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5 Ways to Use Railway Sleepers in Your Garden

This popular garden material can be used in a multitude of ways, from edging a vegetable patch to creating a rustic bench. See how these homeowners have incorporated railway sleepers into their gardens and borrow an idea or two for your own space.

Mark Out a Path

Thin slivers of railway sleepers set into crunchy gravel provide a practical and charming walkway in this country-style garden. They’re a nice angular alternative to traditional round stepping stones.

Create a Smart City Garden

Sleepers are often used to conjure up a rustic feel in a garden, but they can also be employed to create a sleek look, as this courtyard garden proves.
Neat rows of sleepers sanded smooth and stained create raised beds around the perimeter of this paved yard. Symmetry and simplicity are key to this look, and once installed the raised height of the borders will ensure they are relatively easy to maintain.

Build a Bench

One for the keen DIY-ers out there, a sleeper bench can make a great rustic addition to a garden. The designer of this garden space has used very chunky sleepers with a weathered finish, which adds an interesting shot of texture to this small, but colourful garden.

Step to it

Weathered sleepers have been used to create wide steps in this back garden, bridging two distinct levels. Chunky wooden steps like these will age gracefully over time and are perfect for an informal cottage-garden style when teamed with loosely-planted borders that are allowed to spill out gently onto the path.

Wooden steps can become slippery in wet weather, so ask your garden designer to add extra grip to the surface if you are concerned about the slip risk. With all projects, if your sleepers are untreated it’s wise to get advice from your local timber merchant about which wood preserver you should use. The one you need will depend on if your sleepers are made from hardwood or softwood.

Stake Out a Veg Patch

Railway sleepers set directly into the ground are a classic boundary material for a vegetable plot, and are a quick and effective way to keep plants neatly contained.

To create a similar look, mark out individual beds and measure carefully to ensure you can comfortably access the centre of the bed from each side as well as leaving enough space to walk between them.