Rendering a garden wall...novice DIYer! please help!

3 Jun 2011
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United Kingdom
Hi All,

Have previously used the site for much appreciated advise while we have been renovating our property!

Have now finally tackled the 12ft thistles that were present on buying it and the removal of a HUGE brick built shed with the added pain of an asbestos roof! :mad:

At present we have one garden wall around 5ft tall and 20ft long that was built with 6" breeze blocks (please forgive me if use the wrong lingo, as i said complete novice)

one garden wall at the end of the garden around 10ft long and standing 3ft tall which is built from regular house bricks (it does look relatively new compared to the other brick wall below)

and the other wall that is 3ft tall with trellis on top and runs 20ft built also built from house bricks but we suspect from talking to neighbours its the original wall (1901) and looks rather tatty...needs some repointing according to our neighbours they did their side a few years back.
this wall then rises to 5ft and runs another 12ft, it is also the original wall but has been rendered (horrendously although the yellow colour does not make it look any more appealing) this wall leads up to and attaches or looks as though it does to the side of the house which is also rendered the same (not a project were planning on taking on though) the render is textured.

So.....advice needed!

1) What do I need to do to prepare the breeze block wall for rendering?
2)What mixture do I use to render?
3)Should i repoint before I render the wall that needs repointing (or have i just answered my own question)
4) Do i need to remove the old render from the wall that has the textured render on it?
5)If not...can I render over the textured render to achieve a smooth finish?
6) Am i being over ambitious and actually heading for ballsing it up?! :confused: We have manged to sucessfully complete other renovations in the not totally rubbish & willing to spend the time!
We dont plan on attempting the house as it would be rather tricky to cover a mid terraced house in street with no greenery outside with plants if it all went wrong..that'll be a job for when extention is built, but i figure without sounding defeatest if the garden wall isnt perfect then there will be plants to hide said areas...and im a poor student so dont have the money to spend on a garden wall!

Any help would be appreciated...and as simple as possible please! If it helps I can upload some pictures!

Thanks, sorry for the essay!

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This is a tricky one, and down very much to personal preference.

I always prefer to see brick walls in gardens, much more pleasing on the eye, and an attractive backdrop to planting. So there are many options open to you:

You could repoint the original brick wall where it is still red brick and leave it (a good little project to practice you repointing skills) but if you do repoint make sure the mortar isn't too wet - and make sure you have got out all of the loose and crumbly stuff thats in there (its all in the preparation!).

Where the wall is already rendered then, if it is bad render, you could hack it off (it might even fall off!) but be prepared for a lot of labour effort if you do this - you will also be surprised as to how much render you will have to get rid of! You could then repoint the rest of the wall to match.

As for the breeze block wall then you could render it, or put fencing in front of it to disguise it (wicker fencing looks lovely). The advantage you will have is you don't need posts as you can screw the fencing directly to the wall - there will be some debate as to whether to put a membrane between the fence and the wall but if it is just a self standing garden wall then probably not.

If you do render it then my top tip is if you want it to look nice - get a tradesman in!! If you are not an expert it will look awful - no matter how much you fiddle with it - and you will be left with something that you have to look at every time you are in the garden. You could then possibly get the existing render skimmed over to match if you don't want to hack it off (or it wont come off).

If you do want to have a go at rendering it yourself then preparation is important - but so is practice!!

The wall needs to be clean and free from dust, also don't render in the heat of the sun if you can avoid it and make sure the wall is damp, otherwise you run the risk of the render not adhering to the wall and falling off in large patches at the earliest opportunity!! Having said that I am pretty sure you will be dissapointed with the results, unless you are going for the rustic look?!

If you decide to also render the old brick wall then I don't think there is a need to repoint first but again you will have to make sure that any loose stuff is removed (joints raked out and brushed clean of dust). Also make sure there are no plants or remains of plants in the joints as they will grow and they will blow the new render off!!
p.s. you might be better posting your question in the plastering and rendering section as that is where the experts will be
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I also would say get a plasterer in to do it. By all means try a small area first to see how it comes out but it is possible to do a larger area if you use battens etc to help guide you when straightening it out, although even that is not something to try if you have never tried any rendering/ watched someone doing it.

Also just to add if you wish to render the brick wall you may, depending on the type of brick, need to scud/ dash it first.

Probably better to ask the mods to move this to rendering as suggested by nick

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