Have you ever looked at pictures of those gorgeous old cobblestone paths and thought how amazing it would be to have one at your own cottage? I HAVE. But my goodness, they are expensive. And just a wee bit technical for my DIY abilities. But I have found a fairly solid work-around for both those issues! My broken brick DIY Cobblestone Path is a pretty good substitute if I do say so myself!
I love when a problem becomes a solution!
Now I have to confess, I didn’t come up with this idea from thin air. After collecting trailer loads of old bricks to create a patio area, I was left with so many half bricks that were just not quite good enough for proper paving. I hate throwing anything old away! Couple this with our original plan to put a cement path from our patio up to our shed and my general dislike for cement paths, I eventually decided that a cement path with some bricks incorporated could be nice.
Sometimes you see bricks lined up the side, or placed in other ways within a cement path. So I held on to those piles of almost rubble and thought on it for a few months (renovating – am I right?) before inspiration hit! I had probably enough to make a half brick/half cement path, if I used the half bricks. And I was sure it would look great.
I did need to line my path with full bricks, so there was yet another period of collecting and scavenging bricks. But as my path is not very long, I collected enough fairly quickly (anyone who knows me will attest to my being able to spot an unattended red brick from 100 paces!).
Time to let your creativity shine
Once I had enough full bricks to line my DIY cobblestone path, I began digging it out. This was the most tedious part! I tried to make sure the path was smooth from top to bottom (it is up a hill), and the same width all the way up. This sounds easy, but I found it the hardest part! Tip – start with spraying a line with marking paint. If you don’t have marking paint, you could try a rope or a hose laid on the ground.
When you are happy with the layout, you need to think about the depth. I went for a depth that would allow the top of the laid bricks to be about an inch higher than the surrounding soil. This was to allow for turf that we were planning to lay beside the path in the future. I dug the soil away. to this depth, then. another 2 inches. The extra 2 inches should then be filled with good quality sand. This will provide a good base for your bricks to sit on, as well as good drainage under your path. Don’t go too crazy levelling the sand – if your old bricks are anything like mine, they will all be different sizes anyway!
Once you have a concrete plan:
The fun part starts!
I started by laying my liner bricks up each side. Disclaimer: I don’t know if you are supposed to use mortar or some other product, but I used cement for my path – don’t judge me. I used cement when I laid my brick patio 5 or so years ago and it’s working perfectly, so that’s what I used here.
With the edge all cemented down, I started playing around with the layout for the broken bricks. This method allows a decent gap between the bricks, so I just moved them about until it looked nice to me. I love the cobblestone look, so that’s what I went for. But you could go with circles, waves, any pattern that looks good to you. If, like me, you need to fiddle with things before you get them how you like them, it’s a good idea to leave the bricks laid out for a day or two. It’s easy enough to just move the bricks around until you have a design you love.
Keeping your path on the level
Then it is just a matter of cementing between your bricks. As mine have a large gap, I was able to leave the bricks in place and trowel cement between them. As I was working, I would level each individual brick. This is easiest to do with a large board, levelling a one foot square section at a time. The large board can be placed across the path so you know as you are working down or along your path, each one foot section will be level with both sides of the path. Don’t forget to occasionally turn the board lengthwise along your path to make sure you don’t have any lumps or dips too.
your diy cobblestone path is nearly complete!
Hardened cement is obviously very difficult to remove! It is really important to make sure as you are working, to clean cement off any spots you don’t want it to be. You will have another chance to do this when the cement is drying. After a couple of hours, it will get to a point where you can press a finger onto the cement and it will only leave a slight mark. When it is at this point, the cement between the bricks can be brushed with a broom, and the bricks can be scrubbed of any cement film.
Guess what you have now? Your very own DIY Cobblestone Path! Don’t forget to Pin for later!
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