Railway sleepers again

8 Sep 2011
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United Kingdom
Hi all, I have decided to divide the lawn and border using sleepers. I know nothing about these although I have done a search on here and realise "reclaimed" are not good due to oil/seepage etc.

I have about 120ft to cover and the border will be only 1 sleeper high laid on its narrower end......any suggestions as to which sleeper is best?

Also, how to lay? Am thinking dig small I trench, about 4" deep and lay a shallow, compacted layer of sand and then place sleeper on top. I was also thinking about about dropping in some steel/bar vertically behind the sleeper and secure it to the sleeper to make sure it doesn't move back or forwards......overkill?????

Any advise is greatly received
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Reclaimed sleepers can be coated in all sorts, creosote, tar
, oil etc whatever they have come into contact with during their service life or subsequent storage. But they do have a sort of rustic appearance if that's what you like. If you go down the reclaimed route good strong work gloves are essential when handling them due to the nasties and splinters.
They also tend to be quite heavy, I got some 8ft sleepers and they are not easy to move.
If laid side on as you intend I think they might roll over unless placed in trench and well compacted material either side.
Pegging them would probably help, with 2inch treated wood pegs driven in behind and screwed. Or maybe galvanised steel builders straps could be utilised as pegs, these could also be used to strap the sleepers together. Don't know how to post a link but Toolstation item 50096 might be suitable, but at £2.99 each it's going to add up.
I agree regarding stakes. When only one high i just hammer in a stake and screw into that.

I would also substitue your sand for fine gravel to help keep them from sitting in dampness the whole time.

New treated softwood are cheap and easy to move around on your own etc but don't last terribly well. If using them try and get a ribbon of clean gravel behind to help water sitting against them.

Reclaimed 9x6'' are a 2 man lift.

New untreated oak are a good halfway house and will last much better than the softwood but they are more expensive as you have quite a lot to get
I stapled damp proof plastic sheeting to the back of mine to help keep the soil off, it's covered by the soil so can't be seen.
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Thanks for the replies everyone. To be honest I think I would like a more modern look so the original sleepers are out. May pop to Jewsons to look at some machine cut alternatives

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