Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Garden Sleepers




Setting up railway sleepers is pretty straightforward and can tidy up your outdoor space. Whether it’s for borders, raised beds, or benches, here’s a quick rundown on doing it.


Tips and Techniques

Step 1: Prepare the Area and Map Out Your Design

Start your project by figuring out the shape of your garden edge. Draw lines where you want the sleepers to go, making sure they create the exact outline you want for your lawn or flower bed. It’s important to measure these lines carefully to know how many sleepers you’ll need and if you need to cut them to size.

Next, clear any plants, weeds, or debris from the area where the sleepers will be placed. You’ll want a blank canvas for installation to ensure a smooth and even layout.


Step 2: Laying the Foundation

The durability of your sleeper edging largely relies on how well you prepare the base. Dig a trench along the lines you marked, deep enough to hold the sleepers securely. You can choose different materials for the foundation, such as sturdy concrete, simple sand, or gravel. You might also place the sleepers directly on the soil, but to avoid moisture damage, it’s advisable to lay a waterproof barrier underneath.


Step 3: Position the Sleepers

Depending on your project—whether it’s edging, planters, or low borders—the way you secure your sleepers will differ. For edging and planters, dig a shallow trench to lay your sleepers into the ground, whereas, for borders, you may use a wooden stake or spike for support.

In raised garden scenarios, the number of layers will increase accordingly. If your design calls for multiple layers of sleepers, stack them with care, making sure to overlap the corners properly. Use a spirit level to check for even alignment.


Step 4: Secure Sleepers Together

You can ensure a robust structure by joining the sleepers with steel rod pins, and long landscaping screws, or using metal plates and corner braces for reinforced stability.

With the sleeper edging in place, it’s time to fill in the space enclosed by your new boundary. Layer in a mixture of soil and compost to create the foundation for healthy plant growth. Your garden is now primed for sowing or landscaping.


Step 5: Finishing Touches

To avoid splinters and enhance longevity, sand down any rough surfaces. You can also apply varnish or wood paint for protection and colour.

Pro Tip: For any steps made with Railway sleepers, adding wire mesh or grip material can prevent them from becoming slippery when wet.


Essential Tools and Materials

Here’s what you’ll need to achieve success with your railway sleeper edging project:

  • Railway Sleepers: Choose between new or reclaimed, based on the look you want.
  • Heavy-duty Gardening Gloves: Protect your hands during the process.
  • Saw: For trimming sleepers to your sizing needs.
  • Spirit Level: Ensures a balanced, professional finish.
  • Steel Rods or Sleeper Screes: For securing sleepers in place.
  • Screwdriver: A necessity for fastening hardware.
  • Retaining Posts: Additional reinforcement, if needed.
  • Varnish (Optional): For a polished, enduring surface.


How to Choose the Right Railway Sleepers

Choosing the right railway sleepers can really shape the look and feel of your garden. Let’s look at a few appealing options:

  • New European Oak Sleepers: These are perfect if you’re aiming for a modern garden vibe. They look sharp and neat, plus oak is a strong material that should last you a long time.
  • Treated Softwood Sleepers: These are softwood sleepers that have been treated to last longer. They’re a sensible choice if you want something durable that doesn’t need much upkeep.
  • Reclaimed Railway Sleepers: Go for these if you want your garden to have a rustic feel. They have a lot of character!

Think about what look you’re going for in your garden and how long you want your sleepers to last.

At LRBM, we have a large selection of reclaimed railway sleepers and oak beams perfect for a range of projects. Please get in touch for more information. Our team can help you find exactly what you need.