DIY Brick Paver Walkway
First impressions are hard. Whether a house or a human, we tend to make our first impression of something based solely on appearance.
For a house, the first impression often comes from curb appeal. The exterior of the home combined with its natural surroundings and landscaping can either result in a grand first impression or a…. not so grand one.
There are elements of my own home that lean toward a great first impression. For instance, I truly feel like we have the most beautiful view in every direction- overlooking mountains, lakes, and a large field. However, we also have a couple not so wonderful elements that can put a damper on our first impression.
When you pull up our driveway, you instantly see two stunning Japanese maple trees surrounded with greenery. Centered between the trees is a fountain. But once you step out of your car, to walk to our front door you see an old concrete walkway that was once painted, but now is worn down in areas.
It just isn’t pretty now. It stands out, in a bad way.
Mitch and I knew we wanted to cover it, and I have always loved a brick walkway. With that established, we set out to make our own brick pathway. Neither of us have any experience with masonry. But we were determined to figure it out.
I feel like it made a big difference in our entrance, and now we just need to tackle the other exterior projects.
I’m sure we didn’t do everything 100% correct, but here is how we DIYed our own brick paver pathway!
What we used:
-Half Brick Pavers
-Garden Hoe (to mix the mortar)
-Nylon Scrub Brush
-5 Gallon Bucket
We measured out the walkway to make sure we bought enough material, and wouldn’t run out. Our walkway is 4’ wide by 10’ long. So we wanted to make sure to get enough material for 40 sq. feet. I always recommend getting extra material, because you never know what could happen. It’s also important to consider your pattern, because certain patterns will leave more waste and require more material.
Which leads me to the next step.
I knew I wanted a pattern for the brick, and not just a standard look. I played around with a few different options and then let Instagram decide which pattern we should use. Herringbone won by a landslide! This is one of those patterns that require a little extra material.
Our project required 47 sq.ft of half brick pavers, 3 bags of mortar, and one bag of sand.
Be sure to clean concrete surface really well. It helps the mortar adhere to the surface better. You don’t want a lot of dust and debris in the way.
We used the mortar one bag at a time because it dries pretty quickly. We used what we had on hand to mix it, so a wheelbarrow and garden hoe. The bag of mortar should tell you how to mix it. We found that mixing the mortar as recommended and then adding a little splash of water when needed was best for us.
Now its time to lay the brick. We started with the two long sides. I wanted to frame the sides of the pathway with straight lines and then lay the middle as a herringbone inlay.
We put down mortar for one or two bricks at a time so it wouldn’t dry out. This also helped us make sure that the bricks stayed level. We used our hands, and not any special tools. We tried them, but being the amateurs we are, we found that it was faster to use our hands.
A little tip- use gloves. I didn’t and I learned the hard way that mortar is the world’s best and harshest exfoliator. My hands were raw for days.
We chose not to use spacers for our project, and just laid the brick side by side.
We also found that the mortar works best a when its pretty wet. You don’t want it to be runny, but if it’s too dry it will not adhere properly.
Once we laid the sides we started laying the herringbone pattern. We started in the corner and worked our way over and up, checking every few bricks to see that we weren’t getting too far off.
Once we got all the bricks in place, we mixed equal parts of leftover mortar and sand in a bucket and spread it over the entire walkway. This filled any gaps and cracks that were in the walkway. Then Mitch lightly swept off the excess mortar and sand mixture so it was just left in the cracks. We lightly misted the sand and mortar mix, and then very gently mopped it off.
The mortar needs to dry out for a good 24-48 hours. Or at least that’s what we let it sit for.
Because we are NOT professionals, we had a lot of mortar on the bricks. So we used Muriatic Acid (which I’m pretty sure is a slightly safer version of Hydrochloric acid…safe) Anyway, it is safe if used properly so be sure to wear gloves, keep kids away, and be careful to follow all the instructions!
We put water in a 5-gallon bucket and carefully put the suggested amount of acid into the water. (I read somewhere that if you mix up the steps and accidentally put water in the acid it can cause a bad chemical reaction… so be sure to do water first!) Then we mixed it as recommended and poured it on the bricks. It will fizz a little, and that will let you know it’s working and eating at the mortar. However, you do not want the acid to sit too long on the brick because it will eat away at the mortar you want, and it can turn the bricks a yellow/green tint.
Once you have let the acid sit for a minute, spray it off REALLY well with a water hose.
Repeat this step if necessary.
And there you have it! How we created our DIY brick paver walkway that covered the old concrete one!