My husband had no idea that I had plans to reuse the bricks he tore out of all four levels of our old farmhouse. But I new from the very first brick that it would someday be a part of my brick sidewalk!
Six years of renovations and we finally started the front porch allowing time for me to plan and prepare a charming, antique brick sidewalk.
Then I moved to the driveway side of the path and began digging out the ground toward the porch and stopped digging when the difference in height of the 2 levels was 8-10". I put a 2x10 across the sidewalk where the step would be.
Then I poured in around 5-6" of crushed stone (paver base) onto the top level only raking it around until it was level. I did use a 4' level for this step as well and poured a little bit of extra stone in a couple of low sections. Then I tampered it down and checked again to make sure it was level. I layed the first row of bricks half way under the bottom step and then started to lay the rest of the bricks in a herringbone pattern, leveling every brick as I went. When I got close to where the step was going to be, I pulled the 2x10 out and dug a trench was about 1 feet deep and three times the width of the bricks. I poured 6 inches of gravel in and filled the rest of the trench in with concrete, checking again that it was level.
After the concrete dried, I mixed mortar and spread a 1/2" thick layer across the concrete. I laid the first row of brick in the mortar 1/2" apart and filled the gaps with mortar and wiped the front with a wet sponge. Then I topped the first row of bricks with mortar and another row of bricks until I reached the height of the upper sidewalk. While it dried, I filled in the bottom portion of the sidewalk with paver base, sand, and bricks. Then I back filled the riser with gravel, added an inch or 2 of leveling sand and filled in the rest of the herringbone pattern.
This was not a quick one day process. When you do a herringbone pattern, a lot of time is invested in cutting bricks. There is also a lot more time than you would expect laying out and leveling the bricks. If you plan ahead and have everything you need at your fingertips, you can count on this being a weekend project and possibly overflowing into a weeknight (depending on the size of your walkway).