Create a sense of privacy and security in your backyard with a concrete wall. This DIY weekend project using cinderblocks, mortar, and 2×4 boards, allows you to section off your outdoor living space into a private retreat. This durable, freestanding wall brings an attractive element to your yard that can zone off an outdoor patio area or add emphasis around flower beds and other landscaping. Building a concrete wall (and making it look professional) takes skill, so we’ve rounded up the best strategies and tips you need to know before you begin. Follow the full how-to instructions for a DIY cinderblock wall below and get your weekend project started.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Tape measure
  • 1 Circular saw
  • 1 Brick set
  • 1 Small sledgehammer
  • 1 Chalkline
  • 1 Pencil
  • 1 Mason’s trowel
  • 1 Level
  • 1 Line level
  • 1 Mason’s blocks
  • 1 Wheelbarrow
  • 1 Concave jointer
  • 1 Story pole


  • 1 2×4 lumber
  • 1 Concrete blocks
  • 1 Mortar
  • 1 Metal lath


Step 1:

Build End Leads

Before you start, lay out and pour footing. Lay out your concrete block in a dry run, spacing it with 3/8-inch plywood spacers. Mark all the edges of the course. Take up the block and spread mortar on the footing. Push the first block into the mortar until it’s 3/8 inch above the footing.

Mortar the ears (the flanges on the ends of a block) of the second block and push it against the first. To the butter, the ears first set the block securely on one end. Take up a trowel-length of mortar from your mortarboard and butter the ears with a downward swiping motion of the trowel. Then press down on the mortar on the inside edge of the ear to keep it from falling off when you set the block. If the mortar does fall off, start over with fresh mortar. Slice into the side of the mortar with the edge of the trowel to shape it into an inverted U.

Step 2:

Build End Leads to Corners

At this point, you can continue to build up the lead on one corner, then the other, or build both of them at the same time. To start the other lead, push a corner block into mortar at the other end. You can attach mason’s blocks and line from one corner to the other to help keep them straight.

Step 3:

Continue Building Base

Mortar the ears of the next block on either end and push it into place. Adjust the block’s position, so it’s level along the top of the course and from side to side. Tap the blocks into position with the end of the trowel handle. From time to time and after the mortar has been set up slightly, trim away any excess with the trowel.

Step 4:

Build Up the Wall

Build up the lead on one end of the footing by throwing mortar for the second course and starting this course with a half block. Butter the ears of the second block in this course and continue laying the block three or four courses high. Check often for level, plumb, and square. Periodically check the firmness of the mortar by pressing it with your thumb. Stop setting block and strike the joints when you can just dent it.

Step 5:

Build Up Corner

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