Do You Know Your Bricks?
Man applying edging to newly constructed brick path. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
Get to Know the Basic Brick Patterns
Bricks have been made for thousands of years, and laid brick patterns have been around for almost as long. But can you match a name with an actual pattern? Are some brick patterns better suited to certain architectural styles than others? How about patterns for patios vs. patterns for pathways ?
Here’s your chance to get a brief education on brick patterns, which will help with your patio project, whether it’s a do-it-yourself venture or something a contractor or brick mason will tackle.
Brick Patterns for Patios and Walkways Herringbone brick pattern, aka herringbone brick bond. Illustration by Thomas Taylor
This is known as the herringbone brick pattern. Herringbones are usually laid at 45- or 90-degree angles and require precision and patience with measuring and laying the bricks. Outside perimeters often have to be cut, since the brick-laying process usually starts somewhere in the middle.
Brick Designs for Patios and Pathways A pinwheel-bond brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
The pinwheel bond will require some brick-cutting skills, but it is an interesting and great-looking pattern. As you can see, it is a geometric representation of a basic pinwheel—hence, the origin of its name. A pinwheel brick pattern would work well with certain styles of architecture that feature some detail, like Craftsman.
Basketweave brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
The basketweave brick pattern, which looks like–a woven basket! It’s another popular choice that is often seen on brick patios.
A grid brick pattern. Illustration by Thomas Taylor
The grid brick pattern consists of a basic horizontal and vertical grid pattern, with two bricks placed horizontally, then two vertically. The pattern is then repeated throughout the project.
Brick Designs for Patios and Pathways Half-basket brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
A Picture Gallery of Brick Patterns
The half-basketweave brick pattern can be laid with the two vertical bricks butted together in a vertical or horizontal (pictured) placement.
An important part of laying bricks is preparing a solid base. If the bricks must be laid on fill (looser dirt), it should be wet and tamped or rolled before setting the bricks.
Brick Designs for Patios and Pathways Jack-on-jack brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
The jack-on-jack brick pattern is best suited to smaller areas—the pattern can be hard to follow through a larger space. When you choose the pattern— or bond—think about the degree of difficulty involved. Some patterns require precise brick cutting and accuracy. Your bond choice will also be influenced by whether you lay the bricks with—the pattern can be hard to follow through a larger space. Your bond choice will also be influenced by whether you lay the bricks with closed joints (butted together) or open joints (spaced).
Brick Designs for Patios and Pathways Running brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
The running bond brick pattern is one of the most popular and frequently used bonds for walls and patios and is fairly easy to lay with some planning and experience.
Brick Designs for Patios and Pathways Whorled brick pattern. Illustration by Thom Taylor
The whorled brick patterns. As you can see, this pattern—or bond—involves some brick cutting and isn’t something that can be achieved in a few hours.
By Lisa Hallett Taylor