How to Build a Raised Brick Patio

As you’re spending more time with your family at home, you may be eager to make the most of your backyard and build a brick patio.

The challenge for many homeowners comes when they realize that they have to raise it up from the surrounding land. Yes, a raised brick patio does add an extra step but it’s as simple as adding a retaining wall. You may be surprised to hear that this is something completely within the capabilities of someone with average DIY skills and the strength to maintain a backyard. Read on to see just how easy it is to get this project off the ground (we couldn’t let the opportunity slip away to use that one).

Brick patio step #1: Build a retaining wall

This is the step that sets a raised brick patio apart from one flat to the ground as it provides the area in which you can add the fill materials that will create the patio’s base. Start by marking off the boundaries of your patio with stakes. Using a string, line level, and a tape measure, mark the stakes at the height at which you plan your finished wall to reach. 

From there, determine how many rows of bricks you are going to need to reach your desired height. Bear in mind that you will end up completely burying the first row of bricks in order to give the retaining wall its stability. 

Dig out a 12-inch wide, 6-inch deep trench for your first row and compact the ground firmly in the trench. Add 2 inches of finely crushed gravel and even out the surface. You should also have a string line that serves as a guide for the top of your first row. 

Brick patio step #2: Lay the bricks

You’ll want to lay landscaping fabric in the trench giving the bricks a material that they can lie on top of. Then lay the bricks level and side by side on the material, following along the string line guide. Continue this process as you continue to add more rows in the same manner. As you lay the rows, add gravel between the fabric and the back of the wall to prevent soil from washing through the cracks in the wall. 

Brick patio step #3: Create the base

Next, create a base for your patio which will consist of 4 inches of finely crushed gravel and 1 inch of coarse paver sand. Add fill dirt within the area of your retaining wall leaving room for the base depth plus the brick paver height. Use a rake to level out the dirt surface and compact it firmly. Add the gravel and spread it out to a depth of 4 inches. 

Start in one corner where the two sides of the retaining wall meet and form a 90-degree angle. 

Brick patio step #4: Add sand

Add sand into the area that forms the base of the brick patio to a depth of about 1 inch. Use a piece of wood to even out the sand and make it level. 

Brick patio step #5: Lay the pavers

Lay the first paver by holding it about an inch above the sand, pushing it flush against both the retaining brick walls with pressure and then sliding it down the edge of the wall. Make sure to keep pressure along the wall bricks while you slide down the paver. Repeat the process with the rest of the pavers.

Brick patio step #6: Work from the corner

Work outward from that corner and use the pavers you’ve already laid as a guide. Make sure that when you’re laying the bricks, you are not dragging them into place or disturbing the sand you’ve already leveled. 

Use a rubber mallet to tap them securely into place. Continue this process of leveling the sand and laying the brick pavers until you have the entire space completed. 

Brick patio step #7: 

Use a plate compactor to pass over the pavers and make sure they are level. Spread a ⅛-inch layer of sand across the pavers then sweep it back and forth to work it into the cracks. Pass the plate compactor over the surface one or two more times. Sweep away the excess sand and your patio is complete!

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