Build a Backyard Labyrinth

Bring the serenity of a brick labyrinth into your backyard with these DIY instructions and tips for choosing plants and designs that suit the space.

Labyrinths offer a unique opportunity to reconnect with yourself, nature, and your community. They can be built to suit any budget or space, and can be temporary or permanent installations. Here’s a basic guide to making your own Chartres-style brick labyrinth — although you can apply these instructions to any style or material.

Photo by Getty Images/jonya

You can rough out the pattern for your labyrinth with leaves or cut grass, or lay out a rope to define the path before you begin laying bricks. Consider how many people you expect to walk the labyrinth at once, as well; this will affect the size of the center circle, and whether users will be able to stay at the center for a while or will need to continue on the unwinding path immediately.

Tools and Materials

  • Labyrinth pattern
  • Stake and rope
  • Temporary markers for your path
  • Spade
  • Newspaper
  • Builder’s sand
  • Bricks
  • Circular saw with masonry blade
  • Mallet
  • Masonry sand

Step 1:

Choose location. Find a location that will lend itself to the meditative, grounded act of walking a labyrinth, and be sure that it’s large enough for the design you want. Labyrinths are perfect for landscaping with low-growing herbs; if you want to plant the spaces between the paths of your labyrinth, consider the type of soil you have, the width of the beds, and whether you’ll be able to water your plantings.

Step 2:

Calculate size and area. Artress recommends keeping labyrinths small. “Sometimes people want to create a huge labyrinth,” she says, “but that can take a long time to walk. For a classical labyrinth, even 28 feet [in diameter] is large.” While you can always slow down your walking meditation, you won’t want to feel rushed!

See Labyrinth Formulas, below, for formulas and examples of labyrinth sizes. A 28-foot Chartres labyrinth will use about 615 square feet of path material, while a 44-foot version with 6-inch garden beds between paths will use about 1,060 square feet of path material.

Step 3:

Mark labyrinth. Mark the center of your labyrinth. You can easily lay out the concentric circles underlying a Chartres-style labyrinth with a stake and rope compass.

Photo by Getty Images/smontgom65

3/28/2019 11:40:00 AM

I like the natural labyrinth done in dirt, grass and stones. The Serenity is in getting in touch with the Earth. Thank you for the math, very interesting.

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