Is your outdoor area looking less like a personal oasis due to your dull patio bricks? Are you trying to stay on a budget and create your own personal sanctuary?

Working with the material you already have can cut costs drastically. Staining your preexisting bricks is a great alternative to purchasing expensive bricks or stones.

It's getting that time of year when we all yearn to spend any extra time lounging outside in the warm sun. Can you imagine kicking back in your chair, the flowers blooming all around you, the smell of jasmine in the air, patio bricks that look completely lifeless, the cool breeze on your neck...WAIT, back it up. Lifeless bricks? Oh no. That's not the oasis you had in mind, now was it? Were you thinking more of vibrant, rich color with a nice glossy sheen?

It's achievable and with a less expensive price tag than purchasing new bricks if you don't mind a little work and sweat. It's a simple procedure that most anyone with patience can achieve. Stain. Yeah, you're going, "Whaaa?" No, really. After successfully staining a brick fireplace, I took a look at our neglected patio area and thought, "Why not?." 

You only need a few materials to get started. A broom, vacuüm cleaner , possibly an extension cord, thick gloves (latex gloves tend to split open at the fingertips), pack of sponges, roller, paint pan, stain, and either polyurethane or brick sealer. You can pick these up at any local hardware store.

To begin the process, clean the patio area. Move any furniture, rugs, or potted plants off of the patio. Sweep the bricks thoroughly to rid the area of any dirt or debris. Next, vacuüm between the bricks or any cracks where dirt lodged. I recommend a shop vac, however if you are like me and do not own one, don't fret. You can use the hose from an indoor vacuüm cleaner. If the bricks are still not clean, you may need to rinse them to eliminate all the dirt. In this case, allow the bricks to fully dry and vacuüm again any remaining debris that may have blown or fallen on the bricks since you last rinsed them.

Next, it's time to suit up and get ready to work. Get your stain, sponges, and gloves. Make sure you put on your gloves, because stain isn't the most forgiving thing to get off  your skin or from under your nails. If you purchased latex gloves or gloves of a similar thickness, you will have to change gloves often as they break easily from the pressure you will be applying through your fingertips. Open the can of stain you chose and stir. 

Now, here comes the fun part! It's time to stain. Keep in mind that the consistency is runny, so a little goes a long way. You can either sponge the stain on the top part of the brick or you can cover the grout between the bricks as well. This will depend on what type of bricks you have and how they were previously laid and secured. You get to make the rules based on your preference. This can seem like a fairly slow process, especially if you have a lot of area to cover. I suggest listening to some relaxing music or even better getting an early start. The birds chirping is always a soothing sound.

It's time to take that much-needed break right about now to allow for ample drying time. Once the first coat of stain is dry, you may find the original color of the brick showing through depending on the thickness of the first layer you applied. Feel free to apply as many or as few of coats as needed until you have reached your desired color. Let the bricks dry each time in between coats.

Are you ready to complete the last step that really transforms the entire project? I am! Pour polyurethane or brick sealer into a paint pan. Take your roller and coat well with the sealer. Start in the corner and roll this all over your patio area. This is where the magic happens. Suddenly your old lifeless bricks have come to life and are more vibrant than you can ever recall. Control the temptation and allow this to dry completely over the next 24 hours before walking on your new patio floor. 

Once dried, transfer all the items you cleared away for this project. Pour a glass of lemonade and admire what YOU have accomplished. Now you have a patio area with the groundwork to build an oasis.