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Advice on building an L shaped raised bed with sleepers against a fence

edited February 2021 in Garden design
Hi all, complete DIY novice here so apologies for the ignorant questions! We have done some research online but are a bit overwhelmed with the options, and don't want to end up with something collapsing. 

- The shape will be as below. Sleepers preferably laid on their narrower edge to maximise width of the bed. We could go fully flat if we had to but would lose some width, spend more on timber. 

- Where we are confused is what strengthening we need to use. Can we get away with only using wood screws from the sleepers above to those below, in combination with 'brick style' right angle fits at the corners? The height will be approx 70cm, we believe around 2000L soil. 

- Alternatively, do we need to be adding brackets, dowling, rebar, or cemented poles to strengthen the wall at this height? 
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  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    edited February 2021

    Sorry posted this with 9nly your photo appearing and no words!

    not  sure what advice you want but it looks good. Although I would make the depth 1.2 as it's half a sleeper. I see you have concrete gravel boards are they yours? If so you could get away with no backs to the beds but if not and the fence owners decide to replace the fence you will loose your soil support.
    I see you have a spiders web fatsia japonica, will repeat what many of us have said this will grow to 6ft + both up and sideways and back to front so plant in the corner. They can be pruned if it survives, I've never been able to keep one, only the usual all green variety.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,579
    When I recently extended a raised bed I used brackets from this company and thought they were excellent.

    https://www.indooroutdoors.co.uk/pages/sleeperfix-railway-sleeper-brackets
    Rutland, England
  • BenCotto said:
    When I recently extended a raised bed I used brackets from this company and thought they were excellent.

    https://www.indooroutdoors.co.uk/pages/sleeperfix-railway-sleeper-brackets
    Thanks for sharing. Would you suggest one of the corner brackets for each corner, and the flat-brackets for the long section? Want to make sure it's secure but not sure if there's a way to estimate how much is required in the way of support without going full strcutural engineer!
  • K67 said:
    Not sure what advice you want but it looks good. Although I would make the depth 1.2 as it's half a sleeper. I see you have concrete gravel boards are they yours? If so you could get away with no backs to the beds but if not and the fence owners decide to replace the fence you will loose your soil support.
    I see you have a spiders web fatsia japonica, will repeat what many of us have said this will grow to 6ft + both up and sideways and back to front so plant in the corner. They can be pruned if it survives, I've never been able to keep one, only the usual all green variety.
    Apologies added the missing questions to my original post now! 
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Recently remodelled one of my raised beds to squeeze in a few more plants using the offcuts so not as tidy as it should be!
    Most sleepers come in size 100x 200 x 2.4m so surely one high is enough. They are very heavy do don't need to be sunk much if at all as long as it's level.
    We just used these https://www.screwfix.com/p/timber-tite-countersunk-joist-screws-green-6-5-x-200mm-10-pack/47271 if i remember correctly. 2 per sleeper. Where you are putting 2 together We used 2 flat brackets across the join. At the inside  corner we screwed through at an angle from inside so the screws don't show.

  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    Is it recommended to put something against the wall if laying a raised bed against brickwork? Soil against brickwork might lead to a damp issue?
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,579
    Would you suggest ... “, sorry Samuel, but you’re ascribing to me a level of competence way above my pay grade!
    Rutland, England
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    @delski  Ours haven't but we have sleepers all round and they are laid a little way off the wall. The ones in my photo are against a garage single brick wall and no sign of damp inside 
  • BenCotto said:
    “Would you suggest ... “, sorry Samuel, but you’re ascribing to me a level of competence way above my pay grade!
      It's all relative! Better to over-brace than under-brace, so I just going to go with every corner and flat joint with a bracket! 
  • delski said:
    Is it recommended to put something against the wall if laying a raised bed against brickwork? Soil against brickwork might lead to a damp issue?
    We will use some plastic sheets against the gravel boards on the long edge, and probably something thicker against the shorter edge. 
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