How to Lay Brick or Concrete Pavers
Bricks are an excellent material for paving; they can be matched to the facing brick of the house or to complement the other hard landscape materials in the garden. Always make sure that you use frost-proof bricks in the garden, as normal house bricks will simply disintegrate after a while.
Concrete block pavers also provide an ideal hard-wearing surface for paths and drives and are much lighter and easier to lay than paving slabs. Both bricks and pavers may be laid in a wide range of patterns to create a variety of effects.
For stability, bricks or pavers are normally laid with an edging of similar bricks set in concrete. As the edging is installed first, the width of the site must be carefully calculated so that the remaining bricks fit exactly between the two edges.
Bricks and pavers can be laid on a bed of mortar over compacted hardcore and subsequently pointed. Alternatively, they can be simply bedded onto sand, as described in the method below. As the blocks may be lifted and re-laid, this type of paving is sometimes called "flexible paving".
1. Setting out the Position
Mark out the position of the path or paved area using pegs and string or sand guidelines. If building a path, make sure that it is wide enough for two people to pass each other if necessary. You may need to slightly adjust the width to fit the size of bricks to save any unnecessary cutting.
2. Prepare the Base
Dig out the area to a depth of 15 cm (6 in) PLUS the depth of your bricks or pavers. If the site runs next to a lawn, dig out an extra 3 cm (1 in) (to 8 cm or 7 in) so that the final surface is below turf level.
Compact the base and then apply a liquid weedkiller to the hole. Alternatively, lay a polypropylene membrane so that it covers the base and the sides. Add a 10 cm (4 in) layer of hardcore, then compact using a roller.
3. Install the Edgings
Lay the edging bricks along sides of the path or paved area, bedding them in with 5 cm (2 in) of mortar. Use a spirit level to make sure that they are level as you are laying them. Hold the edges in place with a staked board until the mortar sets.
4. Lay the Bricks or Pavers
Remove the board holding the edges in place and add a 5 cm (2 in) deep layer of bedding sand. Make sure that is even, and then compact it with a heavy roller. Take care not to walk on the sand whilst you are laying the pavers and keep it dry.
Starting from one corner of the site, lay the pavers in the required pattern, tamping them into place using a lump hammer over a piece of wood. Only lay whole blocks at this stage, then fill in any gaps in the pattern with cut pavers after you have finished the rest of the area.
As you work your way along the path, keep checking that the bricks are level and tamping them down firmly. Finish off by brushing dry sharp sand in between the joints and then firming the bricks down with a plate compactor.