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How to build a brick wall

You might think that playing with lego taught you how to build a brick wall. However, there’s a lot more to this skill than meets the eye. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional to complete any structural works or repairs.

You might think that playing with lego taught you how to build a brick wall. However, there’s a lot more to this skill than meets the eye. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional to complete any structural works or repairs.

However, for lower-key or decorative walls, like garden or home features, then follow our step-by-step guide for some top-rated advice.

How to build a brick wall

Building a brick wall isn’t an easy job. You need to be confident and competent when it comes to completing this challenge before attempting it. Lots can go wrong, so be prepared!

To work out how much building a brick wall might set you back, read our guide: cost to build a brick wall or cost to build a breeze block wall for a comprehensive breakdown.

Tools you’ll need for the job

how to build a brick wall in your gardenBefore you get started, be sure to add the following to your arsenal:

  • Safety equipment: gloves, goggles and overalls
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Spade
  • Bolster chisel
  • Brick trowel and jointer
  • Club hammer
  • Mortar
  • Brush
  • Timber
  • Pins
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How to build a brick wall step by step

Now you’re equipped, let’s get started.

How to build a brick wall foundation

How to build a brick wall with pillars - string levelStep one: The first thing you need to do is prepare the ground for the brickwork. The best way to do this is to dig a trench about half a foot (6 inches) deep using a spade. Make sure it’s level before moving onto the next step.

Top tip: Consider laying a solid foundation for the bricks to adhere to, such as concrete or concrete bricks.

Step two: Once your foundation is ready, you need to work out how many levels (courses) of bricks you’d like. A good way to do this is to measure the height of the bricks you’re using and multiply them by the number of courses you’d need to achieve your desired height.

Top tip: A piece of wood marked with the height of your bricks and the desired height of your wall will help you gauge the correct level as you stack each course.

Step three: Based on the instructions of the make you chose, mix the mortar until you achieve a creamy texture.

How to build a brick wall with pillars

Step four: If you’re building a double brick wall and want to add pillars to each side, be sure to place your first brick at the end side-on. You need at least three bricks to form a pillar, so the other two need to point the same way as the wall, creating a square shape.

Top tip: When building pillars, always lay these a course ahead and alternate directions on each level. Imagine the formation as an ‘I’ with an ‘=’. Then as a ‘=’ and an ‘I’ for the next layer etc.

How to lay a brick wall base

Step five: Once you’re ready to lay your bricks, it’s time to get to work. Start by placing a piece of wood or timber along the foundation you’ve dug to use as a guide, then fill the foundation with a thin layer of mortar (no more than 2cm deep). This is your bedding layer.

Step six: Next, place your first brick at one end, then add some mortar to the side of your second brick that will touch the first, making sure to thin out towards the edges. Repeat these steps until you have the first course.

Top tip: Use the spirit measure on each brick to ensure a level rise.

Step seven: Be sure your bricks are the right size by measuring and cutting them using your bolster chisel and club hammer. Simply score the brick where you want to cut it, align the chisel vertically, then hit down on its top with the hammer, which should split the brick to size. Wear your safety equipment when tackling this step to avoid rogue chips and accidents.

Note: To create the ‘lego’ effect characteristic of most walls, you’ll need to halve several bricks, so this is a good time to do that.

How to build a double brick wall

Step eight: Once the first course is finished, tapped in and levelled, trowel on some mortar over the top of around three bricks from the edge. Bricks need building with the ‘frog’ facing upwards, so you’ll need a lot more mortar at this point. Use the trowel to create triangles as you fill in the mortar, which will create helpful pockets of air.

Step nine: The first brick you lay on the second course will be one of the bricks you halved during step seven. Be sure to tap it in and ensure it’s level using your spirit level. Use your gauge rod as a guide. Now, lay a second (full-sized) brick against the first and repeat at the opposite end.

Step ten: A great way to make sure your wall is straight is to use a level line. After you’ve placed the first three bricks, add the pin at the opposite side of the wall within the base mortar, then line the string along the wall, up and over the three newly laid bricks, and down to the other side of the wall, pinning into the base mortar that side. Then finish laying the bricks on your second course.

Repeat until your wall is at the height you want!

Step eleven: Use your brick jointer to fill in any mortar gaps and create a smooth finish.

How to build a brick garden wall

To build a garden wall, follow the steps above.

Just make sure you’re aware of the building regulations. You’ll need planning permission for a free-standing garden wall over two metres and for a wall over one metre high next to a public highway. Be sure to check before you start any work.

It’s always best to hire a professional for your work as they will know what you can and can’t do.

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Can I build a brick wall myself?

Although a basic brick wall for your garden makeover project might be worth tackling yourself, if you want to build a structural wall or you want to know how to build a brick wall with piers or how to build a curved wall, we highly recommend hiring a professional to carry out these tricker jobs for you. They are not worth attempting by yourself.

How do you lay bricks for beginners?

You follow our above step-by-step guide or you hire one of our professionals to make sure you achieve the desired results.

How deep should footings be for a brick wall?

At the very minimum, 6-inches deep and three times the thickness of the bricks.

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