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10 Ways to Breathe New Life into Brick

Written by  Nikki van Coller
| in Tuin
| November 10, 2015

While brand new brick driveways or patios can look beautiful, old worn brick areas can be cold and dull; a real eyesore, detracting from the aesthetics of your house or garden. Pulling everything up and re-doing it is of course a very costly exercise, which makes it tempting to simply leave it as it is. But in this age of recycling and upcycling, there are a number of great creative ideas to liven up a bricked area without breaking the bank.

Here we look at 10 ways to do just that. With a little creativity, some found, bought or upcycled materials, you can turn any brick area into a masterpiece!

1. Stones

Add some interest by mixing up two different textures. Use a few flat stones or paving stones and decide where you would like them to go. You could either scatter them randomly between the bricks or choose a specific area you want to draw attention to. Then remove the bricks you don’t need, lay the stones or tiles, and close any gaps with the leftover bricks.

2. Pebbles

Similar to the idea above, you create a pattern in the brick by replacing single bricks or portions of the brick with pebbles. These can be found at nurseries, along river beds or on the beach. You can either mix it up by using a variety of pebbles or stick to one tone. Smooth black beach pebbles in a pattern between the bricks can look absolutely stunning.

3. Plants

Why have a large driveway or patio area that’s just plain old brick when you can add greenery and liven the whole thing up? Here again, you can choose random spots to remove the bricks and replace them with plants, or you can make a pattern from the plants you choose. Remember to make sure that the plants you choose are suitable for the amount of sunlight they will receive. (See the tutorial at the end of this article.)

4. Cement

If you have a large bricked area, you could add a point of interest by removing a section or sections of the bricks, and then creating a screed cement pattern, focal point or path. Another inexpensive, relatively easy way to add warmth to a large cold brick area.
5. Solar bricks

A really wonderful idea is to replace a few bricks with solar bricks. Whether for a patio, driveway or walkway, you will only need a few at most. Simply replace the ordinary brick with a solar brick; they charge during the daylight, and at night they light up to create a lovey ambience.

6. Mosaic feature

Choose an area of your patio or paving that could be a good focal point. Then design your own mosaic feature using tiles or cement, along with anything interesting you have lying around – like an old gate or a bicycle wheel – and create a beautiful mosaic feature that draws the eye in and detracts from the cold brick. A few mosaic supplies and a creative weekend is all you need to create a lasting, personal work of art that lives in your garden.

7. Plant feature

Break up a large dead brick area with a lovely green focal point. You are basically placing a garden bed somewhere in the middle of the bricks and planting your chosen plants. You can either plant a variety of different plants, or choose just one type or one colour to use. Simply measure the area you want to plant, remove the bricks and ensure a nice uniform border. Then add compost and good soil to the area, and plant away! Having just one type of plant in your bed means it is much easier to control in terms of sunlight and water required, and the monotone against the brick can also look very inviting.  

8. Paint

Another interesting way to liven up your driveway, paving or patio and give it a bohemian feel, is to paint some of the bricks. The idea here is not to paint too many of them, but simply to create a colourful contrast. Remove the bricks you want to paint, clean them thoroughly with soap, water and a brush and then let them dry out completely. Get a small tin of porous paint in your three favourite colours and paint each brick carefully. Once they have dried, simply place them back in the spot they came from. Pour some soil into the space between the bricks to make them more secure. Water will help the soil and the brick settle. If you have a slightly bigger budget, you could stain the bricks, rather than paint them.

9. Moss

Moss and brick make a striking contrast of colour and texture. Bricks are cold and hard by their very nature, so why not add a touch of something soft and natural? Growing moss in the space between bricks is relatively easy and gives your surface a dash of rustic colour and softens up the space.  Either buy moss from your local nursery or collect it where it is already growing.  Be sure to remove any weeds growing between bricks, and clean the brick surface with a broom or brush. Then wet the bricks, carefully tear the moss into small narrow pieces and press them down into the space between the bricks. Try to avoid walking on the moss for a few weeks, and keep it moist using a spray bottle. This will obviously work better in a shady moist area.

10. Crazy Paving

Crazy paving is exactly what it sounds like! If you’re tired of the cold brick, go mad. Gather stones, pebbles, blocks of wood, tiles, plants and anything that catches your interest. Then set about designing a new area, interspersing your goodies with the original bricks into a unique, creative space. You can choose to design and plan the area first, or simply start removing bricks and replacing them with your chosen materials, letting the design happen organically as you go. The project can also stretch over several weeks or months, provided you are only removing the bricks you are replacing that day.

As you can see from the above ideas, brick needn’t be boring, and breathing life into brick areas doesn’t have to be expensive. The only limit is your imagination.