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Railway sleeper borders

Hi can anyone help please? We’re having railing sleepers installed as a border right round the Garden 3-4 high. They will be lined, is it ok to plant anything then? We don’t want larger plants, bamboo, shrubs or trees to effectively become pot bound due to the lining, is there a specific lining we should use? I’m not good with Gardens however we do want larger plants for privacy. Thank you so much for any advice. Angie 


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,158
    edited April 2018
    I'm assuming this sleeper wall is a retaining wall and not a fence/wall around the perimeter of your garden.    Ordinary black plastic will line them nicely and can be bought by the metre from big rolls in good DIY stores and maybe builders' merchants.   Fold over the top edge of plastic for neatness and staple it a couple of inches below the top.  The idea is to stop water from the soil seeping in and rotting the wood prematurely as well as preventing any chemicals in the wood from leaching into the soil and affecting the plants.

    After that, what you plant depends on what soil you already have or will put in behind the sleeper wall - acid, alkaline, sandy, clay, loamy, stony - as well as which way it all faces, how much sun it gets and how exposed you are to strong winds, heavy frosts, rain, drought......

    If they are a fence/wall and not a retaining wall then the same applies with regard to soil, aspect, exposure.  How tall the plants need to grow depends on what you're trying to disguise or hide from and how "solid" you need the privacy screening to be.

    Could  you post a picture or two?
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • edited April 2018
    Hi thank you so much, so I assume then that is doesnt matter that the roots will stop at the plastic? Should there be holes in the bottom of the plastic to allow roots and water to seep through? Thank you 
  • Ps I couldn’t send photos :(
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited April 2018
    Line the sides, not the bottom.  Best to fork the soil over in the bottom of the beds before filling, removing as many weed roots as you can to prevent them growing up through the raised bed (eg dandelions, which seem to be able to shoot up through several feet of soil laid on top of them!)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Hi, what is the bed going on be sited on? Concrete, earth, paving? Thanks
  • Thank you Bob, I had a feeling. Clueless with Gardens just want it to look nice and full of plants. 

    Hi Fire it’s going to be on part soil part existing flagging. 

    Dont go mad everyone and never speak to me again, fake grass is going in the middle ;) 
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
  • Thank you everyone 👍🏻
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Holes in the bottom of the lining is advised so the whole thing doesn't become a lake in wet weather. Are you keeping the paving in the middle of the garden?
  • Hi Fire yes, hope it’s ok 👌🏻 . The landscaper said it’s ok he’s putting a sand bed down and we’ve bought a good quality fake grass. 👍🏻
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