Bricklaying query.

The usual advice when building a garden wall from either bricks or pre-formed concrete blocks is: Dig the footings Prepare concrete foundations Have the first course of bricks/blocks below ground level.
Now that may be ok with cheap housebricks but these pre-formed concrete 'Bradstone' blocks are not that cheap and to have a whole course of a long wall beneath the ground seems an awful waste.
I cannot see the logic of it either. Surely the bond between the bottom course and the rough surface of the concrete footings will be as strong as the bond between the first and second course of bricks/blocks? If that is the case, what is served by having a complete lower course below ground level?
Kev
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I'm guessing, but I think the footings need to be below the frost affected layer, so that automatically means that you'll need a layer of blocks on top of it just to reach the surface. Can you not economise by using breeze blocks as the first course, as they will not be seen?
Andy.
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I had already decided on that 'course' (!) of action! I was just interested to discover the reason for the recommendation.
Kev
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Uno Hoo! wrote:

I think for garden walls the point is that the garden (lawn etc) can continue over the footings right up to the wall, thus avoiding the ugly footings being visible.
If you don't mind the footings being visible then I think they can be (there might be Building Regs requirements for frost protection as Andy (Preece) said, but that would be for a building wall not a garden wall IYSWIM), but if you're spending money on expensive blocks would you want a length of concrete at the bottom spoiling it?
Owain
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Actually, the footings would not show because on one side the patio flagging comes right up to the walling blocks and on the other side the concrete would be covered with an edging strip that will surround the lawn. My query was more to do with the reasoning behind the recommendation that the lowest course should be below ground. Initially I felt that this may be to make the wall 'stronger' - but as I pointed out in the initial post, the mortar bond between concrete footing and bottom course should be equally as strong as the bond between the first and second courses.
Kev
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On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 23:17:49 +0100, "Uno Hoo!"

The row below ground allows you to hide the messy foundations with ground. I'd use cheep concrete bricks for the first row.
Rick
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