Brick walkways are beautiful additions to any lawn or landscape. They can increase your home’s overall value and add a visual appeal that will attract buyers should you ever decide to sell. Done right, brick walkways can add a source of pride to your home. Done poorly, however, your walkway will be more of an eyesore than an accent, and could even create a safety hazard. It is important to be sure you know what you are doing before you begin.
Preparing the Ground for a Brick Walkway
First thing’s first, so decide on the location of your new landscaping addition. Almost any location can be made into a walkway, but keep in mind you will invest more time into areas that are more hilly or rocky. When you have found your location, measure out the area you want to brick and stake it off, making sure to allow for edging material.
The foundation of your walkway is vital to its long term functionality and will consist of 2 layers. You will need to excavate to a depth of at least 6 inches plus the thickness of your bricks. This can be done by hand with a flat shovel if the area is small, but consider renting a mini-excavator for larger areas. When you have moved the earth, pack down the area tightly. Apply a 4 inch layer of gravel or other crushed stone followed by a 2 inch layer of course sand, dampened slightly. Pack these down tightly as well for a stable starting point.
Forming Your Brick Walkway
Place the edging material of your choice, be it plastic, steel, or wood, into the outline of your walkway. Lay a few of your brick pavers down loosely to be sure you like the look and if so, go ahead and anchor the edging. Make sure your sand base is level and begin installing your brick pavers. They should fit snugly together with no more than 1/8 of an inch between them. You may need to cut a few to fit within your outline after you have installed as many whole bricks as possible. All that is left from there is to apply more sand to fill any gaps and sweep off the excess.
A Different Approach to Building Your Brick Walkway
If the thought of adding sand and having to clean it off so often makes you cringe, you may want to use concrete instead. The basic process is the same, but things get a little more complicated when it comes to installing the bricks. Concrete does dry to the point of not being pliable relatively quickly, so careful planning would be wise. If you do not have any experience working with concrete, consider hiring a professional or at the very least enlisting the help of a few people to get the job done quickly. Make sure everyone knows what their job is before you begin because one the concrete is mixed the timer is on. The end result, however, may be worth a little extra work.
Maintaining Your Brick Walkway
From time to time you may find that some of your sand has washed away. You will want to apply more if this happens. A fine mist of water will help the sand settle in place and stay there longer. If you like, apply a thin layer of decorative pebbles on top of the sand to discourage erosion. Aside from this, sweep your brick walkway often, remove any weeds promptly, and keep the sides neatly trimmed. You should enjoy your walkway for many years into the future.