Leftover or salvaged bricks serve many useful functions around the garden.

Outside Brick Projects for a Garden

by Kathy Adams

A bunch of bricks leftover from a project won't do much good sitting in a pile for years. Rather than leaving them out of sight and out of mind, put those bricks to good use around the garden as edging or a pathway. Both unused bricks and bricks that are well weathered from a torn down structure can be repurposed around the garden, as old bricks add a natural antique or shabby chic charm to the area.

1. Edging

An unedged garden can look a bit unkempt over time, but you can remedy that with an edging made from bricks. Set them on edge either standing tall or on their sides, in a shallow trench dug along the perimeter of the garden or flower bed, or set them at a slight angle with a little more digging to set one corner of each brick down deeper than the rest of the brick. An assortment of beach-washed bricks provides a more organic look for edging, as each brick will be a slightly different shape and size due to many years spent in the water, emulating the look of stones given the same treatment.

2. Pathway

Create a path from patio or deck to garden using new bricks or salvaged bricks for a more weathered look. To create a layout, use two garden hoses, each representing one side of the path, then dig a trench 6 or 7 inches deep between them. A bed of tamped-down sand beneath the bricks helps keep them flat. You can build a winding path to a meditation garden or reflection pond, or a circular walkway around a water feature. For added variation, use bricks of assorted colors, or create a border for the pathway with an alternate brick color, such as gray bricks or stones around a red brick path.

3. Plant Platforms

Stacks of bricks serve as plant stands with only a little stacking effort required. Create a pyramid-style plant display with a large quantity of bricks, creating a stairway up one side and down the other by varying the number of bricks on each row. For a true step pyramid design, start with one large square layer of bricks, followed by successively smaller square layers, creating a 3-dimensional pyramid. Place your favorite or most colorful potted plant on the top to show it off, with other plants on the lower levels of the pyramid. To keep it simpler, create small squares of bricks as individual plant platforms with only one or two layers of bricks each.

4. Raised Bed Garden

Bricks serve as border for a raised bed garden as large or small as you'd like. A shallow trench holds the bricks in place around the perimeter of the garden bed. Add fresh soil inside the bricked area to start a new garden. For a taller and more permanent raised bed garden, stack the bricks across one another, building style, with mortar between layers of bricks. A fountain or water feature surround can be built in much the same fashion.

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