Building Masonry Walls

leveling foundation

A masonry wall makes a formidable impression in the landscape, and building one is a formidable task, especially if you've never built one before. But putting up a brick, stone, or concrete block wall is a job well within your reach. You will need determination, skill, practice, and patience. Plan to spend substantial time on the job too; a wall is not a weekend project.

Projects in Masonry Walls

It's tough, but no other project provides quite the satisfaction as a completed masonry wall.

Walls are the dividing lines and corridors of a landscape design. As such they have a number of practical functions: directing traffic, focusing the view, blocking unsightly objects, guiding travel through your yard. What's more, most of these functions can be adequately carried out with low structures -- 3 feet often suffices.

Walls are classified in two categories depending on what holds them together. Dry-laid or dry-set walls rely on gravity and friction as the primary bonding agents. Dry-set walls, which are constructed only of stone, do not require a footing. Mortared walls are constructed of brick, stone, or other material held together with mortar, a mixture of cement and other ingredients. You can use any masonry material for a mortared wall, and all mortared walls require a footing.

Walls are also classified according to purpose: freestanding or retaining walls. Freestanding walls have a decorative function and stand by themselves within the landscape. They are built with aesthetic considerations in mind. Retaining walls are aesthetic too but have to be strong because their primary purpose is to hold back earth on a slope or hillside. Retaining walls provide an excellent (and sometimes the only) solution when you want to put a patio at the bottom of a slope and therefore must cut into the slope to make room for it.

No matter what kind of wall you're building, you'll find all the information you need in this section.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!