Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Youngster
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Actually, not a retaining wall really, but for lack of a better term. Wife wants a kidney shaped raised flower garden wit ha small fruit tree in it. Probably raised about 2ft. Then she wants a terraces with raised boxes for her garden in the backyard that she can walk through easily and always reach every plant without walking through the dirt. Each terrace about 18" high on this one.

We've got about 6 cubes of brick that match well left over from another job. Everyone these days is doing all walls out of segmented or boulders. She wants the brick. Any ideas on using regular clay brick for small retaining walls. Always kinda wanted to try my hand at some brick work and if I screw it up. No big deal!:thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
If she wants brick, you will never win.

Brick is not the material you want to use because of the construction cost to go 18". Also, I would imagine she wants to have some inside and outside curves that are not practical. - That is the reason for the very common use of SRWs for this type of low-tech construction around the world. SRWs can go 45' high but that requires engineering and soil reinforcement.
 

·
Youngster
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Are you saying that a brick wall cannot be built 18 inches tall? At the very most I would assume that I could build a concrete block wall and face it with brick.

I've seen a couple examples of clay brick walls on the internet that are made up of parallel courses of bricks with 3/8" rebar between them. Just wondering if that is what I would have to do. Seems like a waste of perfectly good brick to do the wall double thick if there is an alternative method.

OTOH, every time I search for brick retaining walls, I get results for SRWs. She hates them and says they are "done to death. Not elegant at all". I would love it if I could go that route, but it isn't gonna happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
A 4" brick has little strength itself when it comes to resisting lateral loads from soil. You can either use two wythes (layers) connected and with vertical reinforcement tied to a concrete footing. Block back-up sitting on a concrete footing with brick veneer is another option.

The main selling point for SRWs is the color and texture of the face, ability to adjust to curves and grade variations and elimination of a concrete footing, which should NEVER be used.

You will not find much on a search for brick retaining walls is because is a veneer that requires a back-up of some sort. Full brick retaining walls are rare unless you are in the historic east or have deep pockets.

If you want to use the few pallets of brick because of the appearance, then you will have to take more measures and effort. Even 18" of wet soil exerts a lot of lateral pressure than can lead to long term tilting and cracks.
 

·
Bigmo
Joined
·
109 Posts
Dick is right on this. Small garden walls like you describe can take a lot of time and energy to construct properly and will cost many times more than a SRW wall. In addition the walls should be topped with cut limestone to prevent water infiltration.

They sure do look great though but even masons will choose stone over bricks for the inherent beauty and design flexibilities the material offers.

SRW walls look like sh*t, but hey... they're cheap by comparison!
 

·
Youngster
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I realize that the SRW is much easier and technically cheaper. They just aren't very pleasing to look at. What I'm getting at is that I've already got the brick, so cost isn't an issue on that part.

If I were to decide to build brick garden walls, I was thinking of going this direction:

16"W x 8"D concrete footer
Rebar reinforced concrete block wall using standard 6"x8"x16" blocks
Face that wall with clay bricks using regular running bond pattern
Cap with stone

Am I on the right track with this one, or am I way off base?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
759 Posts
yes you are on the right track. I would go down to the frostline with your footing. Since your wall is going to be a 10" wall ( 6" block and 4" brick) I would lay 10" block from the footing to right below grade level. Then start your composite wall of 6" block and brick. Alot less brick to lay and less wasted.
 

·
Registered
Masonry/ concrete
Joined
·
4 Posts
I just finished a brick/block retaining wall on Saturday. They already had the footings poured, and we used 8" block with brick veneer. We drilled and pinned the block every couple feet with 1/2" rebar into the footing. It's about 3' high at the highest spot, a straight wall that turns into a big radius. The difference here is, they're pouring a slab flush with the top of the wall (around a pool), so there won't be much-if any water traveling through the soil behind the wall.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
846 Posts
Don't forget about drainage. 3/4 gravel and drain pipes to get the water out. You may want to use a layer of geotextile fabric every six inches to tie the whole thing together laterally.
 

·
Youngster
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I think I can solve most drainage and heave issues with proper gravel and geo-mesh placement. Technically the frost line is 30" here, but I've never seen anything frost that far down before.

Compacting well and placing the footer on a gravel bed helps a lot with frost heave. Just trying to figure out right now, how I want to setup the drainage for it.
 

·
Youngster
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After some consideration on cost I might be leaning toward just doing a pour in place concrete wall and veneering it with brick. I have a bunch of concrete experience and almost no masonry experience. When figuring time into the equation, the pour-in-place wall doesn't really cost much more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
If you want to use up the pallets of brick you have and your wife likes it, the economicas and practicality goo out the window.

A rigid wall with a concrete footing is always the most expensive way to go and is not always the best from a performance standpoint.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top