Summary: Learn how to build a garden wall, build a stretcher bond wall, lay the first course, rack the wall ends, fill in between piers, point the joints, construct a corner and build a stretcher bond corner.
Bricklaying is a skill that requires a long time to master. However, there is no reason why the DIY enthusiast should not attempt to build garden walls. You must remember that planning permission may be required for walls that reach above a specified height, usually 2m (6ft). All walls must be built upon firm foundations. How high and wide the wall is going to be will determine the depth of the foundations. Also, there are different ways of laying the bricks called brick bonds. Below we explain in more detail many of the terms and techniques related to bricklaying.
One factor that influences the number of bricks needed for the job is how the courses (rows of bricks) will be laid, so you first need to decide on the brick bond.
Bricks laid end to end with their long side facing out are called stretchers. Bricks laid with their short side facing out are called headers. The formation of headers and stretchers is known as the brick bond. There are three main bonds:
Before you can start laying bricks, you will need to dig foundations for the wall. These consist of trenches filled with concrete and are called strip footings (see How to build strip foundations).
The technique for building a wall is the same for all bond types - simply change the pattern of bricks accordingly. Building a simple single skin stretcher bond wall, as described here, is probably the best starting point for the beginner.
It is essential that the first course of bricks is completely level; otherwise the rest of the wall will be out of true.
When laying bricks, it is essential to check frequently they are level using a spirit level and the strings of the profile boards.
The process of racking involves building up the piers and the ends of the wall, creating a series of steps leading up from the first course of bricks. Racking at either end of the wall makes laying bricks in the space between easier.
Check the joints between the bricks are even by checking them with a gauge rod.
Position the spirit level against the steps to check the gradient is even.
Now fill in the brick courses started off by the stepped lead.
The method for building a corner depends upon the brick bond you are using. Stretcher bond corners use whole bricks laid at right angles. English and Flemish bond walls use a brick cut in half lengthways, known as a queen closer, to fill in the gap and maintain the pattern of the bond. Whatever method you employ it is critical that angle at the corner is exactly 90°.
When building walls with corners it is important to start building the corner first.
Position the spirit level diagonally across the tops of both walls to check they are level.
To ensure the bond is continued lay the first brick of the second course over the corner joint on the first course.
Author: C J Mills Google+
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