Learn the steps for building a mortared-brick walk and the differences between building a walk and building a patio.
Brick or precast concrete paver walks (whether laid on a sand bed or mortared to a slab) employ many of the same techniques used to build a similar patio. They offer the same potential for a varied, handsome surface, only on a smaller scale.
You will notice one difference, however, between a mortared path and a mortared patio. When building a paver path, you don't have to start in the center and work outward. All pavered walks start their paving in a corner.
Be sure to lay the base materials in layers and compact one layer before the next one. This is especially important if your walk will be subject to hard use, such as the movement of garden equipment. Base materials that shift under a sand-set path create ripples. In addition, improperly tamped slab bases can crack.
20 to 40 hours to lay out and set a 4x25-foot walk, depending on your skill level
Layout and excavation tools, concrete tools for a mortared structure, wheelbarrow, tape measure, mason's line, cordless drill, circular saw, concrete mixer, mason's hoe, screed, broom, wet saw
Designing layout, form building, mixing, working with mortar
Prepare and excavate the site
Gravel, sand, 2-1/4-inch screws, 2x lumber, brick or precast pavers, rubber mallet, 1x6, mason's line, stakes
Lay out and prepare the site to dimensions that equal a line of pavers in the pattern of your choice. If you plan to set the border material on the slab, build forms 1/2 inch higher than the slab. Pour and finish the slab. When the slab is ready, spread about 1/2 inch of mortar on a 2x2-foot section. You can set a 2x2-foot section before the mortar sets up. With some practice, you can set larger areas.
Whatever pattern you choose, start by laying pavers in a corner. Set them up against the forms, and space them with a plywood spacer. Use 1/2-inch spacers for 7-1/2-inch pavers; use 3/8-inch spacers for 7-5/8-inch units. Tap the bricks with a rubber mallet to bed them in the mortar.
After completing the first section, remove the spacers from the last course and check the section for level with a straightedge, resetting any high or low units. Continue laying the pavers in sections until you have finished the walk. Let the mortar cure, then mortar the joints.