How to Build a Garden Wall with Interlocking Blocks

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON VO
MY NEXT STOP IN THE CITY OF ANGELS TAKES US TO THE HOME OF REBECCA WINK AND HER HUSBAND TOM BARNES.   REBECCA IS A SEMI-RETIRED ACTRESS AND ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERT.  TOM WORKS FOR AN ENVIROMENTAL CONSULTING FIRM.  
TODAY, THE ENVIRONMENT COMMANDING THE COUPLE’S ATTENTION IS THEIR BACKYARD.  I’M GOING TO HELP THEM KICK OFF THEIR LANDSCAPING EFFORTS WITH A NEW GARDEN WALL.
Sot Ron and couple at RV
Ron: Good Morning!
Rebecca: Hi, how are you? I’m Rebecca.
Tom: I’m Tom.

Sot Ron and couple 13:12:26
Well, this is it.
This is the wall huh?
Yep.
Okay-gosh, they look like they’re just stacked up here. They’re very loose.
Well, they are. The previous owners had, they’d started a wall and left a bunch of bricks and I just kind of stuck them there just to make it look better in the meantime.

Ron SOT
Well, here’s what I’m thinking. This is a fairly good grade right here. I think this wall needs to be a little bit more substantial. So what I want to propose is that we take all the bricks out, and use some slightly heavier and wider blocks—interlocking blocks.

Ron Stand up Bridge 15:15:33
Now these are the blocks we’re going to use for today’s wall. They just simply stack on top of one another.  One, two three and so on. Actually these can get quite high. They don’t use any mortar. Instead, they rely on this lip or ridge right here on the rear edge. This hooks over the rear edge of the row below. So what you get is sort of stepped back effect right here, and this can resist a lot of pressure from the rear side. It simply won’t topple over.

RON  VO
THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS IS REMOVING WHAT’S LEFT OF THE OLD WALL.  
Sot Ron 13:16:19
So, have you guys got a wagon or a wheelbarrow or something like that?
A little radio flyer.
I’ll take it.


Sot Ron 13:16:38
All right guys. Boy does this take me back to my childhood. I used to have one of these. You know what? Let’s just dig in.

RON VO
BRICK AFTER BRICK LIFTS OUT EASILY AS WE WORK OUR WAY DOWN THE WALL. 

 

RON VO:
THINGS GET A LITTLE TOUGHER THOUGH AS WE REACH THE BOTTOM … AND WE RESORT TO A SLEDGEHAMMER.
Sot Ron and Rebecca  13:38:12
This is really one of these tools that works with gravity. // What I usually do is start with my hand up there near the head then as I bring it up over my head, like this I let this hand come down, and at this point it’s just gravity doing all the work.
Okay, I’ll give it a shot. You might want to stand back.

RON VO:
REBECCA QUICKLY STRIKES A RAPPORT WITH THIS NEW TOOL. 

Sot Ron and Rebecca   13:38:51
Beautiful, beautiful.
Kind of fun. Get out all my aggression.

RON  VO
AFTER REMOVING THE RUBBLE, WE CLEAR THE DIRT BACK ALMOST A FOOT FROM THE EDGE OF THE GRASS. SINCE WE’RE GOING TO RE-USE THIS DIRT LATER ON … I’VE LAID A TARP DOWN TO KEEP IT OFF THE GRASS.
Sot Ron 14:01:15
We have a little bit of an unusual situation here. We’ve got a concrete—I don’t know what that is, maybe it’s the remnants of a retaining wall—but we can’t get this out. So we’ll use that as the sort of foundation for these blocks we’re about to put down.


RON VO
WE USE TWO STAKES AND A LENGTH OF STRING TO MAKE SURE OUR WALL IS STRAIGHT AND LEVEL. 
Sot Ron 14:13:25
OK, Rebecca, bring that first stone and drop it right down on that concrete ledge. These are the stones we’re going to be using. I’ll show you a little bit more in a second, but right now, let’s stretch a bit of line out here. Tom, tie the other end on the stake there and bring it up so the top of the string is just at the top of the stone. Yeah, Good, okay. Now we’re going to tie this off the same way,

Sot Ron 14:14:08
This will be the top of the first course of stone. If we can get this in straight and flat and reasonably level then everything we put on top of that is going to be in good shape.

RON VO
REBECCA BEGINS TO PUT DOWN THE FIRST LAYER OF STONES. I SCRAPE A CLEAR PATH AND TOM TAMPS THE DIRT DOWN, COMPACTING IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO PREVENT SETTLING LATER ON.

RON VO
THE WALL IS COMING ALONG NICELY...NOT EVEN A SUDDEN SHOWER CAN DAMPEN OUR PROGRESS. 
Sot Ron 14:32:24
I just want to know who wrote that song, it never rains in Southern California.

RON VO
THE SECOND LAYER OF STONES IS
LAID IN PLACE IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.  AS WE REACH ONE END THOUGH … IT’S OBVIOUS THE FINAL STONE WILL HAVE TO BE CUT TO FIT THE REMAINING SPACE.
Sot Ron and Tom 14:35:54
Tom, we’ve got a small space over here. Actually a half a block we’re going to have to fill. I got you set up here. This actually sort of gives you a mark here but we’re gonna have to take the brick chisel and we’re gonna score all the way around. Just at first a light tape to sort of give yourself a line.
All right.


Sot chisel on brick 14:37:12

Sot Ron  14:38:33
“There you go...”

Sot Ron 14:39:18
All right, this is going to be just about perfect. No, it is perfect. Look at that.  

RON VO
WE USE THE DIRT WE REMOVED EARLIER TO FILL IN BEHIND OUR NEW WALL, THEN THE THREE OF US BEGIN TO PLACE THE FINAL LAYER. BUT OUR CALIFORNIA SHOWER HAS TURNED INTO A REAL STORM, SO WE’LL HAVE TO FINISH TOMORROW.
Sot Ron and couple 15:24:47
So guys, what do you think?
Looks great.
We love it. It looks even better on a clear day.
Boy that’s for sure. That storm took us by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that in Southern California.
No.
One of the things I really like about this wall is it is substantial. I mean, it looks like a wall to me.
Um hmm.
Well, enjoy it I had fun working with you.
We had a great time. We’re inspired to keep on doing other projects.
Oh, I love that. How much for the Radio Flyer?
Oh we can’t sell that. It was a wedding present.

RON VO
YOU KNOW … WHATA  GREAT IDEA, A RADIO FLYER AS A WEDDING GIFT. AND WHAT A PERFECT WAY FOR TOM AND REBECCA TO BREAK IT IN … BUILDING THAT NEW GARDEN WALL.

Learn how to build a garden wall with interlocking concrete pavers; includes instructions along with tips, materials, and tools lists.

Ron's next stop took us to the home of Rebecca Link and her husband Tom Barns. Ron picked an uncharacteristically cold and stormy day to visit this Los Angeles home where Rebecca and Tom had done several renovations to the interior of their home, but never quite made it outside to make any improvements. They asked Ron to come and help them repair a rather dilapidated brick wall that was literally falling apart with loose bricks and cracked mortar. Ron thought that using stackable stone blocks to rebuild this planter wall would be perfect. They even planted flowers for a wonderfully fresh new look.