How to build brick pillars

Written by judy kilpatrick Google
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How to build brick pillars
Brick pillars add a focal point to the landscape. (rose columns portrait image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

Construct brick pillars to support a fence or to add vertical dimension to your garden landscape. They can also define an entryway or provide support for lamps, as well as creating create a sense of drama and security. The effect of brick pillars in the garden is similar to the psychological effect of trees in the landscape: They add a sense of strength and stability while they also provide utilitarian function. In a young garden the middle height dimension is often missing, with only newly planted shrubbery and mature trees. Adding garden pillars to the landscape provides the mid-level dimension for a more pleasing effect.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Boards
  • Carpenter's level
  • Motor oil
  • Gravel
  • Tamper
  • Concrete
  • Screed board
  • Cement trowel
  • Mortar
  • Mason's trowel
  • Bricks
  • Builder's square
  • Finial of your choice

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  1. 1

    Remove soil from a square with sides equal to twice the width of the pillar and the depth equal to the width of the pillar to create a footer. Make certain the footer is deep enough to allow 6 inches of gravel below the frost line.

    How to build brick pillars
    Form up the pillar footer. (people at work concrete image by Greg Pickens from
  2. 2

    Install a form frame if the soil is loose. Measure and cut boards to make a square that fits inside the excavated hole. Nail together and place inside the footer. Make certain the top of the form is perfectly level using a carpenter's level. Oil the boards with used motor oil or other oil to help prevent them from sticking to the concrete.

  3. 3

    Pour gravel into the footer to a depth of 6 inches. Tamp down until the layer is firm.

  4. 4

    Mix the cement according to instructions on the bag. Pour the cement into the footer.

  5. 5

    Level the cement with a screed board. Rest the board on either edge of the footer form, move the board back and forth from one end of the form to the other in a gentle rocking motion to settle the cement and level the surface.

  6. 6

    Trowel the surface smooth. Cover the footer and allow it to cure for two days before constructing the pillar. Remove the form when the concrete is cured.

  1. 1

    Prepare the mortar mix according to the manufacturer's instructions.

    How to build brick pillars
    Brick pillars need a concrete foundation for stability. (red towers image by D200 from
  2. 2

    Put mortar on the footer with a mason's trowel where the bottom and ends of the first line of bricks will rest. Lay the bricks in the pattern you have chosen using basic masonry construction methods.

  3. 3

    Check each layer for level and plumb on all sides. Tap the bricks as necessary into correct position.

  4. 4

    Place a finial on top the column.

Tips and warnings

  • Find out the depth of the frost line in the location where you will construct your brick pillars. The gravel base for each footer should be below this.

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