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How to Build a Garden Wall

A low level garden wall can be a great way to create a fantastic garden feature such as a raised bed, edging a patio or even a brick built  bbq.

A low level garden wall providing it is not a retaining wall and is lower than 900mm should be achievable for the average DIYer, anything larger than this would be best left to a professional bricklayer.

Allowing adequate time to prepare for your garden wall build is a recipe for success, most bricklayers have years of experience so it may be worthwhile building a practice wall using a lime mortar mix.

Tools you will require:

  • Brick trowel
  • Wheel barrow
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • String line
  • Shovel
  • Club hammer
  • Bolster
  • Brush
  1. Dig the foundations. The first and most important task is to install a concrete foundation. Mark out the line and position of the wall and then dig out the foundations. Dig a trench (approx. 200mm deep and 300mm wide) where the wall will be. The width of the foundation should be 250mm wider than the wall you intend to build and the wall should be built in the centre of the foundations making sure that the distances A and B are the same.
  2. Fill the foundations. Fill in the trench with concrete. For foundations, use a mix of 1 part cement to 5 parts ballast . Don’t make too much cement in 1 go otherwise you will find it drying out before you need it. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing including a face mask to protect yourself from any dust. Its important that the foundation trench is dug with a flat smooth bottom and the thickness of the concrete is the same throughout the length of the foundation.
  3. Build one course at a time. Stretch a building line (or length of string pulled really tight) from one end of the foundations to the other. Using a trowel, spread mortar (5 parts building sand to 1 part cement) evenly over the foundations and then over the blocks of each course. The mortar should slightly exude from between the joints (10mm) and any surplus should be removed with the trowel.  Fill vertical joints as you go by applying mortar to one end of the block before positioning it adjacent to the previously laid block, this is known as buttering the brick.  Build one course of bricks at a time, checking with a spirit level vertically, horizontally and diagonally.  Remove excess mortar so it does not stain the face of the block using a cutting motion.
  4. Lay in a stretcher bond. The blocks should be laid in a stretcher bond using half blocks at the end of each course. Stretcher bond uses 60 bricks to the square metre in a half-brick, or single skin wall and 120 to construct a double skin, or One-brick wall. Bricks generally have an indent or frog and this should be laid upwards and filled with mortar.
  5. Top the wall. The wall can be topped with matching bricks or special coping stones. Using a pointer trowel, smooth and finish the mortar joints.

If you feel you do not have the skill needed to complete your garden wall, please do not hesitate to contact us and 1 of our skilled bricklayers will be able to help you in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas.