A pathway is a great opportunity to enhance your yard, as it defines your space visually. So adding interesting details like a simple brick mosaic is a great opportunity to show off your style and beautify your backyard experience.
Here’s what you would need to make yours:
– 6 50lb bags of Stabilized Decomposed granite
– 60 Multicolor bricks (about 7 bricks per ft2)
– 6 50 lb bags of Base or 3/4” rocks
– 6 50 lb bags of Masonry Sand
– Hand Broom or broom
– Masonry/brick hammer
– Rubber mallet
– Mini level
– Flathead shovel
– Knee pads (optional)
– Safety Glasses
– Scrap bucket
– Hose & Nozzle
– Hand tamper (optional)
1. Select or source bricks
Clay bricks come in all sorts of colors and sizes. We combined 5 recycled orange bricks from the backyard and purchased 55 more bricks in 7 different colors for this project. This would help to complement and contrast colors.
2. Prepare the base
When working with set elevations —such as concrete or existing brick edging— your bricks might sit at a lower level. To help them line up with said elevations, use a flat head shovel to distribute class II base and compact with your feet (or a hand tamper).
3. Brake the bricks
Use a brick or masonry hammer to break the bricks apart. Make a variety of breaks so that they are not all perfect squares. The randomness of the shapes will give you a more dynamic look. It is easier to break the bricks by stacking one on top of the other perpendicular and striking the brick where the top brick overhangs.
4. Add sand for leveling
Spread about 1” of masonry sand across the mosaic area and spread somewhat level by hand. You can also use a mini level to distribute the sand. Keep a pile of sand nearby as you’ll need it for leveling bricks.
5. Set bricks and level them
Start creating your brick mosaic by placing bricks by a known level and border, such as the existing concrete edging. Check your level as you go. The brick shouldn’t stick up more or less than the reference level, as it can be a tripping hazard. Use the level to check the lineup of each brick to the reference concrete and each other.
6. Adjust the bricks’ level
After checking the level, if a brick is too high, use a rubber mallet to adjust the height by tapping it down. If the brick is too low, use filler sand to build the brick back up.
Keep in mind that it’s easier for the brick to be too high and then use the mallet to tap it into place than having it to be too low.
7. Check the spacing
Consistent spacing is key, as it will make your brick mosaic look a lot cleaner and nicer. Use your fingers in gloves as a guide by pressing them between bricks and adjusting the spacing accordingly.
Depending on your space, you may have an obvious end to the mosaic, which is nice. If not, create the end by drawing a line or a curve to end the mosaic. I added filler sand to the outside edge to help hold it until the path is filled in with Decomposed granite (D.G.).
9. Fill joints to stabilize
Use a flat head shovel to distribute decomposed granite between the joints of the bricks. Keep an eye for bricks that may get pushed together and adjust them as needed. Add extra decomposed granite to the outer edge to hold them in place until the rest of the Decomposed granite path is filled.
10. Sweep in D.G.
Push the Decomposed granite into the joints with a broom. The D.G. will continue to settle over time with wear and tear, so it is important to work as much D.G. into the joints to minimize future settling.
11. Hose down D.G.
Use a hose and a spray nozzle to wet down the D.G. This will further force the D.G. between the joints by dropping the fines closer together. Be careful to not completely hose out the D.G. After hosing down, if the D.G. is lower than the brick, use a shovel to lightly distribute more D.G. along the top and sweep into place.