A brick wall can be an excellent addition to a garden or landscaping scheme. Though masonry can be a complicated undertaking, construction of a short, curved brick wall is a fairly simple project that a novice can attempt. With the correct materials and a design plan, a brick wall of three feet in height or less can dress up your yard.
Planning Your Brick Wall
The first step in the process of building your brick wall is determining where you'd like to put it. A flat, even surface will make construction and maintenance much easier. Measure the area you'd like your wall to cover, and use that to calculate how many bricks and how much mortar you'll need. If you know the total wall length and height, you can use the length and height of the bricks to figure this out. Since your wall will be curved, you'll need to cut bricks when you reach the curved areas. This can be accomplished using a masonry saw.
Preparing the Area
Before you can begin to lay your brick, you'll need to prepare the ground. Dig a curved trench of the same length and width as your wall. Next, hammer in wooden posts every 3 feet. These will serve as your footings. Be sure that the footings are even by using a level to check their top ends.
Next, fill the trench with cement only to the level of the top of the footings. Use a metal float tool to smooth the top of the cement and be sure it's even. Let the cement dry for several days before attempting to add bricks.
Once several days have passed, fill your trench with bricks. Leave a half inch of space between each to allow room for mortar. After mixing your mortar per manufacturer instructions, spread a thick layer (about half an inch) over the bricks you've laid. Use your trowel or another mortar tool to make furrows (impressions) in the mortar.
Once you've covered the first row of bricks with mortar, you're ready to begin the second row. Push firmly on the bricks as you add them to the next row so that they're sturdily implanted in the mortar. Use a level to be sure that all of the bricks are even. Continue adding mortar between bricks as you go. Be sure that the bricks' edges aren't perfectly aligned with those beneath them (though you no longer can see the first row of bricks); they should vary for the sake of stability.
Once you have a solid base of bricks and are above ground height, you'll need to begin construction on the above-grade portion of your wall. Use posts at the edges of your wall to ensure newly added bricks are flush on the wall's outer edges.
When building the next portion of your wall, you may wish to build up the wall on either end and fill in the interior portions diagonally as you go. No matter your approach, you should ensure that the bricks overhang those below them by at least half their size, as this will make your wall much stronger.
You may wish to flip bricks over on the topmost row so that their finished side is out. You should apply a bit of mortar to the top of this highest level to function as a cap, but smooth it out so there are no lingering globs of mortar when dried.
In cold climates, check the mortar of your brick wall every year for cracks and make repairs as needed. Bricks will last for many years, but if the mortar starts to crumble, the integrity of your wall may be jeopardized.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).