Key points before you start

  • Get professional advice if you are in any doubt, particularly with walls over 1.5m high and complex or stress carrying structures.
  • Plan the wall and draw a design; this helps with calculating quantities and makes building quicker.
  • Get the right tools; spade, concrete mixer, trowel, spirit level, club hammer, 60-120mm bolster chisel, stringline and pointing tool.

A firm foundation is essential

  • Walls need a concrete foundation three times wider than the thickness of the wall. Its depth should be at least 100mm with the base 300mm below ground level.
  • For walls over 1m high the foundation base depth should be one third of the height of the wall above ground.


  • Single skin walls 100mm thick should not be higher than 1m and need 215mm square piers every 2m.
  • Walls over one metre high should be double skin construction, with the two skins tied together and should have support pillars at least every 3m.
  • All walls need provision for expansion and contraction about every 6m.
  • Protect the top of the wall with copings and pier caps or suitably sized paving slabs.

Bricklaying, Mortar & Joints

  • Use normal bricklaying techniques including damp proof courses where appropriate.
  • Mortar should be 1 part masonry cement to 4 parts soft bricklayers sand.
  • Mix bricks/blocks from different packs to ensure a blend of shades. If using just one pack, select from the top down.
  • With raised planters and retaining walls, leave some vertical joints un-mortared for drainage.
  • Raised pools require a waterproof liner and a design that will support the weight of water.

Rio Walling

  • Whilst Rio Walling can be built using normal mortar we recommend the use of Marshalls M-Fix walling adhesive.

Millstone Walling

  • Blocks are faced on one side and both ends.
  • Use almost equal quantities of all six block sizes to create an authentic antique look. One block of each size will build 0.19 sq. m. of single skin wall.
  • Block lengths are in the ratio of 1: 1¼: 1½. A 215mm block used to tie the skins together provides a half module and the appearance of a fourth length.
  • Lay in random courses using blocks of different lengths but the same height in each course.
  • Use 10mm mortar joints and bond the blocks by staggering vertical joints.
  • Alternate course heights of 65mm and 140mm, though not strictly.

  • To avoid a top heavy look, place extra 140mm courses near the base and extra 65mm courses near the top.
  • For added interest, Cottage Garden Bricks may be substituted for 215 x 65mm blocks.

Yorkstone Walling

  • Walls up to 12 courses high that are not subject to load can be built semi-dry by using dabs of mortar within the indentations on top of each block.
  • Walls over 12 courses high should have full mortar joints and normal construction techniques.

Cotstone Walling

  • Carefully mix the various profiles.
  • Rake out mortar joints to same depth as the moulded joints to achieve the appearance of continuous random natural stone.

Shirestone Walling

  • Each block is faced on a minimum of one length and one end.
  • After the wall is built and the mortar has set firm, clean the blocks with a hose to reveal the full colour.

Vintage Stone Walling

  • Before commencing to build, blocks should be sorted to enable blocks of similar height to be laid in the same course.
  • As Vintage Stone is a natural stone product, block height can vary. The ends of the blocks are dressed at an angle.