For a pleasant stroll through your garden, or up to the front door, nothing beats a brick side walk. If you create a sidewalk of brick pavers yourself, you can save a thousand dollars or more over having a pro install it.
Brick side walks are very durable, and last years longer than concrete walks do. In fact, there are brick streets in the eastern U.S. which are 200 years old, and still in use! This means that brick walks are a great investment, and will increase the value of your home.
To make the sidewalk you will need brick pavers. These are basically bricks, but they are designed to fit together neatly. You will also need sand, as well as a shovel to move it around with. A wheelbarrow could come in real handy. You’ll need a garden hose attached to a water source.
To figure out how many bricks you will need, measure the width and length of the proposed walk. It will take five bricks for each square foot of walk. You will also need to plan for a method of edging the walk, such as a steel edge or concrete footing.
Putting in a brick walk is not particularly difficult. The main disadvantage to installing the sidewalk yourself is that it is hard work! Brick and sand are very heavy to work with, so the project is likely to wear you out.
Plan to do it during cool weather, perhaps in several stints over a week or so. Have the brick pavers and sand delivered if you can. That will save a lot of the hard work.
If you have a concrete walk to remove, you can take care of it with a rented jack hammer. Be sure to wear eye protection. When the old walk is removed, smooth out the bed for the bricks. If there is no preexisting side walk, you will still need to dig out the sod and make a smooth bed for the new walk.
The basic structure of a brick side walk is first a smooth bed of earth, followed by several inches of sand. The sand is wet down and tamped flat. You can rent a roller for this purpose. The pavers lay on top of the sand, and fit into whatever pattern you desire.
Benefits of Brick Walks
One reason that brick walks last so long is that the bricks can move to adjust to the weight on them. The small size of the individual bricks also means that when there is damage to the walk, it is very easy to simply replace the damaged bricks.
It is much more trouble to repair damage to a concrete side walk. Plus, you don’t have to wait to walk on the side walk when you install it. It’s ready to go as soon as you are done.
Brick walks are also wonderfully non-slip. Think of installing brick pavers around your in-ground pool for safety when the kiddies are running around. They are also very strong. You can even run a vehicle over brick walks without hurting them.
Bricks never lose color and are made from only natural materials. Because of this, they are a natural around country homes and rustic decor. They are also easy to maintain. They can be scrubbed with a brush and a little soap and water if they ever seem to look a little dirty.
Photo by SqueakyMarmot, Creative Commons Attribution License