Completing a Brick Path

When finishing a brick pathway, you can use the brick at the tile edging, by bringing it into proper relation with the ground on either side. This is done by making the level of the path at the edges the same as the turf, as well as an inch and a half higher that the edge of the border against the soil.

Be sure to compact the soil of the border where it comes against the pathway by ramming it, this allows the bricks the stay in place. If your grounds have very light soils, it may even be a good idea to push slates into the soil at the outer margin of the pathway and bury them soil level deep. Do this every fourth brick, at a joint, so make sure the path will remain secure.  You can also choose to grout with cement but it is not necessary.

If you pathway continues over sloping ground, this is fine, but be sure your surface is made very flat, so the water can drain off the lower margin.

After your bricks have been laid, fill in the joints with loose sand and water the filling to carry it down, repeat this process until it has reached surface level.

The ideas of pattern making may be appealing, but be sure not to get too carried away. Over elaborating patterns in a basic garden path creates a forceful look. A simple design is much better. If you do use a pattern, be sure that is is complimentary to any garden features, like fountains or benches.

When deciding the width of the path, be sure to remember bricks typically measure 4 inches in width, so the path must be a multiple of that dimension.

A composite path is a path where bricks or tiles are used with concrete, stone mosics, cobble stone, or other similar materials. If bricks are used in the framework, the preparation will be the same as an all brick pathway, except you will need only sand where the bricks meet.

To get a general idea, try looking at pathways created by other people. Brcikwork can create the basis of a pattern, which can be complete by filling in spaces with another material. Macadam, like that used for roads, is a good choice, but you can create a mortar out of builder’s sand and Portland cement, using half and half. The spaces should be filled in, one at a time, using the extra mortar from one space to fill in the next, until the path is complete.

While the filling is still soft, place the macadam cubes, making sure they are fitted closely together, and then press them down, leaving the upper sides slightly higher that the bricks. Once all the spaces are filled go over them with a board, using a mallet to beat all the cubes until they match the surface level of the bricks.

Allow the mortar to set for about an hour, and then use a stiff brush and clean water to remoce the excess mortar. After 12 hours, the path way should be firmly set and hard as stone. The mortar will also take hold of the bricks, to tie the whole path together.
You could take the route of filling the spaces with cement concrete, and finishing it off with a rendering cement, although this is not a satisfactory. Cobblestones are a great filling choice as well, adding an old world appearance to your setting. These need to be laid, on end, in a dry sand, that has been leveled with the use of a board and mallet. They need to be grouted with liquid cement poured from a pail until it rises above the middle of the cobblestones.