How to Build a Brick Sidewalk

What You'll Need
Measuring Tape
Wooden Stakes
Nylon String
Hoe and Shovel
Working gloves
Soil Fumigant
2x4 Wood plank
Plate Compactor
Fine-Grit Sand

A brick sidewalk adds a rustic, enduring character to your home. Brick sidewalks last longer than concrete sidewalks and brick sidewalks are easy to maintain. Below are the materials that you will need along with the steps on how to build a brick sidewalk.

Step 1: Calculate the Number of Bricks you will Need

With a measuring tape, measure the length and width of your sidewalk where you want to lay bricks. To come up with the number of bricks multiple the length and the width of your sidewalk and then multiply that result to five. Follow the equation below.

(Width x Length) x 5 = Number of Bricks

Step 2: Stake and Excavate

Stake the area around the sidewalk where you want to lay bricks and tie a nylon string to each stake to serve as your perimeter guide. Using a hoe and shovel, excavate the area within the perimeter guide to a depth relative to the height of your bricks. Add 2 inches for the sand which will serve as a base for your sidewalk. Use the following equation below to determine the excavation depth.

Brick Height + 2 Inches = Excavation Depth   

Start excavating at the edges of your perimeter guide and work your way towards the center of the perimeter. Wear a pair of working gloves when working with the hoe and the shovel.

Step 3: Install the Edging

Installing an edging at the perimeter of your excavated area will make sure that the perimeter edges will not wobble or come lose. You can install a bender board, a steel edging or a cement footer. Make sure that the edging has the same width with the bricks that you will be using.

Step 4: Treat the Excavated Perimeter

After installing the edging, treat the excavated perimeter with a soil fumigant that you purchase at your local home improvement depot. The soil fumigant will prevent grass and weeds from growing beneath your brick sidewalk which is one of the major causes of brick sidewalk damage. If you do not want to use a soil fumigant, you can protect your brick sidewalk from weed growth by draping the entire excavated area with landscape fabric.

Step 5: Fill the Excavated Area with Sand

Fill the entire excavated area with sand an inch deep and level the sand with a plate compactor. Drag a piece of 2x4 wood plank across the surface of the compacted sand for a smoother sand surface. With a garden hose, lightly dampen the compacted sand and use the plate compactor to flatten the area once more. Add another inch of sand to the excavated area. Level it with the compactor and smooth the sand surface using the 2x4 wood plank.

Step 6: Lay the Bricks

Using a string tied to a wooden stake as a guide, lay the bricks in the now compacted sand. Begin at the leading edge and lay full-lengths brick and half-length bricks alternately. Do not drag the brick on the sand to maintain the level of the sand surface, instead drop the brick straight into its position. Once you are done laying all the bricks, fill the newly bricked sidewalk with fine-grit sand. The fine grit sand will fill the gaps between the bricks which will keep the bricks firmly in place. Remove the excess sand on top of the bricks using a broom.