Shake up a can of spray paint and spray the ground to designate the perimeter of the patio. Once you are satisfied with the results, drive a wooden stake into the ground at each corner point with a hammer.
Tie a piece of string to the bottom of one of the stakes at ground level. Wrap the string around each of the remaining stakes to define the perimeter then tie the end to the first stake.
Position a shovel on the outside of the string then drive it into the ground 2 inches. Dig all the way around the perimeter to create a small trench. Move to the inside of the patio area and dig out the top 7 inches of ground with the shovel. When you reach an area that is clearly mounded up, remove more soil until the area appears even.
Place a long board over the top of the excavation site so that it rests on the ground at either side. Use a tape measure to determine the height from the board to the ground all the way across the area. This lets you know if the ground is even. Dig out any areas that are too high.
Place a roll of landscape fabric at one side of the excavation site and unroll it to the other side. Cut the excess fabric off with a utility knife and lay additional rows until the entire area is covered. Overlap each piece by 4 to 5 inches.
Pour 3-1/2 inches of gravel into the area and smooth the top of it out with a rake. Compact it with a hand tamper by repeatedly hitting it with the flat base of the tool. Then use the long board to again check the area for levelness.
Add 1 inch of coarse sand on top of the gravel and smooth it out. Place a level on top of the sand in various locations to ensure that there are no dips or hills.
Lay the bricks on top of the sand in any desired pattern, making sure to press the edges of each brick up as close as possible to the nearest one.
Lay metal L-shaped edging around the perimeter of the patio and drive metal stakes through every fourth hole so that they extend into the ground.
Spread sand over the top of the bricks with the shovel then push the sand in between the bricks with a push broom. Spray the bricks and sand with water to complete the installation.