Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Build a Picture-Perfect Wall Around Your Ghana House

Image source: AFTEC

In Ghana, one way of protecting your house and the people who leave in it is to build a wall around it. Walls also define the boundaries of the property or plot of land while serving as a design element. They are aimed at protecting the inhabitants and preventing unwanted or dangerous people from entering the house. Nevertheless, most of the time in Ghana, it ends up being too high or too dense, blocking views from outside and preventing you from appreciating what is around you.

Block walls are the most popular type of walls in Ghana mainly because concrete blocks are easy to make and find, and affordable as well. Concrete blocks, also called cement blocks or foundation blocks are usually made from cast concrete which is a mixture of sand and cement and sometimes fine gravel. Brick walls are not very common because bricks are quite limited in availability and not so popular with most Ghanaians, maybe due to the reason that it cannot be painted and decorated as much as block walls. Another reason may be that concrete blocks are easy and cheaper to dry after production in the sun which is very abundant most part of the year in Ghana, unlike bricks which are usually burnt in kilns.

Building a block wall does not take much time and can be completed in a couple of days. Block walls often range between eight to nine inches high, that is between about five to seven blocks stacked up and alternated with mortar infill to strengthen it. A reinforcement system of metal rebar is placed within the walls at well calculated distances to prevent it from collapsing and this creates the column (usually called pillars) you see between the walls. With much determination, focus and expertise guidance it is possible to build a picture-perfect wall that is clean, orderly and very pleasing around your house in Ghana.

Before starting to build the wall however, it is important you consult your house designer or Architect or more specifically, a Landscape Architect. Chances are that he or she may have already designed the wall with the main building design which makes things easier and faster for you. If there is no wall design, ask for some advice and contributions on how to build the wall to tie in with the house design perfectly. Some of the house design elements, materials and colours can be adapted in the wall design to bring about coordination and rhythm.

All walls need a good support to stand firm. This may be a foundation, footer or concrete slab. Whichever it is, it must be strong, clean and level so the mortar and blocks can sit stable and steady. The distance to dig the trench for the foundation will mostly depend on the soil profile and this is already calculated in the structural foundation drawings. You should be able to read or check the construction drawings to find the correct dimensions proposed by the designer or architect. Dimensions of the walls can be deduced from the floor plans and elevations of the external wall design layout. You can ask for assistance from your designer or Ghana Homes if you are struggling to understand the dimensions.

Security is very important for your home but try not to allow it be the main focus of the wall. You should not build it too high or all sealed up to cover the entire building within it, with obvious security features such as huge barbed wires and metal spikes. The security features should blend and tie in aesthetically with the wall so people appreciate the design and beautiful aspects of the wall more. You can make use of honeycomb blocks normally called design blocks in Ghana for your front wall to appreciate the surroundings. Limit protrusions and windings and try to keep it simple as this may go beyond the specified land boundaries which can bring about conflicts with adjacent land owners.

The key to a picture-perfect wall is prior design and good planning. If you desire a picture-perfect wall for your house in Ghana, you have to ask for assistance and guidance from the building experts. Do not think it is so easy and can be done without any prior planing and knowledge. You may end up with an unbalanced, weak and unattractive wall which may cover up all the beauty of your building.

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