Formal garden with beautiful lush plants and colourful red Hawaiian Anthurium flowers. Getty Images
Designing with Brick
A home’s living space is increased when a patio is added. It can become an outdoor room, a kitchen and dining area, or a private terrace. Once you’ve determined the size and location of the patio, you’ll need to decide what paving material to use.
Brick is an adaptable and frequently used patio surfacing material. Either set on a base of sand or mortar, it provides a durable, non-glare surface that coordinates well with many architectural styles.
Basically, there are two types of brick: common and face.
As the name implies, common is the type most often used in outdoor residential applications and is also less expensive than face. Common brick is made from clay or shale and fired in a kiln. It is also known as kiln-run brick. It has a rough texture.
Face brick is meant to be visible. This type is used in the exposed face of a wall or sometimes on patios and is usually made of better quality materials than common brick. Face brick has a slick surface, is durable and comes in different shades of brown, red, grey, and white.
While its basic composition and form has been the same for some 5,000 years, there are thousands of brick combinations, colours, textures, and shapes available to create any kind of look or mood—from casual and contemporary to more classic and traditional.
Need ideas for a brick patio project? Get inspired by the following designs, all of which feature brick patios, of course.
Brick Patio and Archway with Succulents
Rustic brick is ideal surface for containers with succulents. Anne Greene-Armytag/Getty Images
This courtyard-style patio is given added warmth with a surface of bricks. While plant selections are drought tolerant, close plantings and mature growth gives it a feeling of lushness. A decorative brick archway in the surrounding wall continues the material throughout the garden.
Brick Outdoor Living Room
An outdoor living room features brick flooring. Getty Images
Brick establishes a room without walls in this back garden. A surface of brick on sand is one of the simplest outdoor paving projects and is an easy project for novice do-it-yourselfers. Providing you live in a region in which the ground doesn’t freeze—or if excess moisture isn’t an issue—bricks on sand can offer as much durability as bricks in mortar.
Brick Patio in City Garden
A Mediterranean courtyard patio with brick. Getty Images
Although overflowing with plants, this courtyard patio has a sense of elegance and formality with Mediterranean-looking Cypress trees, vine and ivy-covered walls, and expertly sculpted shrubs. Patio flooring, made of brick, is the perfect choice for this natural, blooming space.
Brick Patio with Planting Beds
A brick patio in an urban setting. YinYang/Getty Images
A brick courtyard patio ties together the different components of this outdoor space: central planting beds, border gardens, outdoor seating, and container plants. It’s a good idea to decide ahead of time which pattern you want to lay your bricks—this one is a basketweave with a running bond.
Cottage Garden with Brick Paving
A flower-filled cottage garden with brick paving. Francois De Heel/Getty Images
A variety of flowering plants spill from borders and containers of this charming cottage-style garden. Grayish brick is laid in a basketweave pattern.
Key features of a cottage garden include:
- A cottage-like structure as a focal point.
- An informal mix of perennials, annuals, vines, and shrubs. Favourites include old-fashioned roses, tall hollyhocks, cleome, cosmos, agapanthus, and torch lily.
- Plants are packed closely together, at various levels, and often defy conventional gardening rules as far as height and spacing.
- Path (often brick or stone) ties together spaces, beds, and borders.
- Incorporates garden structures, like arches, pergolas, and gazebos.
Brick Patio Retreat
A brick patio makes a beautiful back garden oasis. Chuck Schmidt/Getty Images
A typical suburban back garden with wood fencing is made spectacular with a curving, somewhat freeform patio that looks like an island of smooth brick. In this case, the brick establishes the lines of the patio and gives the space a real sense of an outdoor room without walls.
Circular Brick Patio Hideaway
Circular brick patio makes a charming retreat. Getty Images
A reverse bond set in a circular pattern gives visual interest to a small patio area in a lush garden. This space has the feeling of a secret hideaway, with a garden dining set nestled among tall-growing and spectacular-blooming shrubs and perennials.
Urban Garden with Brick and Gravel Patio
A lush urban garden with brick paving. Juliette Wade/Getty Images
Gravel mixed with brick adds to the informality of this urban garden. Shrubs, trees and perennials at different levels create walls and vertical interest and can be found in planting beds, borders and in various-sized containers. Here, the brick is a greyish terra cotta, which blends well with the gravel to create a non-slippery surface.
Patio Dining by the Pool
Brick patio dining area near a back garden pool. Tim Abramowitz/Getty Images
While concrete surrounds the inground swimming pool, a connecting patio area for nearby dining and relaxing is visually separate from other parts of the garden by a round patio made of brick. While some brick blends in with other hardscape materials, this terra cotta brick establishes a separate outdoor room, without walls.
Brick Patio and Garden
A brick patio with planting beds featuring vegetables and herbs. Getty Images
A walled courtyard patio features brick flooring, which also serves as a path connecting various elements of this small outdoor space, including a kitchen garden in a central planting bed, a low bench, containers with trees, and border garden.
Brick Patio with Ivy Walls
Red brick flooring blends nicely with this lush, eclectic vine-covered dwelling. Getty Images
An ivy-covered cottage surrounded by citrus trees and other shrubs and plants truly looks like a living, growing “green” house. Brick is a smart choice for the patio surface, adding warmth and a certain rustic feel to an outdoor room that seems to emphasize all things “natural.”
Modern Brick Patio
Grey brick is the ideal surface for this modern patio design. Getty Images
Grey brick in a running bond pattern is a wise surface selection for this outdoor patio. It serves as a warm, textured floor for an outdoor dining set and gorgeous flowering trees planted in large beds.
By Lisa Hallett Taylor