Building a Raised Brick Patio

What You'll Need
Brick pavers
Landscaping fabric
Carpenter's level
Rake Shovel
Tape measure or any measuring tool
Line level
Interlocking retaining wall bricks
Heavy duty plate compactor
gravel (finely crushed)
Coarse paver sand
Rubber mallet
2 pieces lumber (2x4x10 inches)

A raised brick patio can significantly enhance the appearance of your outdoor space. Building brick patios, however, may require you to spend hundreds of dollars on labor costs and materials, particularly when you hire a contractor to do the job. There is a way, though, to still save money and get the kind of brick patio you want in your outdoors and that is to do the job yourself. Building a raised brick patio may seem like such a daunting task, but it is actually as easy as building level patios. You only need to make a retaining wall and the rest of the process will be a breeze.

Step 1: Determine the Height of Your Patio

Decide how high you want your raised patio to be. When it comes to the height of raised patios, the sky is the limit but usually they are raised to the level of the house floor from which they are often accessed. Once you have determined the height, you will then be able to pinpoint how many rows of bricks are needed to build your raised brick patio.

Step 2: Mark the Area

Get a tape measure and mark the area for the patio. Hammer stakes on the ground so you will know the demarcation line of your patio floor. Also use a string and a carpenter's level to help you mark the desired height of the patio.

Step 3: Dig a Trench 

Dig a trench on the ground for the footings of your patio retaining wall. Follow the lines of the stakes when digging.  Ensure that the trench is deep enough to support your entire patio retaining wall. The base and support of the retaining wall will be buried here and thus, it should be at a depth that is strong enough to provide stability to the wall.

Step 4: Level and Compact the Trench Bottom

Level the bottom of the trench using a level and a piece of wood or lumber. Make it as firm and compact as possible.

Step 5: Install Waterproof Lining

Place a landscaping fabric on the trench, spreading it over on the area of the patio. Pour concrete on the trench. Level and let dry. Once it has dried out, pour self-leveling cement on top of it. Leave to thoroughly dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6: Assemble the Retaining Wall

Build the retaining wall on the dried concrete by laying up rows of bricks. Make sure that all lines are straight and leveled by following the guides you have created in Step 2. Fold the fabric that you have spread on the patio area over the retaining wall. Make sure to add gravel between it and the back of the brick. Depending on your desired patio height, you can add more bricks as needed.

Step 6: Prepare the Patio Base

Dig the surface of the patio area and level the dirt using a rake. Make the surface as compact as possible afterwards. For compacting the soil, a heavy duty plate compactor may be used. Cover with a landscaping fabric or waterproof membrane and put finely crushed gravel and coarse paver sand. Screed using the two pieces of lumber and make it level.

Step 7: Lay the Brick Pavers

Add another layer of sand to the patio area and level again. Lay the first brick paver close to the retaining wall, tapping it down with a rubber mallet. Make sure that is placed horizontally on the sand. Lay the other brick pavers one at a time using the first paver as guide. Be sure to carefully place the pavers and refrain from disturbing the leveled sand on which the pavers are placed. Remember to tap each paver with a rubber mallet to keep them snugly in place. Continue repeating each step until all pavers are put in place.

Step 8: Add Finishing Touches

Pour sand onto the pavers that you have put in place. Make a pass over them with a plate compactor until all gaps between the pavers are filled with sand. Remove excess sand by sweeping the area with a broom.

Some pavers may need to be cut during installation to make them fit in some edges of the patio, particularly those that are to be placed against the retaining wall. In these cases, you may need a wet saw that has a diamond blade. Take extra care when cutting pavers and always wear eye protection.