Protecting railway sleepers, what have you used?

Hi Guys


We have ordered our railway sleepers which have been treated. 

We want to paint them when we get them, one for colour and also to protect them further. 

Any suggestions on what to use without it being too expensive? 


Missymr image


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,612

    We've not used anything - we like the way they're developing a patina and blending into the garden.  However, if you want something less natural and smarter, I'd use one of the coloured fence paints - we've recently used Cuprinol Garden Shades Seagrass on our fences and are very pleased with it.  Our builder recommended it as being good quality.

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,171

    My question is why????

    The sleepers will have been pressure tannalised which will last for years gradually mellowing with time. You buy sleepers as a focus point lifting plants to a higher viewing point, if you want fancy colours then do not waste money, build raised boxes and paint them. Remember the paint as with a fence will need renewing every couple of years to keep it looking fresh, once started it becomes a continuous job.

    Run ferns and lichens over the edges of the sleepers to soften them, ivy and creeping plants trailing down will give colour, you could always do what the railway do and tar them, OK silly though I think you would live to regret painting them.


  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    I've had sleepers all the way round for my borders and wouldn't paint them, I wanted them for the natural effect and as Frank says, I have put a couple of creeping plants over the edge to soften them, also used some plants with longer leaves so they hang over too. The borders still need to establish, but in time will look lovely image (I hope)

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,618

    This has been discussed on another thread - where the general consensus was also to leave them natural.

    The only reason to paint them would be as a design statement - like those fuchsia/orange/turquoise walls Diarmuid Gavin used to put in his garden designs for TV.  In which case Cuprinol is a good quality, water based product but you'll need several coats and will have to maintain it over the years to keep it looking fresh. 

    Faded Cuprinol is not pretty.  OH and I have just been replacing posts and trellis panels following storm damage.  The posts were once blue and are proving a nightmare to sand down.  In my case, I want them natural for another project but it would be just as hard to clean them up for repainting.  I shall probaly end up buying new and cutting these down to make new coldframes.

    The Vendée, France
  • MissymrMissymr Posts: 24
    Yeah you're all right, we have decided to keep them as they are.

    We don't want to ruin them and start something we'll need to maintain. We just thought they would need some extra protection so we're happy image

    thanks all, now I need help with what plants to put in the borders so I'll start another thread

  • Orchid LadyOrchid Lady Posts: 5,800

    Good decision missymr image, I hope you'll like them as much as I like mine.

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