Railway Sleepers are a versatile material in landscaping designs. Their greatest advantage is the ruggedness because the sleepers have to bear enormous weight. Therefore, railway sleepers are ideal for garden edging. It don’t require complex design as sleepers provide an easy and practical way to define the edge of your garden. Simply stack sleepers on top of each other to form your desired edging. Sleepers also enhance your garden aesthetics. Reclaimed sleepers have a worn look that makes them perfect for a rustic style. The new ones are more suited to a contemporary scheme. No matter what you prefer, the wood all can add aesthetic value to the scene and create a beautiful contrast to the rest of the garden.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Railway Sleepers
Because of their extremely strong and durable, railway sleepers have been one of the most popular materials of making garden edging. They are not influenced by extreme climates, so you can find them in a great number of outdoor projects. This is their main advantage. Besides that, using railway sleepers to create garden border can easily achieve the desired height by simply stacking them. Another pro is that railway sleepers can often doubles as either seats or steps. If you’re more concerned with the cost, trust me, creating garden edging with railway ties is not particularly expensive compared to other edging options.
There are two main cons of using railway sleepers. The one is that they can be difficult to install when your garden on a slope. The other is that, while railway sleepers can last for many years, they will eventually rot. Once this happens and the railway sleepers need to be replaced.
How to Lay Railroad Ties Edging
Required Tools and Materials:
Sleeper screws or brackets
Laying down sleepers for garden edging is a simply DIY project. The first step you need to outline the edges where you’ll lay the sleepers. Next, dig a shallow trench. Then mix up some lean mortar to be used as a concrete base and haunching. You can also use gravel or sand. These are great for draining. While one or two layers of sleepers is more than enough to divide your flower beds and other parts of the garden, simply stack more sleepers on top of each other to get the edging to the higher height.
Tips for Choosing Railway Sleepers
Reclaimed Railway Sleepers:
Reclaimed sleepers have a worn appearance which makes them ideal for that traditional rustic look. Most gardeners love to use genuine reclaimed railroad ties. But the problem with most reclaimed sleepers is that they’ve been treated with a chemical called creosote. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers creosote a toxic chemical. If you persist in using them, you will need to treat it and seal it to avoid it leaking into your soil and affecting the health of your plants. Urethane can be used to seal old railroad ties.
Treated Timber Garden Railway Sleepers:
If you only have new railway sleepers but want to create a vintage aesthetic, then you can consider treating railroad sleepers with stain and lacquer.
Here’s we will present you some of the different ways that railway sleepers can be used as edging in your garden:
1. Railway Sleeper Lawn Edging
Adding railway sleeper border between your lawn and flower bed will give the garden a crisp look. Just sink the sleepers flat and level with the soil and grass. Image via: forum.gardenersworld.com
2. Lay a railway sleepers path next to a raised bed
Build a walkway from railway sleeper and pebbles. The path together with a railway sleeper raised bed add a beautiful and rustic woody aesthetic to your landscaping.
3. Curved Raised Garden Bed
Railway sleepers are perfect for building a Curved Raised Garden Bed. Cut them in different length and insert into the ground vertically. The natural wood highlight the garden area, creating a beautiful contrast to the rest of the yard.
4. Garden Bed With Built-in Bench
There is no better place outside than setting up a seating area near your flower bed. Building a garden edging using railway sleepers provide you an opportunity to bring into a cozy outdoor bench. A built-in seat doubles as the flower bed border.
5. Geometric Shaped Railroad Ties Edging
If you want to try a different design instead of a typical rectangular, you could try to arrange the railway sleepers for several triangular sections. It is not very difficult arrangement but will create stunning look and grabs attention.
6. Slope Yard and Railway Sleeper Borders
A design like this is perfect for a slope small yard. You would appreciate the impact that this staggered garden has. And most amazing thing is the design creates a super contrast the lawn sections are against the paving and railway sleeper borders. Image via: homify.co.uk
7. Railroad Ties Stepped Border
Railway sleepers are a great way to build a retainning wall for your yard and they also doubles as a border between your lawn and the rest of yard. Besides that you can add a small set of steps for your convenience.
8. Raised Garden Bed
Railway sleepers are a common material can be used to make a raised garden bed. Simply stack sleepers on top of each other to get the flower or vegetable bed to the ideal height. Avoid using old railroad ties treated with creosote, which could injure plants.
10. Multi-level Flower Bed
A lower flower bed together with the main’s greatly add aesthetic value to your landscaping. The railway sleepers are also used as a border between the walkway and garden bed.
11. curved railway sleeper seating area
This seating area sitting within the garden is hands down an incredible sight, and the railway sleeper curved borders play a big role in making it so. The key to create an eye catching effect is that position each railway sleeper vertically and at different heights.
12. Tiered Railway Sleeper Stairway
Got a slope in your yard? Turn it into a three-tiered garden like this with the help of railway sleepers. They are a brilliant way to delineate sections to create depth. Natural wood adds aesthetic value to the scene without detracting from the beauty of flowers and other plants. And more, the
sleepers easily form a stunning stairway all the way to the top of your yard.
13. Treated Old Flower Bed Border
The railway sleepers that have been done old treatment will create more aesthetic appeal. Treating the wood will keep it protected so that it can be the pride and joy of your garden for years to come.
14. Dark Wood Decorative Borders
Railway sleepers can be used to create interesting borders for landscaping too! Dark wood like this blends perfectly with their surrounding plants and river rocks. Image via: pinterest.com
15. Neat Flower Bed Edging
The most coolest thing to use railway sleepers as edging is that they can be stacked to attain the desired height of your flower bed. While a neat and orderly flower bed edging is a simple design, it fits very well to any garden design.