A retaining wall is an important piece of your property’s landscape and can be used to help stabilize the soil around it. There are several ways to build a retaining wall, but laying bricks is one of the easiest methods. You can use this method if you have a small slope or if you are working with bricks that are already in place.
When it comes to home landscaping, there’s nothing like a retaining wall to add visual interest and value. Whether you’re building up a plain brick wall or using stones, pebbles, or other earth-colored elements in your design, here are the steps you need to know—from foundation to post-installation care.
Clean the bricks.
- Before you can begin laying brick, it is important to clean the bricks. This will ensure that the bricks are free of dirt and debris so they can be in contact with each other without any air gaps between them.
- You’ll want to get as much of the dirt off of your bricks as possible before laying them, so use either a wire brush on an angle grinder or a power washer with a high pressure nozzle if you need extra help removing stubborn dirt from your bricks. If you only have garden supplies available, then try using an old scrub brush or soft-bristled toothbrush instead of a wire brush; this will prevent any damage being done to the surface of your bricks while still giving them enough abrasiveness to remove all traces of dirt prior to laying them down on top of each other permanently
Mark the area where you want to lay the bricks to make sure it is straight.
Once you’ve decided where you want to lay the bricks, use a piece of string and a straightedge to mark your area. Make sure that the string is completely straight, then use a builder’s level or tape measure to make sure it’s level.
Lay out a bed of sand to lay the bricks on. This will keep them level.
Lay out a bed of sand to lay the bricks on. This will keep them level, and also prevent them from sinking into the ground or moving around. Sand is also helpful for keeping cracks from forming in the bricks as you lay them down. Finally, if you have wet soil, laying your bricks on sand will help keep them upright during construction when they can be easily pushed over by water or wind.
Pack the sand down firmly with a tamper or similar tool.
- Pack the sand down firmly with a tamper or similar tool.
- Tamp on top of the sand until it is packed tightly and there are no air pockets between the bricks.
Lay your first brick in place, making sure it is level side-to-side and end-to-end by using a builder’s level and straightedge.
After the mortar is set and cured, you can lay your first brick in place. Make sure it is level side-to-side and end-to-end by using a builder’s level and straightedge. If the brick is not level or straight, adjust it before laying the next brick.
Lay more bricks next to the first until you have laid a course. Then start another course above that, staggering the joints so they don’t line up from course to course.
- Lay more bricks next to the first until you have laid a course. Then start another course above that, staggering the joints so they don’t line up from course to course.
- Make sure the joints are level with each other and straight in line with the face of your wall. To make sure they’re lined up properly, use a laser level or spirit level (you know, those things you probably don’t have lying around) and mark out where each brick should go before laying it down.
- Make sure not to leave too much space between courses; this will make it hard to compact all of them together when you’re done building your retaining wall!
Keep laying courses until you have laid all your retaining wall bricks, remembering always to keep checking for level and alignment as you go.
- Keep laying courses until you have laid all your retaining wall bricks, remembering always to keep checking for level and alignment as you go.
- Check that the wall is straight and level, using a spirit level on each side of the wall. If there are any dips or bumps in the ground where you are building the retaining wall, place some bricks under these areas of your retaining wall to raise them up again (see Figure 15).
- Check that your joints are staggered by about one third of their height in both directions from each joint (see Figure 16).
- Make sure that both sides match up so that they meet at right angles (Figure 17). If they don’t quite match up properly, try and correct this by shifting some bricks around slightly until they do fit together perfectly (if possible).
With careful preparation and attention to detail, even a beginner can lay a retaining wall quickly and easily with no mortar that will last for years.
Before you begin to lay your brick retaining wall, it’s important to prepare the site and check for any potential problems.
First, check the level and alignment of your retaining wall footing. The more accurate these measurements are, the easier it will be for you to create an attractive finished product.
Checking for levelness is easy: hold a level along one side of your footing at its highest point (to account for sloping ground). Next, make sure that every row is perfectly aligned with its neighbor by using a straightedge and level or builder’s level. It may take several tries before you get everything exactly right—so don’t give up!
Good luck on your project.