How to build a small brick wall

Updated March 23, 2017

Brick is a great material for building because it is one of the rare substances that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps best of all, building a brick wall is something that doesn't necessarily require a professional. Depending on the size and scope of the project, you can potentially construct your very own brick wall with little to no knowledge of masonry.


Clear the ground that the brick wall will be built upon.

Pour concrete along the ground where you want the brick wall to be built. This concrete will be what is called the "footing" of the brick wall and will provide support and stability for the bricks that will eventually be placed on top of it.

Let the concrete dry for a minimum of 2 days.

Storey pole

Take a 5 by 5 cm (2 by 2 inch) beam of wood and make a mark on one end of the beam to indicate that this is going to be the bottom.

Stand the beam upright with the marked end of the beam on the bottom.

Lay a brick next to the upright beam in the position that it will be in when it is part of the wall.

Notice the height of the brick in relation to the beam beside it.

Measure exactly 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) above the top of the brick and mark this height onto the beam.

Pick up the brick and hold it against the beam so that the bottom of the brick is aligned with the new mark.

Measure another 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) above the top of the brick from this position and make another mark on the beam.

Continue making marks at this interval onto the beam until the beam is marked all the way up to the desired height of the brick wall.


Buy the desired amount of mortar mix from a DIY centre.

Pour the mix into a wheelbarrow.

Add water and continue to mix the mortar until it has a batter-like consistency.

The first course

Using your trowel, spread the mortar onto the footing in the place where the first brick going to be laid. You should work from left to right, which means that this first brick should be placed at the far left side of where the wall is going to be.

Set the first brick into the mortar.

Hold your storey pole against the brick and make sure that the top of the brick is level with the first mark. If the top of the brick is not aligned with the first mark on the story pole, remove the brick and adjust the amount of mortar underneath the brick until it is.

Apply another 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) thick layer of mortar onto the footing beside the first brick.

Take a second brick and, before resting it in the mortar, apply another 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) layer of mortar to one side of the brick.

Set the second brick in place. The side of the brick that has the mortar should be pressed against the first brick.

Continue laying bricks in this manner until the first course extends across the entire length of the desired wall. Be sure to periodically hold the storey pole against the bricks, making sure that their tops are still aligned with the first mark.

Additional courses

Return to the far left side of the wall.

Spread a 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) thick layer of mortar onto the top of the end brick.

Set the new brick into the mortar.

Make sure that the top of the new brick aligns with the next mark on your storey pole.

Complete the course by laying the bricks just as you did for the first course.

Continue adding courses until the wall reaches the desired height.


You should wet the bricks with water before you lay them so that they don't dry out the mortar once they are in place. After each couple of courses, you should check that the corners of the wall are square using your level.

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete
  • Wheelbarrow
  • 5 by 5 cm (2 by 2 inch) beam of wood
  • Pencil
  • Trowel
  • Mortar
  • Water
  • Bricks
  • Level
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About the Author

Soren Bagley recently graduated from the University of Toledo with a B.A. in English Literature. He has been a professional writer for two years and his work has appeared on a wide variety of internet web sites, including Associated and