If you are looking for a unique and inexpensive way to build a patio with a little color and pattern, try using recycled brick for your surface. It is a little labor intensive but the cost savings and fun rustic look may just make it worthwhile.
For us, it all started when my husband bought a ton of brick. He literally bought about three tons. It was an odd assortment of leftovers, which he found from Craig’s List, that cost us $50. Since at the time we were building our cabin, he figured we would be able to use it for something.
I remember looking skeptically at the massive pile hoping that we would in fact be able to use it up or at least put a large dent in it.
Luckily, we came up with a couple of uses that allowed us to use the entire supply. The main use was for the patio outside our lower level slider. It would have cost us a minimum of $700 to put in a concrete slab and more for anything more elaborate.
The job required a little bit of labor in preparation and laying out of the bricks but the end result is a decorative look for very little cost.
To prepare the ground, we had to dig down the topsoil to be at a level that was even with the door trim once the brick was laid. Next, the dirt had to be completely level. We had been soaking the ground for several weeks and it was fairly compact but we rented a vibrating compacter for $50 just to make sure it was completely compacted. This may not have been necessary for us but if you were working with fresh dirt it would be important.
After leveling the area, we poured a layer of dry mortar mix over the dirt. We used about 15 bags at a cost of $3 per bag for an area of 160 square feet. A long 2×4 was dragged across the mortar mix to level it off before we began laying the bricks.
Once all of the bricks were laid, we filled in the holes and gaps with more dry mortar mix. With a garden hose, we then wetted the entire patio which mixed with the mortar to make a hard bond between the bricks. When the patio was dry and cured we had a completely solid surface.
Since we have the upper deck for sitting, we currently use the patio area mainly for canoe storage.
We built this rack for easy access.
The patio reminds me of an old cobblestone or brick road. Besides Craig’s List, I would think that you could find leftover brick at your local brickyards. The beauty is that the brick doesn’t have to all match. You can make your own design with what you can come up with.