Building a Brick Garden Wall
A brick garden wall will add beauty to an otherwise plain looking yard. They can also add value to your property as well. Building a brick wall is not difficult and only requires that you follow some basic instructions and you can have the projected completed in a relatively short amount of time.
Tool and Material Requirements
As with any project, there will be some basic necessities. Depending on the design that you actually choose, you will create your materials list, for which you can get help from the local home improvement store. These basic tools and materials will include:
- Cement mix – it is recommended that you buy a ready-mix type of concrete for this project. With this mixture, you simply add water and mix it up to an oatmeal consistency.
- Concrete mix – for the footer
- Crushed stone
- Masons line
- Cement trowel
- Cement jointer
Step 1 – Create the Footer
Start out creating the footer for the brick garden wall. If you are starting the wall on a concrete pad, then this will already be done, but if you are building it in a dirt area, then the footer will be necessary.
Dig down approximately 1 foot deep for the length of the garden wall. Then you will make a turn until your footer is an “L” shape. Fill the hole using the concrete mixture. Make sure the surface of the footer is smooth and level then allow it time to properly cure. The length of time will vary depending on your concrete mixture. Follow the instructions given by the concrete mix manufacturer.
Step 2 – Do a “Dry Run”
It’s always a good idea to lay the bricks out to get an idea of how the wall will be run. There will be some subtle differences when you actually make you final run of the wall because of the missing mortar, but it will give you an idea of how the course will run.
Use a chalk line to snap out a line on the footer to mark placement of your first run of bricks.
Step 3 – Mix your Mortar and Start Your Course
Only mix enough mortar to last you approximately 1-1 ½ hours. The mortar will become unusable after that. Using the chalk line that you snapped as a guide, begin laying your first course. Be sure not to overuse the mortar mix, and use a level to make sure that your course is staying level as you go along. This is very important in making sure that your brick garden wall remains level in all areas.
Build your wall using a double withe. In other words, you would actually be building a double wall, one in front of the other. This is necessary to help the wall stay stable and maintain its strength. You could actually build a wall with a single withe, but it is nowhere nearly as strong and it would literally take very little to knock it down.
When you start the next course, you want to make use of your mason’s line to help ensure that your layers stay even. Constantly check with you level to make sure everything is uniform.
Your second course of bricks should be staggered from the first. This adds strength and it is more visually appealing. You never want to run a brick wall straight up.
When you can push your thumb into the mortar, and it maintains your thumb print, it’s time to use the “strike” joints. Use the jointing tool to smooth the mortar joints between each run.
Continue the process until your wall reaches the desired level. Once you have reached that point, it’s time to “cap” the wall. The last row of bricks will be turned to cover both withes with the bricks on the top layer all going in the same direction.
Take your time, and check yourself as you go along ensuring that everything is level. If you build the wall up too quickly, then the mortar joints may start to “sag” from the weight of the layers above them. On the other hand, if you move too slowly, then you will likely end up wasting a fair amount of mortar.
Once your brick garden wall has been completed, and allowed to properly cure, you can then begin to fill the area with topsoil and prepare it for growing your vegetation.