What types of bricks are good for a patio?
Most bricks are composed of clay soil combined with lime and sand. Although red bricks are the most common, bricks come in many colors, including cream, grey, tan, buff, pink, brown, and black.
The color varies according to several factors: the relative proportion of lime, the color of the sand, and the temperature and duration of the firing. One strong attribute is that brick color doesn’t fade with age or wear.
If you’re looking for a weathered look and don’t want to wait years to get it, you can buy tumbled bricks. Used bricks are another option–try searching under “building materials” on Craigslist. But don’t buy unless you’re assured that any residual mortar has been cleaned off. Whatever you choose, make sure they’re bricks that will work well for a patio–they’re not too porous, for example, or prone to flaking in freezing temperatures. If in doubt, check with a stonemason or stoneyard worker.
What are some patterns for laying a brick patio?
Your choice of pattern will be largely determined by how much space you have and how much money you want to invest. Here are the most common patterns, from the least expensive and labor-intensive to the most:
- Running bond just means bricks laid in simple rows. Concentric squares or rectangles are variations on running bond; these are appealing if you have enough space to show them off. In smaller spaces, a concentric pattern can look busy.
- Basketweave is a classic pattern that’s slightly more labor-intensive than running bond. It comes in many variations. To make the pattern work, you’ll need bricks that are twice as long as they are wide (plus any mortar joint). That also reduces the number of bricks that will need to be cut.
- Herringbone is a timeless look that works well for both pathways and patios. A herringbone set at 45 degrees is somewhat more expensive because the bricks on the edges all need to be cut. Herringbone set at 90 degrees involves less cutting.