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Forming Borders from Sleepers

We recently purchased a new home which came with the obligatory square, flat garden, and a small patio.

At present, all we have is a lawn. 

To the right hand side is a brick boundary wall, and to the rear end is another brick wall. There is fencing to the left hand side.

In order to create some borders in which to put some plants, we are thinking about running some sleepers around 900mm from the brick walls.

The sleepers are 100mm x 250mm x 1800mm - we plan to put them so they are effectively 250mm higher than the ground level, and then fill the void with soil and some small plants.

We are going to have a run of 5400mm down one side, and returning 5400mm the other, so effectively 6 sleepers long, but only one high.

My questions are:

a) do we need to make any specific preparation to lay the sleepers onto? can I simply compact the earth below them so it is flat and level with the lawn, or do I need to use some form of packing below - eg balast or sand etc?

b) the plan is to have the sleepers 3 sided (front, left, right) - I will brace them with L shape angles. However - I am unsure if I need to make them 4 sided to contain the soil within, or if I can butt them up against the brickwork wall - if I do that, will I need to fix them to the brickwork? I am concerned they will get bumped or hit when mowing the lawn or similar and the soil gets displaced.

Many thanks in advance.



  • BobFlannigonBobFlannigon Posts: 619

    a) As these aren't 'proper' sleepers they don't tend to last quite so long so it may be a good idea to lay them on sand to try to limit the amount of wet surface they sit on.  For the cost of the sand it's probably worth it and it should make it easier to install them.

    b) If that's your only concern I wouldn't bother with the added expense of extra sleepers, nor would I fix them to the wall.  You could tap put some short pegs in behind the sleepers to stop any movement. Once the soil is settled they shouldn't move anywhere.

  • Brilliant - thank you for the reply

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