How to Lay Sleepers for Garden Edging

Do you want to know how to lay sleepers for garden edging? Or would you like to learn about laying sleepers on soil? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then this post is just for you.


Railway sleepers come in handy for several horticultural purposes. You can use them to create long-lasting flower beds or rustic pathways in your compound. The heavy slabs help to add a striking, bold feature to your home or garden’s landscape.

Railway sleepers are traditionally produced from timber. They come in a rectangular shape and help to support the rails on the tracks. Interestingly, sleepers are highly versatile, especially in gardens in different parts of the world. In this post, we will show you how to lay railway sleepers for garden edging and on different kinds of soil.


Can you lay railway sleepers on soil?

Yes, laying sleepers on soil is possible. The usual thing is to make use of concrete when laying railway sleepers on the soil. However, you can do without the concrete if the sleepers are quite heavy. The only challenge in doing this is that it can lead to water pools around the sleepers. When this occurs for long periods, it could cause the timber to rot faster.

Your best bet when laying sleepers on soil is still to make use of concrete. If this material is not available, then you can consider using sand or gravel. When you use these materials as the foundation for your sleepers, they drain any excess water quickly. By so doing, they reduce the chances of water pools forming around your sleepers. Asides from this, it makes it easier to arrange the sleepers properly and make them level while laying them on the soil.

One question that is quite common is, “how long do garden sleepers for garden edging last?” Several factors determine the answer to this question. The first is the type of timber used in producing the sleepers. Other factors include the treatment of the wood and the kind of foundation you lay.


Traditional hardwood railway sleepers last the longest while untreated softwood sleepers have poor durability. These days, you will find treated softwood in most gardens and they last between 15 years and 30 years.

Can you lay sleepers on sharp sand?

As we mentioned above, sharp sand is a great option for setting the foundation before laying sleepers on the soil. You can use it for a garden makeover, raising flower beds, or setting the walkway on your home’s exterior. The tips in this section will show you how to lay sleepers on sharp sand.

Also Read:

Step 1 – Decide on your design

There are different kinds of designs ranging from simple to complex. It all depends on your creativity and what you hope to achieve. Once you figure out your design, start digging out the pathway where you’ll position the sleepers. Ensure that the foundation looks like a regular rail track so that there is proper support for each sleeper. If you don’t have a design in mind, you can check the internet for inspiration.


Step 2 – Choose your materials

Now that you know the design you’ll be using, the next thing is to choose your materials. Measure the length and width of the foundation path that you dug. Doing this gives you an idea of the size of the sleeper boards you need. You should also consider the type of sleeper board materials to use. As we mentioned above, traditional treated hardwood lasts the longest but it is quite costly and scarce. You can go for the more affordable and easy to work with treated softwood sleepers. Also, gather the other items you need to complete your project.

Step 3 – Clearing and leveling the foundation

In this stage, you will be re-measuring and marking your pathway. Do this by using a chalk measuring tool or marking paint and a tape measure. Mark the sleeper positions on the initial foundation path that you dug earlier. After doing this, check for any unwanted vegetation in the area and clear them out using a shovel or hoe. You should also dig and level each foundation space properly so that the boards don’t protrude after setting them in place.

Step 4 – Measure and cut the sleepers

Here, you should check that each sleeper can fit into the space assigned for it. If they don’t fit in, cut them to size using a circular saw. Make sure that you wear protective equipment like dust masks, gloves, and safety goggles while doing this.

Step 5 – Fastening

Lay the sharp sand into the foundation pathways or channels. Pour about 25 mm in each space before packing it down with a tamper or one of the sleepers. Now, place the sleepers in their positions and tamp them in place using a heavy-duty hammer. Make sure that they are snug and very secure.

Step 6 – Finishing

Now that your sleepers are securely in place, you can round up the project with any finish you desire. Check the internet for a range of finishes that you can adopt after laying sleepers on the soil.

How do you lay a sleeper for a garden border?

Railway sleepers are great for garden borders or edging. In this section, we will show you how to lay sleepers for garden edging. First, the materials you need:

  • An array of fasteners
  • Concrete
  • Concrete
  • Garden sleepers
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Sawhorse
  • Saws
  • Spirit level
  • Work gloves

The steps below will guide you through the process:

Step 1: Come up with a design.

Step 2: Clear the area.

Step 3: Set the foundation.

Step 4: Select your sleepers.

Step 5: Put the sleepers in place.

Step 6: Finish the wall.

You can choose a variety of garden border designs such as simple garden edging design or vertical garden border design. There are several ways to finish the wall such as painting or staining it and sanding the wall.

How to Lay Sleepers for Garden Edging-Conclusion

That’s it for how to lay sleepers for garden edging. We have also answered several questions that relate to using railway sleepers in a garden. If you have any other questions, kindly drop them in the comments section.


Leave a Reply