Some time ago we decided to redo the garden. The old garden was paved with pretty standard tiles. We already fitted new doors and windows so we decide to redesign the garden to match the backyard entrance.
Step 1: Step 1: Landscaping
First I removed the old tiles and removed 20-30 cm of sand dirt. I kept the tiles, because I decided to build the walls out of cheap building materials instead of the - much easier - diy-shop border bricks.
I levelled the ground and poured 20 cm of sand in it.
Depending where you are in the world the ground either retains too much moisture or loses it without effort. I can hit ground water at 50cm and the ground is claylike in structure. So 20cm is the minimum for rain to be able to find its way into the ground. Remember that roots of trees don't like too much moisture.
Step 2: Step 2: Concrete Foundations
I create a foundation (about 5-7 cm thick) using standard concrete with 8mm wire to support it.
The walls will be about 50cm high, 20cm stick and the length of the wall is about 9 meter. This calculates to almost 300 kilo of materials. So a proper foundation to keep things level is necessary.
I used some old wooden beams to create 2 rectangular boxes and keep them about 25-30cm apart.
Mix one or two bags of standard concrete mix and pour it and use a trowel to disperse the mix. Start by filling it halfway. Than fit the wire mesh in and just put it on top of the cement. After this pour the remainder of the cement mix in to top it off.
Use some old wooden board to strip it over the wooden beams to make things level.
I covered the cement with plastic sheets because the concrete will evaporate too quick when just left uncovered.
I let it dry for at least a week (or use a type of concrete that hardens quickly).
Step 3: Step 3: Laying 'bricks'
Now the foundation is finished (sorry, no pictures) its time to start with the walls. I used standard diy cheap tile glue (check if its suitable for outdoor use). I used recovered building materials to create the walls.
I let the result set for another week.
Step 4: Step 4: Plastering and Finish
I applied an outdoor cement best stucco mix.
First apply a bonding agent to the wall. After that I cut the corner aids to size and added a clamped to keep them in place. You don't need to cover the entire inside wall. This step was the hardest of all. Cement based plaster is not easy to work with. The entire proces of plastering both borders to me six hours!
I was not completely happy with the finish. It was still rough and uneven so I decided to go for a structure paint that helps to a more smooth looking finish.
Step 5: Finish
After painting I put in lighting by drilling a hole into the wall below the porch surface.
In order to prep it for the olive tree we put in root fabric a 20cm of sand and 50cm of rich soil.
[update] After two years
After two years the borders and stucco still holds firmly and the borders are still level and without cracks. I chipped a bit of the stucco with the placement of the olive tree but for the rest its low maintenance. The sun burns of al the algae it forms in the winter in the summer.