Bordering garden with sleepers.

12 Jun 2006
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United Kingdom
Hi folks. I have purchased some 2.5m sleepers to use in my garden.

The first thing I want to do is build a small retaining wall.. only about 2ft high off the patio area. There was a small brick wall there previously which I have knocked away.

My first question is. Should I lay the sleepers directly onto the soil level *after* the patio slabs, or is it better to lay them onto the end of the slabs themselves? Secondly. Do I want to use something to fix the first level down?

The second thing I want to do is lay a border round the full garden which will contain the lawn when I get it.

How do I fix the sleepers into the soil round the border just compress the muck down and put in place or is there any sort of other fixtures needing done?

Any help greatly apreciated. Thanks

Chris :)
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Most sleeper retaining walls are built using vertical sleepers cut to size and cemented into the ground. It is normal to have 1/3 in the ground. Like this one I did last month…

Sounds like you are trying to build a retaining wall using the full length of the sleepers horizontally? I think that the usual procedure is to use steel rods through the sleepers and anchored in a concrete bed.

As to your second question the above can also apply.
Hi, thanks for replying. Yes I want to lay horizontally... Just three high through.... Metal rods and stuff is way past my skill I am afraid :)
You can use rebar, the stuff used for reinforcing concrete, drill a hole in or through the sleepers and hammer the rebar in then set them all in concrete, I'm sure you can drill a hole easy enough surely and if you havent got a drill big or good enough for the job go and hire one ;)
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been out measuring. I think I would prefer if I could lay the wall on top of the existing slabs rather than lay a full bed of concrete. How can I fix them to the slabs? :)
if you put posts in behind you dont need to, however you may well get seppage under the sleepers where they sit on the slabs, so you would be better taking the slabs up
way too many slabs too lift up. we are going to be putting raised decking just above the slabs so maybe seepage wont be a problem for me?
As for making a sleeper border, I did this to my garden early this year. All i did was to cut out the turf/soil,put some hardcore down, tamp it flat then laid a bed of wet cement to secure into place, For good measure i drove some nails into the underside of the sleeper at irregular angles so that the cement would cure around the nails keeping the sleeper well and truly in place,

Here's some pics for guidance.
The height in which i lifted my lawn
View media item 757The first of many land drain trenches
View media item 756The finished result
View media item 761Another Angle
View media item 760
What are the best sleepers to use in a garden? Which did you use in the photos you posted Thermo? Ive seen they do hardwood and softwood. Is there a difference in life, looks, durability etc?

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