Sunday, November 20, 2011

Laying a Charming Brick NON-Perfect Accent in Your GARDEN--DIY guide

Well here we are now, me and my Hercules, extending my small brick accent center in my garden further out. I want to eventually have a brick pathway leading out of the garden center, but I have to have enough old clay bricks to do that. Which I don't.
My son helped dig up the monkey grass and lambs ears that I transplanted, and then collected the brick from around the house and brought it over. While Maxine did this...
Fought with an old plastic plant container, she took it around the yard, threw it up in the air, watched it drop and caught it and ran herself dizzy.

You can see here we are extending the brick I already have, you will need to shovel the dirt as level as you can.Use a flat-head shovel to prep your area. If you are like my husband, you would get a level out, have sand ready, do it EXACTLY perfect. Or you can do it like me. I believe it is called eye-balling how level something is, or as my husband would say half-as++##!!** not-perfect, if you get my drift. NO CURSING on my blog though!! I call it charming, just like they did in the 1800's in Charleston, South Carolina. That is where I see so many im-perfect brick garden accents.
What I do is dig up, with a trowel or my husband's spackling tool,( a straight edge mortar trowel,)  the dirt to a level just above where the other brick is to meet. Bricks, rocks, pavers, etc., sink with time, so it needs to be a bit raised, maybe 1/2 ins. where it meets the other bricks. Smooth it straight to lay the brick.

Usually you have a pattern going, I started with this straight line of bricks, until I layed them all out and found out I had a basket-weave pattern, straight line in front of that,so I then wanted another basket-weave going behind me. Straight, basket-weave, straight, basket-weave ( about 2 feet each time). Dumb-bunny had to rip them up and start again. All the dirt in front of me has to be smoothed out, and then used to cover up the bricks as we go.
I like to tap( tap fairly hard) my bricks together , to tighten them up. I hit them at the top and sides.Everytime you lay one, you may have to add or take away dirt from the ground to level it. Keep tapping them to settle them.
And I have to deal with Maxine trying to kiss me while I am down here. The original center of this brick area, I laid out about 7 years ago.
I love the old clay bricks. The different colors are beautiful to me.
Here we are laying them out straight, my husband showed up and got to take some pictures of us. The bricks that I am holding,the one up top is concrete, the lower clay. Clay bricks are almost always larger than concrete. Lowes, Home Depot only sell concrete bricks that are supposed to resemble clay bricks. I discard the concrete, sometimes only  use them where they cannot be seen in parts of my garden. Clay bricks are infinitely more charming.
I loved my son helping me.
We took the straight design out and the laid then in the basket-weave pattern, two side by side, and then two on top. The cracks here we will fill with sand and dirt.
I started this garden with a basketweave pattern, then plain straight lines, now basketweave again . I like to see mixed patterns, only two usually, in a brick pattern layout. Over and over, going about 3 feet apart with each pattern.
It is coming along, once you do this, get up and stretch and stomp on the bricks to settle them. I ran out of plain clay bricks, did not use the ones with the holes in them. I then bordered the brick with more brick on their sides. One day I want to keep them going to make a path out of my garden.
Now normally, I would get sand and swish it down with my hands into the cracks. I have no sand, I was not getting in the car to go get sand, and I only had my Hercules son for another 30 minutes. So we made do with leftover dirt from the yard. Always make do in life.
Just spill it, sprinkle it , as heavy as you like, all over the bricks.
Then you just rub it all over the bricks, and it falls into the cracks.
You can do this as many times as you like, 2-6 times. The dirt just keeps settling into the cracks . Doing this over a period of weeks is good.
Then brush it off. Next step...
Then you water down all the excess dirt with your hose. You can do this as many times as you like. I only have done it once. Each time you add dirt and, and then water it down.It compacts your bricks into the ground.
Miss Spaz -kisser was lounging and looking regal watching us.

The fountain isn't centeered here, but I did move it later to center it. Still looking for new fountain.

So here we are, an uneven, but very charming brick center area. I suggest using only old bricks, no concrete ones, only clay ones. Oh, and hopefully you have a Hercules somewhere you can hire to help you...
Go make a brick accent for yourself. Go find you a Hercules/muscle-guy somewhere around. I was so  very sore after that day, I had not worked in my garden for months. Wishing for a time when I was younger...enjoy your days folks.

Bless someone tonight,
Ps. I have been unable to leave comments on many blogs I read. I am unsure if something is wrong with Blogger, but wanted the writers of the blogs I read to know.


  1. This is a great post. Love seeing your hubby and son working on it with you. I think the brick path fits in perfectly. Lots of charm!

  2. I think Maxine also deserves appreciation for her unfailing support.

  3. Yet another charming and also instructive DIY post :) Setting the paved area with sand rather than cement seems to be a far better way to go. We had our paved areas done by a brick-laying company many years ago (well over 25 years, now) and a year ago, had a couple of newer areas done. Both times, they were set with cement, but the problem is that it cracks and over time is washed out with repeated hosing and rain. We have had a couple of repair jobs done, but the effect is not long lasting. I guess also ours carries heavy traffic (cars on the driveway sections) whereas yours is only intended for light footfalls. We also have the problem of invasive roots from our trees, and some sections have either lifted or sunk quite badly. Again, any repairs don't really last! I do hope you'll eventually find enough old clay brick to complete your pathway. It will be a lovely added feature to your magical garden. You and Hercules did well, once again and Maxine almost stole the show...again! BTW sitting cross-legged like that is no longer possible for me. It really gives my lower back and hips a hard time for days afterwards. But I'm not anywhere close to as slim as you are, Gina. You still have the enviable figure of a teenager! Big hug xoxo

  4. Hi Gina,
    I love this type of path, and the way in which you are slowly adding to it over time is so in keeping with the way in which a garden slowly grows and changes. We have a shingle path through our garden that was put in 'temporarily' some eleven years ago, but wait for it.......also have a slowly increasing pile of old clay bricks, which we are going to do as you have to replace it, maybe one day. Great to see the family involved. Have a good day.

  5. Great job! My husband would be trying to make sure everything was level too. You and call it charming, I call it adding character, :)

  6. What a nice addition to your gardens Gina. It's nice to have your son to help. What a hoot Maxine is with that flower pot.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving ~ FlowerLady

  7. I think it looks great! I always love that imperfect look, it is natural looking, as if it had been lain for a century.Another wonderful way to make a funky, colonial style walkway is with brick bats ( broken bricks) Salvage yards will usually just give them away. We are picking up a load of them next week to lay a floor in the barn.

  8. My patio, which is nicely done, and before I got here is TOO PERFECT! I sort of hate it, but realistically realize its perfectly fine. I love yours... totally nonperfect and frankly looks like its always been there.

    Maybe one of these days I'll talk some strapping men into knockout out my current one and I'll make what I really want! (and I'll reread this)


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