Outdoor Patio Ideas With Old Chicago Brick

Salvaged Old Chicago common brick comes from demolished historic buildings in the Chicago area. The reclaimed antique bricks, composed of natural clay, were fired in traditional coal kilns. Each brick batch possesses unique variations in color, ranging from shades of pink to soft gold. Old Chicago bricks occasionally include flecks of gold, yellow or black. These bricks lend themselves beautifully to a variety of outdoor patio applications.


Consider an entire patio surface paved with Old Chicago bricks. This application is a favorite among homeowners preferring historically accurate architecture and landscaping. Instead of laying a simple running bond pattern, take advantage of the beauty of the bricks by trying your hand at more intricate paving designs. Herringbone and basket weave patterns provide the perfect showcase for these repurposed bricks. These patterns can be a challenge but are worth the time and effort.


Old Chicago brick walls around the perimeter of a patio give your hardscape the perfect finishing touch. Block the prying eyes of neighbors with an old Chicago brick privacy wall. Construct a low brick wall to delineate a pool area. A series of low walls can be used to create separate living spaces within your patio.

Light Columns

Every patio benefits from well-placed ambient lighting. If you are considering an Old Chicago brick wall around the patio area, light columns incorporated into the wall design will provide soft lighting for entertaining and added security for your home. Have your electrician prewire the columns and top them with outdoor carriage lamp, lantern or craftsman-style fixtures for a traditional look.


Nothing beats a crackling patio fireplace on a chilly evening. Construct a fire pit or fireplace from Old Chicago brick to give your patio a focal point for year-round outdoor entertaining and family gatherings. Find plans for do-it-yourselfers, or hire the job out to a contractor specializing in patio design. Choose a simple wood-burning fireplace or opt for ease of operation with a gas-powered version.

Barbecue Pits and Grill Surrounds

Outdoor cooking takes on a new dimension with an Old Chicago brick barbecue pit or a surround for a stylish, stainless outdoor grill. Turn a portion of your patio into a fully functional cooking area by adding a bar and prep area constructed of this popular reclaimed brick material. Incorporate cabinets and a small sink and refrigerator, and top with tile or granite counters to turn your barbecue area into an outdoor kitchen.

Raised Planters

Raised planters constructed of Old Chicago brick are a great way to add interest to an otherwise boring patio area. Select bricks that coordinate with your Chicago brick pavers for a truly custom outdoor space. Raised planters provide good drainage, easy access for plant care and visual interest. If you have basic brick-laying experience, raised planters are relatively easy to construct.

Keywords: Chicago brick, patio ideas, antique pavers, barbecue plans, lighting columns, masonry walls

About this Author

Linda Chechar is a journalist/copywriter with 20 years of experience in the newspaper, retail advertising and automotive industries. She received a B.A. in journalism from Northwestern State University in 1978. Her recent articles are featured on eHow.com. Chechar currently resides in Montevideo, Uruguay, and is a freelancer covering a variety of general-interest subjects.

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