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How to Build a Brick Garden Wall (page 1 of 2)

A freestanding decorative brick wall will add style and function to your yard .
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Step-by-Step Instructions:

Plan on doing this project over a couple of weekends. Lay the footings for the wall and allow it to dry for a few days before starting to build the wall.

In this technique, we build up the ends of the wall, like a flight of steps, and filling in the central area. Getting the first course of brickwork in the right position is essential. Keep checking it using profile boards and a level.

Laying Strip Footing

Drive in a stake at each end of the trench down to footing depth, and at intervals of 3 to 6 feet. Make sure they are vertical (image 1). Rest a level across the tops of adjacent stakes to make sure they are level (image 2). Pour concrete into the trench up to the top of the stakes (image 3). Use a metal float to smooth the concrete. The footings should be left to dry for a few days before building the wall (image 4).

Laying the First Bricks

Attach lines to the nails on your profile boards to provide a guide for the first course of bricks (Image 1).

Dry-lay the first row of bricks allowing for mortar joints of 1/2 inch. Cut half-bricks to maintain the bond (Image 2).

Mix up some mortar and lay a bed just over 1/2 inch deep for the first three bricks at the start of the first course (Image 3).

Use the point of the trowel to make some furrows in the mortar along its central line (Image 4).

Lay the first brick, applying a little pressure to bed it into the mortar. Use a level to check its alignment with the string lines above (Image 5). In this example, simple piers are being constructed at each end of the wall.

Completing the Course

Butter the end of the next brick and position it next to the first on the bed of mortar (Image 1).

Lay a level across the top of the bricks to check that they are level (Image 2). Apply more pressure to the top of the bricks where required in order to get them level.

Cut away excess mortar from around the brick bases, and remove excess mortar from the vertical joints (Image 3). Check and recheck their position, using the level across the top.

Continue along the course, positioning two or three bricks at a time and then cleaning the joints. Remove the profile boards and lines when the course is complete (Image 4).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009