By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Step 1 : Lay out the site
Lay out the area with string and stakes making sure that the lines are straight and corners are square. To check this, place a framing square in the corners; the string should be aligned with the square. You can take a measurement diagonally across the patio from corner to corner.
The diagonal measurement between opposite corners is the same if the patio is square. Use the strings as guidelines for digging out the area to a depth of at least 5 inches. That allows for two inches of sand and 2 1/4-inches, the height of the brick.
Step 2 : Lay down landscape timbers
Outline the perimeter of the patio excavation with landscape timbers and secure them in place with rebar. Use an electric drill to bore pilot holes in the timber for the rebar every 18 inches or so.
At corners butt the ends of the timbers together to make a square corner, checking for squareness with the framing square. Then use a sledgehammer to drive the rebar through the pilot holes in the timbers into the ground.
Step 3 : Fill with sand
Laying brick in sand rather than soil provides better drainage and the sand compacts better than soil. Fill in the excavation with sand, smoothing it to form a level solid base for the brick to be set into.
Then use a notched 2x4 to smooth the sand 2 inches below the framing timber edging to create a recess for the bricks. Make a tamping board using a 2x4 and 1-foot square piece of scrap plywood. Carefully tamp the entire patio area to compact the sand.
Step 4 : Lay the bricks
Place the bricks in plastic trays that act as alignment grids or hand lay the bricks. Use a rubber mallet to nudge them in place so they're flush with the timbers. Wear knee pads!
Step 5 : Broom sweep the sand
Sprinkle additional sand on to the patio and then use a push broom to work the sand into the joints between the bricks. Give the bricks a gentle spray with a garden hose to compact the sand between the bricks. Then apply more sand and sweep again to evenly distribute the sand in the joints.
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