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Gardener and Gannett News Service editor Lisa Kaplan Gordon quotes economist John Harris and 

California appraiser Sandy MacCuish when she says landscaping adds to the overall value of a house. So you mow the lawn and trim the trees and water the garden to keep it looking nice and inviting. And it certainly does 

until you allow your guests to trudge through wet grass to your front door instead of building a convenient path for them to use—sparing the life of that gorgeous green grass you've been raising all season.

Next time you find yourself stepping around mud to get the Sunday paper or trundling through wet grass to pick tomatoes from the garden, think about how nice it would be to have a brick path, especially if it was budget friendly and added value to your property.

Picking the Location

The path should be conveniently located, but also needs to be at least three feet away from trees; if you don't, you risk not be able to dig up the top layer of soil for the base and bricks, as large tree roots will make this difficult if not impossible. It's crucial that you plan the path location before digging by laying rope, string or hose the length of the path to see if your idea of path placement has any inferences (bushes, tree roots).

The path needs to be between three and four feet wide. Design it to connect entrances and different sections of the yard.

What About Equipment?

You’ll save a ton of money on labor if you do it yourself. The other costs (e.g. materials, tools and equipment) depend on what type of bricks you use, what tools you already have, and what tools or equipment you buy or rent for the project.

Using the right equipment for your project will make it easier and you'll finish building much quicker. Rather than shoveling dirt, use a mini excavator or backhoe to dig up the six to eight inches of top soil quickly and make it easier to move soil and base materials. Then, rather than using a manual tamper the length of the path to compact the sand and crushed stone base, renting compaction equipment takes much less time and effort. Tools you’ll need: tape measure, mallet, spade, shovels, screed, level, push broom, chisel, hammer and a masonry saw to cut brick.

How to Lay a Brick Path

Building an attractive, long-lasting brick path takes a weekend and a little planning according to “This Old House” senior editor Mark Powers. He and landscape contractor Roger Cook caution DIY homeowners to keep the path away from trees with roots that could potentially push bricks up. They suggest a good base under the bricks, as well as a slight slope for better drainage and to avoid displacement of bricks from freezing and thawing of water.

Use bricks rated for severe weather over a base of crushed stone and stone dust topped with sand tamped down well.