How to Build a Brick Lattice Fence

By: David W. Moore
If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have been contemplating enclosing your backyard or patio, then you might want to consider doing it with brick.
Although a brick fence may cost more than your typical wood fence, I think the advantages that brick have over wood are worth the trade-off.
First of all, bricks are more durable. A brick fence would probably outlast the homeowner-in most cases. Secondly, there is less maintenance required. Once a brick fence is constructed, that’s it; while a wood fence has to be repainted periodically or it soon becomes an eyesore. Besides, I think a brick fence does more, aesthetically, for your yard or patio than a plain old wood fence would. So, let’s get started:
Preparing the Foundation:
The hardest part of readying the foundation is excavating it. If it is a large project, you might want to get some help with this part or maybe pay someone to do it for you. Don’t worry; this is still a DIY project since our primary concern is the laying of the brick itself. However, if you don’t mind exerting yourself a little, then, by all means, dig in (Pardon the pun).
·         First, let’s dig a trench approximately 8 inches deep by 8 inches wide. If the area you are enclosing is a patio, then that makes our job a lot simpler because all we need do then is follow the outline of the patio. On the other hand, if it is a large project like a back yard, then we would have to erect batter-boards (A fence-shaped structure erected at either end of the project, usually made from 2X4’s, that is used to lay out the dimensions of the project) at each corner of the enclosure to make sure that our fence is straight (Assuming, of course, that we want our fence to be straight). Then, we can use good old fashion algebra to make sure our project is square (Or rectangular, as the case may be).
·         The next step in our project is to fill the trench, which we have just dug, with concrete (Or Sakrete for smaller jobs). But, before we do, we need to make sure that our foundation will be level. We accomplish this by using what are called grade sticks. Although professionals buy grade sticks especially made for this purpose, we can save money by making our own. We simply find some scrap wood that is probably lying around somewhere and cut it into sticks (Usually about 16 inches long). Now, all we have to do is put our grade sticks into the foundation. We’ll want to use a small hammer to drive the grade sticks down to a depth that will leave about eight inches of them exposed. Again, if it is a small job, we can use an ordinary mason’s level to make sure our grade sticks are level. Just space them apart the length of the level. Once we set the first grade stick the rest is simple. We just level the second one by the first, and so on. If it is a large job, however, we will have to use a transit to find our level point on our batter boards. Then, string a line from one to the other. We will then use a ruler or tape measurer to make sure each grade stick is at the same depth. Once the grade sticks are set, we can then pour in our concrete.
·         Whether our mixture came in on a truck (For large jobs) or we mixed it ourselves using Sakrete

(For small jobs), we simply pour it into our foundation, making sure we keep the mixture level with the top of our grade sticks. This can be accomplished by using a square-point shovel. Simply use the point of the shove to spread the mixture down the length of the trench, using the top of the sticks as a grade (Thus, the name grade sticks). Once that’s done, all we need do is let the concrete set (About twenty-four hours) and we’re ready for the bricks.
Preparing for the Bricks:
Before building the lattice part of our fence, we will need to build the columns first. After we’ve completed the columns, we simply fill in the gaps with the lattice work. However, we don’t want to start the lattice on top of the foundation. We’ll lay a few courses (Or as many as you like) of brick to form a solid wall before actually starting the lattice.
·         First, we’ll need to set up our story post. We can use the same batter-boards that we used to set our grade sticks to serve as a brace for our story posts (A straight post made out of metal or wood) that will serve as a guide for our bricks. Since this a DIY project, we will use a plain old 2X4 for our story post. We simply align our story post with the dimensions of our project and use a level

to make sure that it is plumb. To make sure our story post doesn’t move once we set it, we can simply bury the bottom part into the ground and use a clamp (Or plain old nail) to secure the top (remember, this is a DIY project and we’re trying to save money). Once set, we use a mason’s ruler

