How To Build a Stone and Brick Patio for Your Backyard
We'll tell you how to build a beautiful, durable patio from stone and brick.
IntroductionAdd a welcoming feature to your backyard with this attractive, long-lasting brick and stone patio. Our design easily adapts to fit your yard. Choose from a wide variety of stone types and brick styles. The result will be permanent and maintenance-free.
- 4 ft. level
- Brick hammer
- Chalk line
- Garden hose
- Garden rake
- Hearing protection
- Line level
- Mason's string line
- Masonry saw (diamond blade)
- Push broom
- Safety glasses
- Sod cutter
- Tamper (plate compactor)
- Tape measure
- 3/4-in. x 10-ft. black iron pipes (3)
- Brick pavers
- Landscape fabric
- packable Sand
- Wooden stakes
How to Build a Brick Patio Overview
Building a brick and stone patio like ours doesn’t take special skills. The casual, free-form design allows you to relax and be creative rather than worrying about precise cutting and fitting.
It’s a big project, but we’ll tell you how to build a patio. In a nutshell:
- Plan the size.
- Dig a hole about 10 in. deep, and pack a 6-in. layer of gravel to form a flat base that slopes slightly for drainage.
- Set the patio stones and brick in a layer of sand and tamp them down so the surface is even.
- Fill the cracks with sand, tamp again, then landscape around the new patio and you’re done.
The time this project will take you:
This DIY brick patio project isn’t technically difficult, but be prepared to devote a big chunk of time and energy to it. You’ll haul tons of dirt, gravel, stone and brick before you’re done. With a small crew of strong and ambitious helpers, you could finish this project in two or three weekends, but working alone at a leisurely pace, you’ll spend the better part of a summer.
The stones we used:
We assembled our patio from used street pavers that we bought from a brickyard. Individually, the bricks look a little crude, covered with tar and well worn, but the overall effect is perfect. Then we chose tumbled Wisconsin limestone for the border. The tumbling rounds the edges and gives the stone a worn look that complements the rustic appearance of the used pavers.
You may not find the exact materials we used locally; check the stone dealers in your area to see what’s available as you determine how to build a patio to your liking.
Varying costs depending on chosen materials:
This patio costs about as much as a premium-quality wood deck. The cost of patio stones varies widely, though. Get patio paver ideas before you start. Depending on your location, you might spend a lot more or a lot less as you figure out how to build a patio to your style. Our patio cost just over $500.
Project step-by-step (23)
The Character of the Stone Makes This Patio!
Stone varies greatly in color and texture. Visit a number of stone suppliers to see what’s available in your area and to check prices. We chose 3- or 4-in. thick stone intended for building walls, but any relatively flat stone that’s 2 to 4 in. thick will work. Because stone is sold by the ton (we used 5- 1/2 tons), a thinner stone like flagstone would have been more economical, but it wasn’t available in the tumbled finish we wanted. If you use thinner stone, don’t tamp it with the compactor. It will crack. The stone dealer will tell you approximately how many square feet a ton of each type of stone covers. Order at least 15 percent extra to allow more selection when you’re looking for just the right shape.
Concrete pavers are the most economical choice for paving patios. They are available in many sizes and colors. Traditional clay pavers have truer brick color and cost a bit more. Concrete pavers are available at home centers and landscape retailers, but you’ll probably have to find a brickyard to buy clay pavers. You’ll need about 4-1/2 bricks for every square foot, assuming an average sized 4 x 8-in. brick. It’s difficult to figure the exact amount of brick needed for an irregularly shaped patio like this, so order about 15 percent extra.
Plan a strategy for getting the materials to and from your patio location. Sand and gravel will arrive in dump trucks that are too heavy be driven on your driveway or in your yard without damaging them. You’ll probably have to use wheelbarrows. If it’s a long haul, ask your supplier for a smaller truck or skid loader that can get closer. A cozy spot is the main requirement for a patio like this. But you’ll also want to consider the following:
- Shade. You’ll want it. If you don’t have it, include shade plants or structures in your plan.
- Drainage. Avoid low spots. Pick a spot that’s well drained.
- Slope. A little slope, less than about 1/4 in. per foot, is OK. More than that and you’ll have to build retaining walls or regrade the surrounding soil.
- Digging complications. Don’t build directly under trees. It could damage the tree, and besides, digging out roots is no fun.
- Contact local utility companies before you dig and have them locate buried lines.