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Brick Wall Patterns


Classic outdoor brick walls have graced the outdoor spaces of all sizes of houses for centuries. Whether used to help define a property edge or accent a garden, the appeal of the outdoor brick wall has remained unchanged. Enhance your outdoor spaces with the beauty and classic tradition of brick …

Beautiful Flemish Bond entry wall

The traditional brick bonds or patterns that  have surrounded us for centuries on houses and on outdoor walls have provided a warmth and lasting charm to our lives. The outdoor brick wall, of varying heights and different degrees of architectural detailing, has helped to define a property’s border, announce an entry to a property, create intimate spaces within a property and provide a seating wall in gardens.

Whatever purpose the brick wall serves, one very important architectural design decision to be made is what brick bond or pattern to use. The best place to base this decision is to look at the style of your house. If your house already has brick on the exterior walls or on your chimney, the same brick pattern can be used for your new brick walls. And if your house does not have brick on the exterior walls you can select a brick bond that was historically characteristic of your house style (see brick bonds below).

The traditional brick bonds include the English Bond, the Flemish Bond, Running Bond, Common Bond, Herringbone Bond, and Stack Bond. Each bond pattern has varying degrees of skill and structural requirements, so it’s likely that you will need to hire a skilled mason.

It might help if you draw up the pattern on graph paper. Unless you see a pattern in real life it might be hard to know if you like the pattern. Your drawing does not have to be to scale. If you use ¼” grid paper, use 2 squares for the header and 3 squares for the stretcher. After drawing a number of courses, you will have a better idea if you like the pattern. This then can help you select the brick bond that will work best with your house style.

All of these brick bonds can be enhanced by using brick that has subtle color variations within the brick itself, or if you are using a bond that has headers and stretchers, you can use two different brick colors (one brick color for the stretchers and one brick color for the headers) that are complimentary to each other. Be sure your pattern does not get too ‘busy’.

Brick Pattern Definitions

Before we get into the descriptions of each pattern, here are a few definitions that may be of help:
Course – one horizontal row of brick.
Header – a brick laid flat, so that the end is visible on the face of the wall.
Stretcher – a brick laid flat, so that the long side is visible on the face of the wall.
Brick Bond – the brick pattern created by the positioning of headers and stretches.

All of these brick bonds will make beautiful outdoor walls. There are far too many brick bonds to mention here but the following are some of the more recognizable brick bonds that we have known for centuries.

 

 

 

 

English Bond (aka Ancient Bond)

History: The oldest bond (used in ancient Rome) it was the only brick pattern used until the mid – 1600’s when the Flemish Bond was introduced.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial, Georgian, Postmedieval English Colonial and the Tudor house styles.
Pattern: Alternating courses of headers and stretchers.
Strength: Centuries ago when many brick walls were only as deep as the length of one brick, The English Bond produced the strongest structural bond. The pattern in which the brick was laid, afforded the wall to have no continuous vertical joints thus increasing its structural strength.

Flemish Bond (aka Dutch Bond)

History: Introduced in the mid -1600’s. This bond became very popular because the pattern was considered to have a more refined look to it. However, there are some with the opinion that this pattern was more refined only because the masons where more skilled by this period and the brick manufacturing at the time had become more precise.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Adams, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial, and the Georgian house styles.
Pattern: Alternating headers and stretchers in every course. A variation to the Flemish Bond is the Monk Bond which is 2 stretcher courses between a header on every course.
Strength: This bond, like the English Bond, centuries ago, produced brick walls that could be built with a depth of the length of one brick. This pattern however was not as strong as the English Bond because there were continuous vertical joints within the thickness of the wall which creates a weaker wall. The strength of this pattern can be increased by using a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer.

 

Herringbone Bond inset panel surrounded by Running Bond

Running Bond (aka Stretcher Bond)

History: Use in the late 1700’s but become very common in the 1800’s.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Classic Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial, Minimal Traditional, Tudor and the Victorian house styles.
Pattern: Every course is made up of stretchers. This is the simplest and most recognizable brick wall pattern.
Strength: Has no structural strength on its own. This brick wall pattern requires a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer. Wall thickness depends on the thickness of the supporting wall.

 

Herringbone Bond

History: Dates back to the 16th century.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Colonial Revival, Victorian, and Tudor house styles.
Pattern: Bricks are placed in a diagonal pattern at a 45 degree angle. This pattern requires that a border brick be used to contain the pattern and is usually used for accent within a simpler brick wall bond, such as running bond.
Strength: Has no structural strength on its own. This brick wall pattern requires a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer. Wall thickness depends on the thickness of the supporting wall.

Brickwork patterns created by the Commom Bond (left) and the Stack Bond

History: Introduced in the late 1700’s but more commonly used in the 1800’s.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Arts and Crafts, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Cottage, Minimal Traditional, Mission and the Victorian house styles.
Pattern: This pattern can vary in the number of stretcher courses however the most common is one header course every 5th, 6th, or 7th stretcher course.
Strength: Has no structural strength on its own. This brick wall pattern requires a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer. Wall thickness depends on the thickness of the supporting wall.

Stack Bond (aka Block Bond)

History: Introduced in the 1800’s.
Architectural Style: This pattern was historically used on the Classic Revival, Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial, Minimal Traditional, and the Victorian house styles.
Pattern: Bricks are placed or stacked on top each other creating a continuous vertical and horizontal joints. Used for accent only.
Strength: Has no structural strength on its own. This brick wall pattern requires a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer. Wall thickness depends on the thickness of the supporting wall.

 

Simple variations of stretchers and headers create unique patterns

Garden Wall Bonds

History: Garden wall bonds are variations of the English Bond and the Flemish Bond that have developed over time. These bond variations were referred to as Garden Wall Bonds because these patterns at the time where used only on the rear elevation of the house or the garden side of the house and for outdoor garden walls. These bonds were less expensive and quicker to build than the true English and Flemish Bonds.
Architectural Style: These patterns were historically used on the house styles that are listed above under English Bond and Flemish Bond.
Strength: Has no structural strength on its own. This brick wall pattern requires a supporting wall, such as a concrete masonry block wall or a concrete poured wall; the brickwork is then used as a veneer. Wall thickness depends on the thickness of the supporting wall.
English Garden Wall Bond –3 rows of stretcher bond in between a header course.
Flemish Garden Wall Bond (aka Sussex Bond) – 3 stretchers between a header on every course.

If you are interested in researching additional brick bonds not included here, there are many books and great resources available online.

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