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A garden wall in brick or stone may be more expensive than a fence,

but it'll weather attractively and last a lifetime.

You'll need planning permission for any wall over 1 metre high on the edge of a public highway,

and for any free-standing wall over 2 metres high.

Garden walls have lots of uses, such as:

Holding earth back so you can create a terraced area, or stop a steeply sloping bank from collapsing.

Creating a solid barrier next to a road or footpath to reduce noise, or for privacy.

To divide a garden into different areas, or provide extra seating around a feature like a terrace or pond.

To provide a low, solid base on which you can put up fencing, or build piers to support an overhead structure such as a pergola.


with railway sleepers

So you're thinking of building a retaining wall from railway sleepers? Maybe to terrace for your garden or level out a slope? Maybe to hold back your neighbours creeping soil ?

Whether you are planning a raised bed, retaining wall, pond or steps in the garden, you will find railway sleepers an excellent material to use.

Railway sleeper retaining walls are great alternatives to using bricks or stone.

Decorative block used in block screen construction

A brick wall is made of layers of bricks (known as 'courses') cemented together with mortar. The pattern in which the bricks are built is called the 'bond'. The idea of a bond is to stagger the vertical mortar joints so they're not in the same place in two or more consecutive courses. This spreads the wall's load along its length, which makes it stronger and more stable.

The three types of bond most often used for garden walls are stretcher bonds, English bonds and Flemish bonds. When you're working out the number of bricks you'll need for a particular bond, add an extra 5% to allow for cutting bricks and breakages.

English bond

You can form this pattern by laying alternate courses of stretchers and headers. Insert queen closers before the last header to maintain staggered joints at the ends of your wall, and at right-angled corners. You'll need approximately 120 bricks per square metre.

Flemish Bond

Headers and pairs of parallel stretchers alternate on each course to make a double-skin wall. Use queen closers on alternate courses to stagger the joints.

You'll need approximately 120 bricks per sq m.

Stretcher bond

You should use this type of bond for single-skin walls the thickness of a single brick, and double-skin walls when they're joined with wall ties. Lay all the bricks length ways with the long face exposed. Half-bricks (half-bats) complete the end of every other course on a straight wall, so that each vertical joint centres on the bricks above and below.

And to make corners, just alternate headers and stretchers. You'll need approximately 60 bricks per square metre.

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