Well, when a brick wall reaches this point, you need to evaluate it before deciding on how to repair or rebuild it. What is obvious it there is water damage from neglected maintenance. Once the brick rowlock that caps the wall deteriorates, water damage just contues to get worse at a faster rate. The rowlock has already been removed in this photo. Some of the brick in the wall have deteriorated and need to be replaced. The stains aren't a major probem. Luckily, the wall is not bulging in and is still plumb. That tree should probably be removed in most cases. The rail that goes around the top of wall has already been removed.
So, if you are selling a house, and you have a condition like what is showing in this photo, don't panic. It can be repaired. First, remove all of the damaged and decaying brick and mortar. Relay the brick with matching ones. The rowlock that caps the wall can be solid brick layed with type N or S mortar. That will keep much of the water from getting down inside of the wall which is what caused a lot of these stains and decayed some of the brick. Holes should be left in the rowlock so the saftey rail can be set back in place. Non shrink grout or anchoring cement should be used to set the rails. ( this had a iron rail around it). Once all the brick is replaced, wait 1-2 days and wash down the new brick with muriatic acid diluted with water, sureclean, or some other masonry cleaner. Let dry. All the black, grey, and green stains you see on the walls and steps can be cleaned with a variety of products, but one of the best ones to use is called " D2 Biological Solution" . It is safe to use around pets. Spray it on all of the stained places and let it go to work. It might take 1-4 weeks before you see that the wall is clean. You can speed up the process by using water, scrubbing with a medium still brush, then rinsing. Just follow directions on the jug. It would also be a good idea to install and handrail in a stairwell like this. Remember to get at least two estimates when hiring any contractor or repair person.
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