Our son-in-law Keith started building a brick paver patio and asked for a little advice from Neal. We were delighted to help Keith and Emmy a few days with their patio. Keith worked really hard on this project and the results are worth it!
- string and string level
- 4 wooden stakes
- work gloves (optional)
- knee pads (optional)
- string and string level
- 2-5 foot level
- torpedo level
- large rake
- stacking stones from Lowes
- adhesive for brick pavers (and bricks)
- caulk gun for adhesive
- gas-powered vibratory plate compactor (rented from Home Depot)
- brick pavers
- rubber mallet
- brick wash or mortar
- A can-do attitude! 💪
First, determine the size and location of your patio. I suggest drawing out these types of projects. Next, calculate the materials you will need. We suggest adding 10% to compensate for waste. Also, keep in mind the elevation of our patio. For example, if it is higher on one side, you might need more stacking stones for the perimeter wall.
Dig a Trench
First, measure out the patio and drive a wooden stake in each corner of the ground to mark each of the four corners.
Keith used a pick and a shovel to dig a trench where the perimeter of the patio would be. This is where we installed the stacking stones.
Once he dug the trench, we used a string and to determine the height of the patio. We allowed for a 1-inch fall for the rain to roll off. He then wrapped a brick paver around the string to compensate for the height of the brick paver. In other words, when installing the stacking stones, you need to calculate the top of the stone leaving room for the brick paver.
Emmy and I worked on loading up all the excess dirt (from Kieth digging the trench). My Emmy is so precious. 🥰
Install Stacking Stones
Neal started stacking stones on one side. Because of the elevation on this side, it required two to three stones stacked. Notice how we used bricks (same size as the brick pavers Keith ordered) as our guide to ensure we hade the right amount of space between the top of the stacking stones and the concrete porch floor. The brick was about 1/4″ shy of being flush with the porch floor; this allowed for a layer of sand.
And Keith started stacking stones on the other side. This side only required one row (no stacking) of stones.
They used gravel to level each stone as they placed it in the trench. They also used the string as a guide (keep the row straight and level).
Neal used a grinder to cut the stones.
Below you can see the wall taking shape.
We used adhesive between each row of stones. However, they completed each side first (ensure straight and level) before unstacking, gluing, and then restacking.
Notice the pattern of the stone. It is a brick pattern. In other words, the joints don’t line up. Also, notice how they used levels to check themselves along the way. We have a 6-foot level which is handy if you do a lot of renovation or construction projects. Also, notice the wooden stakes and string to keep the stone straight and level.
Below is another picture of the strings that served as guides.
Install landscape fabric under the gravel; this will keep weeds from growing through but allow for drainage.
Keith had ordered the gravel and had it in place. Another option would be to wheelbarrow it after the perimeter stone is in place. Because we already had the gravel in place, it was time to spread it with a rake.
After raking the gravel, Keith rented a gas-powered vibratory plate compactor from Home Depot and used it to pack down the gravel. The gravel fills in the space and yets allows for proper drainage.
Using a rake, spread a thin layer of sand over the gravel.
Install Brick Pavers
Determine the pattern you want to use when installing your brick. In other words, will you use a traditional brick pattern, a herringbone pattern, etc. (google brick patterns and there are many options)? Keith used a basketweave pattern.
Notice that he started adjacent to the porch floor. Also, notice the bricks are at the same level as the porch floor. This a result of good planning and measuring! Go, Keith and Neal!
Keith worked (into the night) in an L shape. He used a rubber mallet to tap each brick in place and a torpedo level to check each brick for levelness after installing.
Here is another view. Notice the brick pattern he used on the perimeter. Also, notice he has a string tied to two brick pavers he can move across each row as a guide.
Keith FINISHED installing the brick pavers! Doesn’t it look great? He then swept sand between the cracks and used sand to fill in around the edges. This picture was taken after it rained and thus the gray stacking stones are wet. You can leave the brick pavers as they are and enjoy your new patio!
Emmy and Keith wanted to give it an aged look so they used a brick wash. This was a little challenging and they had to try a few different things.
Here are a few more pictures from different views.
Keith planted two trees. They plan on having an outdoor fireplace built between these two trees.
This picture is from their porch.
We were proud of Keith for tackling this major DIY project! We know they will enjoy this patio for many years to come!
Let us know if you have any questions or what you think by commenting below.
To see our DIY porch transformation project, click HERE.
Follow Life with Neal and Suz: