A simpler solution to building a garden wall

(NAPSI)-Homeowners looking to introduce color, texture and unique design elements to a house’s exterior may consider building an accent or garden wall. Fortunately, if the thought of a block-and-mortar wall seems a little daunting, there’s an easier solution.

Using dry-stacked concrete blocks and a surface-bonding cement, it can be easier than many homeowners realize to build a low-maintenance, affordable accent wall.

The one-coat application of Quikrete Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement provides structural strength and a textured “stucco” finish. The Surface Bonding Cement is also excellent for rehabilitating and waterproofing unpainted concrete walls.

Adding color to the wall can be simple with a liquid pigment additive available in 20 standard color choices, Quikrete Stucco & Mortar Color, that can be added to the mixing water during the mixing process.

To build the wall:

• Begin with the construction of a footing slab. Once the footing has cured, dry-lay the first block row on top of the footing and chalk mark the block positions using a level and mason’s line for accuracy.

• Remove the blocks and apply a 1-inch-thick bed of prepared surface-bonding cement on the footing to bond the first course to the footing and correct any irregularities. The mix should be stiff enough to support the weight of the first row of blocks.

• Place the first row, embedding the block to the mortar bed, to a final thickness of about ⅜ inch. Remove any excess material.

• Check the alignment and level after positioning every three to four blocks.

• Start the second course with a half-block to create a “running bond” pattern. Continue dry-stacking the remaining blocks to the desired height; nonstructural dry-stack construction can go as high as six to eight feet for privacy.

• Add a cap block to the top course of block. For additional strength, fill the cavities with something such as Quikrete Concrete Mix.

• After dampening with a fine spray, apply an ⅛-inch-thick coating of surface bonding cement to the sides, top and exposed ends of the concrete block wall with a finishing trowel. Trowel to desired texture or finish.

• Moist-cure the wall after eight hours by dampening with a fine spray. Repeat spraying several times daily for three days.

For detailed application instructions or additional project ideas, visit www.quikrete.com.