded moist area, bricks may develop algae or moss that can become slippery And leave a crumbly brown "dirt" to be swept away after some dry days. Definitly worth the appeal of brick patio though.

  • Liza Liza on May 30, 2017
    You are welcome. I forgot to mention that the steps may be slightly different if you live somewhere where there is frost heave (I think that is the term) where the ground freezes and thaws and shifts in the process. I live in San Diego, so no worries about frost.