On-demand (starting March 1, 2024)

Adobe Construction Basics – 2024 Online Bootcamp


This 6-module online bootcamp will teach you the fundamentals of adobe block and construction that can be completed at your own pace. The comprehensive curriculum teaches you everything you need to know to build your own landscape garden wall from adobe bricks. As an AIA-accredited class, architectural professionals will also have the opportunity to earn 10 HSW Learning Units.

1 in stock

The best way to learn the basics of adobe is to collect some local soil and make a series of test blocks which are then used to build a small garden wall.


6 modules (8-10 hours per module). You will have until the end of the current year from the time of registration to complete the course.

Course Topics

  1. Making Blocks
  2. Soil Selection and Testing 
  3. Adobe Forms
  4. Gravel Garden Wall Foundations
  5. Adobe Brick Laying and Leveling Techniques
  6. Water Resistance and Stabilization

Who is it for?

Adobe Construction Basics – 2024 Online Bootcamp bundles essential topics from the Adobeisnotsoftware Adobe Curriculum into a format that is suitable for all levels, from beginners, to building professionals, DIYers, natural building enthusiasts, adobe homeowners, aspiring owner builders, and the adobe curious.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Learn about safety in earthen construction.
  • Learn about how earth has been used as a building material worldwide and in CA.
  • Learn about the environmental and health benefits of earth as a building material.
  • Learn which building codes apply to earthen construction.
  • Learn how to locate, identify and test suitable soils for use in adobe construction.
  • Learn about clay minerals and aggregates and their role in the adobe mix.
  • Learn the proportions of a good adobe mix for your area and how to amend your soil if a suitable mix is not naturally present.
  • Learn about the use of stabilizers for improved water resistance, including asphalt emulsion, portland cement, and lime
  • Learn and master mixing mud in a wheelbarrow, muck bucket and barrel mixer.
  • Learn and master adobe block making.
  • Learn and master the basic adobe block drying and storing sequence.
  • Learn and master different methods of field testing your adobe blocks for strength.
  • Learn and master the installation of a basic gravel garden wall foundation
  • Learn and master techniques for properly applying mortar to build a wall
  • Learn and master techniques for laying and leveling adobe blocks to build a wall
  • Learn and master techniques for properly tooling mortar joints

Instruction Type

This is a virtual class held using an online classroom platform hosting reading materials, podcasts, videos, field project assignments and a discussion board. Instruction is asynchronous with all six content modules accessible to you when you register. Students can participate whenever their schedule allows.


Kurt Gardella

Kurt Gardella specializes in online and field-based adobe construction education. He holds a Certificate in Adobe Construction from Northern New Mexico College (Quentin Wilson) and is also certified as a Specialist for Building with Earth (Registration #01-208-0810) by the Dachverband Lehm (German Association for Building with Earth) and the Handwerkskammer Ulm (Ulm Chamber of Trades and Crafts). Kurt also holds an Adobe Proficiency Certification from The Earthbuilders’ Guild. In addition to Adobe is not Software, Kurt also teaches classes for Adobe in Action and Santa Fe Community College.

Evaluation Methods

20-question written exam
Remote evaluation of adobe block making and garden wall field projects


This course  includes topics from the following Adobeisnotsoftware Curriculum modules:

  • 120 Soil Selection and Testing (full module)
  • 122 Making Adobe Blocks (full module)
  • 124 Water Resistance Admixtures for Earthen Building Materials (aka Stabilization) (full module)
  • 180 Intro to Earthen Building Codes and California (select topics)
  • 230 Introduction to Foundations for Earthen Buildings – Concepts (select topics)
  • 232 Introduction to Earthen Wall Building – Concepts (select topics)

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