Introduction

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When crossing your muddy yard to fetch the daily paper turns into an obstacle course of slips and slides, perhaps it's time to think about an alternative path - literally. Instead of sinking up to your ankles in the name of the morning stock report, take a weekend to lay a brick walkway. The formal pavers will not only provide a clean and sturdy lane for visitors approaching your front door but they’ll also add style to your landscape and value to your home.

As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows, in just one weekend you can turn a swath of dirt into a ribbon of elegance, able to withstand anything from a winter gale to a summer lawn mower. Then, by Monday morning you’ll be able to retrieve the front page without having to reach for the thigh-high waders.
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    Tools List

    • square spade
      Spade
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level
    • tamper
      Hand tamper
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • mallet
      Deadblow mallet
    • push broom
      Push broom

    Shopping List

    1. BRICKS
    Choose bricks rated for severe weather (SW), also called "clay pavers" at the stone yard. Modular bricks measure 8 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 1½ inches thick, but actual dimensions can vary by as much as half an inch. Measure the bricks you like and figure out how many you'll need for your pattern. Depending on the pattern's waste, figure about five bricks per square foot

    2. GRADED BASE
    (a combination of crushed stone and stone dust), for creating a sturdy, porous base

    3. MASONRY SAND
    or stone dust, for creating a smooth, porous base between the graded base and the bricks

    4. 1x4 COMPOSITE LUMBER
    to use as temporary guides along the edges of the path as you set the bricks. Composite lumber is easier to bend for curves than standard lumber, though the latter will also work

    5. WOODEN STAKES
    at least 1½ feet long, to secure the guide rails in place

    6. 1 1/4-inch DECK SCREWS
    to temporarily attach the stakes to the guide rails

    7. 2x4 LUMBER
    to make a screed for shaping the sand

    8. GARDEN EDGING
    (optional) to hold together certain patterns of brick. Must go at least 6 inches into the ground