How to build garden walls

Building mortared-brick or concrete-block walls. Any mortared wall needs a concrete footing. Mix only as much mortar as you can use in about 1 hour; when it begins to stiffen, discard it and mix more.

Lay bricks in a staggered pattern, with each joint centered on the brick beneath. As you work, be sure that all courses are straight and level and that ends are square.

A brick wall 4 feet high should be 8 inches thick (one brick length or two widths); cap it by laying a row of bricks crosswise. A 6-foot wall should be 1 foot thick. You can get the extra thickness without using extra bricks by leaving a space in the middle and closing the ends with overlapping bricks. Imbed galvanized steel ties in the mortar atop every fifth course;
space them about 2 feet apart. Special caps are needed for the top course.

Concrete-block walls, although less attractive than brick ones, are easier and cheaper to build. The principles are the same, but it takes far fewer blocks for the same size wall. A single 12-inch thickness of concrete block is enough for a wall up to 8 feet high. Use special caps for the top course, or fill the holes in the top blocks with stiff concrete. Lay small-dimension wire mesh one course down so that the concrete won’t fall through.