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Using Railway Sleepers in Your Garden

There are so many things that you can do with railway sleepers that, once you’ve made the decision that they would be the perfect addition to your garden, it can be hard to decide exactly how you’re going to use them!

In this article, we’re going to be looking in detail at two great projects you could try. Both are relatively easy and are good ways of getting used to working with sleepers before you get into more complicated projects like building your own garden furniture or retaining walls.

A child’s sandpit

For this, you’ll need three sleepers – one for each side, and one to be cut in half to provide the two ends. When you’ve sawn the one in half, don’t forget to treat the cut ends with a wood preserver, so that they won’t rot.

Mark out the shape of your pit by laying the sleepers on their side, then remove them and dig your pit to a depth of at least 25mm, making it all as level as possible and removing any roots or stones. Place the sleepers back into position and use a spirit level to make sure they are completely flat. 

When you’re satisfied, remove the end sleepers and cover the pit area with weed control fabric – this will still allow drainage, but will stop weeds growing up through the sand.

Put the sleepers back into position and secure them with long timber screws. Once you’re happy that they’re safe to use, you can fill the pit with sand, add toys and children, and you’re ready to go!

It’s a good idea to have a cover to put over the pit when you’re not using it – this will not only keep the sand dry when it rains, but will also keep out the sort of curious creepy-crawlies young children won’t be keen on sharing their sandpit with.

Lawn or path edging

Railway sleepers make great edging throughout the garden and the fact that they are so solid means they’re a fantastic way of creating a defined border. Even better, they’re really easy to use for this purpose. 

Dig a trench along your border, but make it a little deeper than you did for the sandpit, because this time you’ll be laying a base. That could be mortar, but you’ll be fine with a good layer of gravel or other aggregate – our Type 1 Granite would be ideal for the purpose.

You can then lay your sleepers in place, making sure they’re all flat by using a spirit level. If you want to add extra layers, overlap them in the same way you would when laying bricks. And if you go round a corner, you could secure the adjoining sleepers with screws or metal plates.


Do remember that in all cases when working with railway sleepers in your garden that you need to be careful when using reclaimed sleepers, because they can be toxic due to the creosote that has almost certainly been used to treat them. For this reason, they should not be used in children’s play areas or around fish ponds. You don’t need to worry about this with our sleepers, though!

If you want to get creative with railway sleepers in your garden, we have them ready to deliver to you when you need them. Just order online and we can deliver within two working days – of course, if you’re really keen to get started, you can pick some up yourself from our Wickford yard with just an hour’s notice.

Place your order now or get in touch for more details.