Making Mortar

The mortar mix varies in composition according to the position in the wall.Used below damp course level the mix should be sand – 6 parts, lime – 1 part, cement – 1 part.
Used above damp course level it should be sand – 9 parts, lime – 2 parts, cement – 1 part.

Use bricklayer’s “fatty” sand which clings together well when mixed into mortar. Concreting sand tends to crumble and fall off when trowelled onto bricks.

Mix the mortar on a clean, flat surface. Measure each ingredient out in the same container – box or bucket – spreading the sand first, then the lime and finally the cement spread evenly over the sand.
Mix in a dry state with a shovel until the colour is uniform.
After mixing the mortar on a clean, flat surface, make a hole in the centre and carefully add a small measure of water. Remember, you can always add more, if necessary.
Carefully push the dry mix towards the centre and let it soak. Try not to splash and take your time. If too dry, add a little more water.
Continue this careful mixing until all water is absorbed. Always try to work from the outside, leaving a bit of a wall of dry mix to prevent the water from flowing away.

Now turn the heap three times, turning the shovel or spade each time completely. If necessary add some water, but keep it on the dry side Use the bottom of the shovel or spade to test for correct mortar consistency. It  should be smooth and easily pliable. Draw the shovel or spade across the mortar to test the mix uniformity. If too dry, add some water. If too wet leave the mortar alone for a short while, say 15 minutes.

Amount of sand, in cubic metres, needed for every 1,000 bricks is:
110mm wall (header width) =  0.33
230mm (stretcher width) = 0.24
280mm (cavity) = 0.33
340mm (1-1/2 brick) = 0.22
76mm (brick on edge) =0.19

It is not practical for the handyman to design foundations for any permanent brickwork addition to a home. The requirements for these are controlled by local councils, and must comply with Uniform Building Regulations and Standards Association of Australia codes.
The reason for this is the big variations in load-bearing capacities of soils in localities sometimes only a few metres apart. Seek guidance from your local municipal engineer or building surveyor.
For small projects that do not require permits or inspections, the size and depth of the foundations will depend on the nature of your soil and a talk with the local building surveyor may solve this problem.
Experience has shown that a satisfactory foundation for low walls, planter boxes, barbecues and so on, is a concrete strip 150mm to 200mm thick and of a width to give an overlap of about 100mm on each side of the bricks in the wall.
These foundations can also be laid in brick on a 25mm thick sand bed. The second course is a brick and half wide, the third and fourth one brick wide.