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Hi all, just joined the forum as I'm about to landscape the garden. I plan on  building  log sleeper retaining wall, about 3 sleepers high. My question is, do I go with French oak, hardwood or softwood?

Thank you in advance


  • Sleepers are originally old railway sleepers which have been soaked in creosote and last for years - if you can still find the genuine article.

    Hardwoods will always last longer but will normally be more expensive.  Pressure treated boards will do the job but it is often recommended that you leave them for a year or two before applying a wood stain.

    Really down to your preference and budget,

    There are also plenty of companies which offer complete raised beds for you to fix together in whatever configuration suits you.  Not wood so perhaps less maintenance.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,993

    Harder to find old creosoted railway sleepers now and they can be bumpy and uneven but do the job.

    New ones are very good but expensive and, in this part of France, we'd have to get a lorry load shipped from Brittany which is even more expensive so we're going to use roofing beams which are pine but have been treated.   We used them in our Belgian garden when we were repairing our raised beds and they did fine, even in all that rain.   They come in different lengths and will be easier for us to cut to size and also easier for us to lift and manoeuvre.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 875

    Old sleepers can still be found and will last many years. Try demolition yards or reclamation places. New oak sleepers will look nice but unless treated will rot in the soil.

  • Nick74Nick74 Posts: 44

    Have you had a look at:

    I managed to get some old railway sleepers for free and look a good in the garden due to their aged look. 

  • Hi Nick74, thanks for the link! Great website

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 60,525

    Beware of using reclaimed railway sleepers ... many of them have been treated with creosote which will kill off any plants you try to grow near to them.   Fine if you're not using them to edge a bed, but not if you want plants to grow around them.

    Last edited: 04 February 2018 10:06:43

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