One of the more popular garden landscape design ideas of recent years is the wooden railway sleeper. Although these are now increasingly being replaced by concrete or steel alternatives when it comes to today’s tracks, the original wooden varieties are finding a new lease of life as gardeners across the country discover how durable and versatile they can be.
Here Lumberjacks, who supply garden sleepers to customers in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Stowmarket and across Suffolk, identify six innovative ideas of using them to enhance your outdoor space.
If space is at a premium, or your soil isn’t particularly conducive for growing either flowers or vegetables, then you can use wooden sleepers as the basis for a raised bed (pictured above). These are very simple to put together and will enhance the look of any garden.
Because most raised beds are on the small side, they can easily be covered by soil conditioners, composts or mulch, all of which will improve the enclosed growing environment. Hopefully, the beds’ additional height should deter some pests, such as slugs, from eating your precious plants.
There are plenty of ways in which wooden garden sleepers can be used as part of the fixtures and fittings in your garden. Benches or bench seating are among the commonest – it’s a simple enough task to cut the ends of any sleeper to make a bench. With a little more work, you should be able to create some bespoke chairs and tables as well. Remember, wooden furniture can be used for use inside the home as well as outside.
A Children’s Play Area or Sandpit
Provided you build the sleepers up to the right height, you should be able to create an ideal play area for your children – and avoid the problem of sand getting into other parts of the garden (or inside your house). All you need to add are some buckets and spades and you should have the right recipe for hours of fun for your children. Bark chips are an inexpensive, practical alternative to sand.
It’s worth avoiding using reclaimed sleepers, or any wood which has been treated with creosote, for this type of project. This is because the preservative could be harmful to the skin, both during the construction work and when your children are playing in their new area.
Lawn or Path Edging
Railway sleepers are an ideal way of separating out different areas of the garden and creating different ‘zones.’ They can be used singly or stacked to form walls or dividers for lawns, pathways and other features. As well as creating clearly defined areas, they should also discourage visitors from walking all over your precious plants.
Pathways and Steps
Sleepers can also be used for pathways or terraces, as well as acting as an edging for these types of features. If your garden is on a slope or has different levels, then wooden sleepers are an attractive, natural alternative to brick or concrete paving slabs – and they will also make your outdoor space much more accessible.
If you are creating a pathway, the sleepers are best laid on a bed of sand and almost fully submerged into the ground. They will naturally sink a little over time to be perfectly level with your lawn - or you can fill between the sections with decorative stones or gravel for a more landscaped look.
Wooden sleepers can form one of the essential ingredients for a garden pond; the stacked frames should be integrated with supporting brackets, and then completed with a high-quality pond liner before being filled up with water. Then you can start to enjoy all the additional wildlife - whether it’s fish or plants.
Garden Sleepers in Ipswich from Lumberjacks
Lumberjacks stock a range of both hardwood and softwood sleepers – to see our full range, simply follow this link. Another way of creating separate zones is by using fencing products – and we also supply a range of fence panels and posts to customers in Bildeston, Debenham and across Suffolk. (It’s also worth checking out the special offers section of our website as well).
Our local delivery area includes Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Hadleigh, Stowmarket and Needham Market. For more information, follow this link. Any delivery costs shown are estimates and will be confirmed when your payment is taken.