DIY Home Renovations and Home Improvements - Lets Do It

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Mitreplan – Do Your Own Bricklaying

Kevin and Faye built a garden bed using concrete blocks and a MITREPLAN. They chose blocks because they match the existing garden wall, but they’re also a fast way to build, and accessories like capping and pre-formed corners make the job easy.

Step 1: Set up the work area with all your materials and equipment close at hand. Keep your mortar or cement dry. Clear away any debris, plants and turf in the area where the blocks will be laid.

Step 2: Dig a shallow trench for the mortar bed. There’s no need for concrete footings when the wall is only a couple of courses high. Then sit the blocks in place to check where the cuts will be. Use the 3:4:5 triangle method to make sure your setout lines are square. Mix your mortar in a barrow or on a board, adding a little water at a time until it’s wet enough to easily make a furrow with a trowel, but not so sloppy that the furrow collapses.

Step 3: Place stringlines to give you a level and straight line for the outside edge of your blocks, then set the first corner block in place. Tap it into place so that it aligns with your string, then “butter” one end of the next block and tap it into place, cleaning off excess mortar as you go with your trowel. Concrete blocks have an open and closed side – the open (holes) side goes down, so it beds-in better, and the closed side goes up so the next bed of mortar won’t fall down the holes.

Step 4: Cut blocks with a wet saw or angle grinder fitted with a diamond blade.

Step 5: Lay the next course by spreading a “sausage” of mortar on the previous course, making a furrow with your trowel and setting the next block straight, level and plumb. Offset each block by half to get a normal brick pattern (called “stretcher bond”).

Step 6: Cap your garden wall with treated pine if you want a seat, or simply glue down the precast concrete caps with Selleys Liquid Nails Landscape. Use plenty of glue, and wiggle the capping to bed it down.

Step 7: Fill up your new garden with plants! The mortar will dry and set over the next few weeks, so you’ll have to wait if you want to paint it.

tip Faye and Kev's Tips:
Wet the blocks before laying to prevent them from sucking water from the mortar mix.

Get a hand if possible; it’s much quicker and easier if one person mixes “mud” while the other lays the bricks or blocks.




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