How to Build a Brick Raised Garden Bed Without Using Mortar

Raised garden beds are a great way to improve your gardening experience. Elevating your plants allows for superior drainage, increased warmth, and better control over the quality of the soil. Using bricks to construct raised beds provides a durable, long-lasting structure that can withstand the elements.

While mortar is commonly used to cement bricks together, it’s also possible to build a freestanding brick raised bed without any mortar. This provides flexibility if you need to later relocate or expand your garden bed.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover:

  • The benefits of brick raised beds
  • How to choose safe materials
  • Step-by-step instructions for building without mortar
  • Tips to ensure stability and longevity
  • Ideas for designing your perfect brick raised bed

Why Build a Brick Raised Garden Bed?

Constructing a raised bed from bricks offers numerous advantages

  • Bricks allow you to build tall beds with more root space for plants.
  • Unlike wood, bricks won’t rot or degrade over time.
  • Brick beds have a clean, finished look that enhances garden design.
  • The thermal mass retains heat and can extend the growing season.
  • Building with recycled bricks reduces waste and your costs.
  • No need for mortar makes DIY construction straightforward.
  • Freestanding design allows beds to be shifted or resized later.

With some planning, brick raised beds can become a valued, productive addition to your yard for years to come.

Choosing Safe, Sturdy Bricks

When selecting bricks either new or used be sure they are

  • Unpainted – Avoid painted bricks as paint can contain harmful chemicals.
  • Unglazed – Glazes may have lead which can leach into soil.
  • Not firebricks – Firebricks absorb creosote that can contaminate plants.
  • Strong and intact – Cracked or crumbling bricks won’t support a bed.

The safest option is to purchase new clay bricks manufactured for residential use, But reused bricks can work well too if you inspect and clean them thoroughly first

It’s best not to use old commercial, industrial, or specialty bricks because they might release harmful chemicals. When in doubt, stick to unpainted, clean clay bricks.

Design Considerations for Freestanding Brick Beds

Keep these design factors in mind when planning your mortar-free brick raised bed:

  • Height – Limit freestanding beds to about 2-3 feet tall for stability.

  • Width – Maximum width of around 4 feet ensures you can reach the center for planting and weeding.

  • Shape – Simple rectangular or square shapes are best for freestanding construction.

  • Location – Select a level, well-draining spot with full sun exposure.

  • Access – Leave 2 feet minimum between beds and a surrounding path for movement.

  • Soil – Plan for high-quality gardening soil to fill your raised bed.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Building a Freestanding Brick Raised Bed

Follow these simple steps to build your own mortar-free raised garden bed from bricks:

Gather Materials

  • Brick – Estimate how many bricks you need based on bed dimensions.
  • Shovel and gloves for handling bricks
  • Level and string to mark layout
  • Landscape fabric – prevents weed growth
  • Crushed gravel or sand for base
  • Garden soil mix to fill bed
  • PVC pipes can be used internally for extra support if needed

Prepare the Site

  • Mark out shape with string and stakes
  • Remove any grass or plants and level the soil.
  • Add 4-6 inches of gravel or sand and pack down.

Lay Out Bottom Row of Bricks

  • Place bricks end-to-end, using gravel to stabilize and level.
  • Check row is level using a line level or straight board.
  • Outline the shape of your raised bed with the first row.

Build Up Side Walls

  • Continue stacking bricks to desired height.
  • Fill gaps between bricks with gravel for stability.
  • Alternate brick alignments between rows for strength.
  • Keep checking level as you go.

Add Interior Support (Optional)

  • For extra reinforcement, place vertical PVC pipes or rebar inside bed spaced a few feet apart.
  • Fill pipes with concrete to secure in place before adding soil.

Finish Bed Structure

  • Line inside of bed with landscape fabric to block weeds.
  • Fill with high-quality raised bed soil mix.
  • Level surface before planting.
  • Mulch soil to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Tips for a Strong, Stable Brick Raised Bed Without Mortar

Follow these tips to maximize the longevity and security of your freestanding brick raised garden bed:

  • Compact gravel or sand thoroughly around bottom bricks to prevent shifting.

  • Alternate the direction bricks are laid in each row for better interlocking.

  • Keep first row of bricks level and square – this sets the foundation.

  • Fill any gaps between bricks with gravel to hold them together.

  • Add interior PVC pipes filled with concrete for extra structural reinforcement.

  • Limit height to 3 feet and width to 4 feet for best stability without mortar.

  • Avoid overly wet, loose, sandy, or compacted soil that won’t hold shape.

  • Monitor bricks after rainfall or frost heave and refill any settling or gaps with gravel.

Get Creative with Raised Bed Designs and Shapes

One advantage of mortar-free brick construction is you can easily customize the shape and look of your raised garden bed. Consider these creative design options:

  • Make a multi-level or terraced bed on a slope for better drainage and depth.

  • Incorporate brick pathways between beds for an ornamental look.

  • Build a single large square or rectangular bed for crops that need more space to grow.

  • Create a unique freeform shape for your bed with curved or angled sides.

  • Make a smaller circular or octagonal bed for vegetables like lettuce and herbs.

  • Line the outer border of an in-ground garden with bricks to add definition.

  • Use bricks to make visually appealing patterns along the sides of your raised bed.

  • Combine bricks with other materials like wood or stone for custom ornamental edges.

Get Growing in Your DIY Brick Raised Bed

Constructing a raised garden bed from brick has many advantages for creating your ideal growing environment. By foregoing mortar and opting for a freestanding design, you can avoid toxic materials while keeping things simple to build and modify later on.

With some thoughtful planning, sourcing quality materials, and employing sound construction techniques, you’ll have a durable and productive brick raised bed that can be enjoyed for many gardening seasons to come.

How to make a brick raised garden planter


Can you stack bricks without mortar?

Clay bricks can either be stacked for a short raised garden bed, or they can be mortared together if deeper raised beds are desired. You can also create double-wide walls for added strength when mortar is not being used.

Do you need to line a brick raised bed?

Raised garden bed lining isn’t mandatory to have healthy growing plants. But adding raised garden bed lining does provide benefits. Many experienced gardeners recommend lining raised beds for these reasons: It provides insulation for the soil and helps control temperature fluctuations.

Can you make a raised garden bed out of pavers?

At least 2 people and a bunch of propping sticks are used to get the pavers into position. The top frame is made of 70x35mm treated pine, and is made to hang over the edge of the pavers by 30mm. L brackets are used to hold the frame together.

Can you make a brick raised garden bed without mortar?

You can make a brick raised garden bed with or without mortar. If you are making a deeper raised bed, mortar can be used to keep bricks together. However, be sure to use a sand-based mortar that is only for residential use. Many commercial mortars contain harmful contaminants that can find their way into your soil and your food.

Are brick raised garden beds safe?

Brick-raised garden beds don’t rot or leech chemicals, providing a safe option for growing edible plants. The modular nature of bricks makes it simple for DIY gardeners to build raised beds of various materials and sizes.

Do you need a raised garden bed?

7 Reasons You Need a Raised Garden Bed (And How to Build One!) Choose bricks that will survive well in continually wet conditions. Common brick may not be strong enough. Be prepared to give your material supplier the length and height of the wall you plan to build. If the bricks have holes in them, purchase special cap bricks for the top course.

How many bricks do you need to build a garden bed?

As you lay bricks, add or remove dirt under each brick to ensure that each brick is level. If you are making a short raised garden bed, you can stack bricks 3-4 bricks high without securing bricks in place with adhesive. Unsecured bricks brick can be bumped out of place by critters or intense rainfall.

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