Mortarless Paving

by Daisy

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Ivory asked me to show her how I put this together a while back:


Since I wanted to do something similar with this little beauty spot . . .


. . . I took a few pictures of the process.

The bricks I used here were some of the perforated facing bricks left over from old construction. I put them on their sides to hide the fact that they have holes in them. You can use pavers, reclaimed bricks from a demolition (just make sure they aren’t crumbling apart first) or new bricks.

1. I cleared out the sod and took the dirt out to a depth that would accomodate two inches of sand and the thickness of the bricks minus about 1/2 inch. This site is next to a driveway that was once gravel, so the soil under the topsoil is pretty much all gravel. If it weren’t, I would need to take the soil down further and lay down a layer of gravel about 3-4 inches prior to the sand layer.


2. Tamp down the soil/gravel. Before I had an actual tamper, I nailed one together from 2×4 scraps. It wasn’t that great, but it was better than nothing. It isn’t the sort of thing most people have in their garages, but you might be able to borrow one. (Don’t mind the black tubing–it is part of my garden irrigation and is not related to the paving!)


3. Before actually putting down the sand, I spread out a weed barrier. (Actually, I put down the sand, remembered I forgot the weed barrier, removed the sand, then put down the weed barrier–photo taken before I realized my mistake).


4. Using an official screed, (ha—a board) I smoothed out the layer of sand so the surface was even and sloped in the way I wanted it to slope. In this case I wanted to mimic the existing grade, sloping away from the driveway and away from the house. The main consideration here is that you want to channel rainwater the way you want it to go–away from a foundation and away from walkways or driveways.


5. Tamp, tamp, tamp again.

6. After I figured out how I wanted to configure my bricks, I laid them out in the space, fiddling with them to make them fit. I had a few funny little gaps, so I used large gravel rocks for a sort of cobblestone. I had a few pre-broken bricks I used, too, but if you want, use a cold chisel and a mallet to trim your bricks to size. I put my hose rack/spigot here and connected it to my irrigation to have a little pad for filling my watering can, etc.

7. Pack dirt back around where the bricks meet the yard to help stabilize the outer edge of the paving. There is a method, consisting of digging down deeper and setting a row of bricks vertically (called “soldiers”) to edge the paved area, but I didn’t think that was called for here for this small pad.

8. Using relatively clean sand, fill the cracks between the bricks, sweeping them in until the spaces are filled up. This will take some doing. Just when you think you’re done, the sand will sift down and more sand will have to be added. Over the next several days, continue to sweep in more sand as necessary and over time you can top it off. Just toss on a bit more sand and sweep and fill. Spray it with a little water to help settle the sand, let it dry and go again with more dry sand.


This is a paving method that’s flexible, needs no special skills (thank goodness!) and is very forgiving. If you mess up or change your mind you can just pull up the bricks and start over. Search “brick patterns” to find various layouts and use your imagination. It’s sort of like playing with blocks.



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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JavaLady January 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm

That looks Fabulous darlin’ !!!

Tomato Lady January 24, 2010 at 1:25 am

JavaLady–Thank ya, ma’am!

Corinne May 3, 2010 at 7:15 am

That’s Super Cool!!!

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