to mark our courses along the outer edges of the story post. We already got our level point when we set our grade sticks. Simply course down from that point.
·         Now, we string a line between our corner posts. We do so by using corner blocks. These can be purchased at any hardware store. We need to make sure that you have the same amount of courses above the line on each of the corner post or our wall will not be level. Once that’s done, we’re ready to start laying the brick.
Preparing the Mortar:
The next step in our project is fairly simple, if you are as hardy as I think you are. All we need do is mix the mortar that will be used to hold our bricks in place.
·         We can use a mixer to do the work for us, or we can mix it ourselves. And, although mortar

comes in a variety of colors, the mixing process is basically the same. Just add water and sand, and voila! The mix usually consists of one part mortar-mix, four part sand, and about 5 gallons of water. We want to mix the ingredients thoroughly so that there are no lumps. If you chose to use a mixer, then that shouldn’t be a problem; but, if you wanted to save the money that renting a mixer would cost, then you would have to use a mortar hoe. A mortar hoe is similar to a regular garden hoe except that it is usually larger and has two holes in the blade. These holes help facilitate a thorough mixing of the ingredients.

Laying the brick:
Since we decided not to rent a mixer, we worked up quite a sweat mixing the mortar by hand. Now, after a refreshing glass of lemonade, we’re finally ready to get down to the business of laying the bricks. About the only tools that we’ll need is a mason’s trowel and a level. We can use the same level that we used to set our story posts. We have already set our guide line also, so all that’s left is to get started.

We’ll start by spreading a sufficient amount of mortar on the foundation so that we have to press down a little to bring our brick even with the guide line. Once the first brick is set, cut off the excess mortar and grab another one. We use the trowel to put mortar on the end of the brick and, being careful not to upset the first brick, we put the next brick in place, gently pressing it against the first brick. We repeat this action until we reach the other end of our project. Then, we raise our guide line and start the process over again until we reach the height where we want to start our lattice.
·         To create the lattice,

we simply select a small square or rectangular object (Wood, brick etc.) to use as a guide. We simply cut it to match the size of the lattice opening we desire. Once done, we simply set our guide block on top of the brick where we want to start our lattice. Note, however, it is not a good idea to start our lattice against the column itself. It is best to lay at least one brick against the column before starting the lattice. Now, we lay a brick on either side of the guide block, and then repeat the process until we come into contact with the next column. Remember, though, that you should stop the lattice a few courses below the top of the columns to leave room for a bonding course. In addition, you wouldn’t want to add an additional row-lock course to add to the aesthetics of the project.
·         If you have followed my instructions carefully you should have successfully completed your first DIY masonry project, and the end result should be a beautiful brick lattice fence like the one shown in the photo above.


  1. What if you've got an existing brick lattice and want to fill it in? I'm buying a house with a carport-turned-garage with one wall done partially in lattice. It looks like the spaces are one brick width (turned narrow-ways), but can the mortar be properly applied in such a small space? If I've misjudged the width, then a whole brick won't fit there - is there another way to fill it? The previous owners just put screen over it, but it would be much more comfortable closed in and insulated.

    1. Probably the best thing to do in your situation is to tear down the lattice part and then fill it in with solid brick.

  2. Thank you give a great advice about building brick lattice fence.
    i think brick fence cost is more then wood fence but it is more advantages then wood fence.

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  3. Im an apprentice brick mason and I labored for an A+ brick mason for 10 years. Anyways, I've got a lattice fence side job to do and that trick with the guide piece you mentioned is a great idea. I didn't think of doing that, and that will save a lot of time. Thanks for the info.

  4. I've always been a little afraid of doing masonry related jobs like this, but your instructions for this fence have definitely given me the confidence to try it for myself. Appreciate it.

    1. That's the spirit. You'll never know until you try.

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  6. I am curious about the structural strength of the lattice work. What keeps it from being easily pushed over ? do you use any ties between the columns and the brick? Or maybe something else? Thanks

    1. Yes, I highly recommend using ties, but there is another trick I used to use. On the last stretcher course, I run it all the way into the column, meaning, instead of just butting the column, I cut the column bricks so that the stretcher course can go inside the column. This makes it almost impossible for the lattice to fall over.

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