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Sleepers under patio and retaking wall

Hi all, I hope someone can give me some advice?

we’ve moved into a house where the garden is about 320mm higher than next doors garden.
we want to create a patio area, but need to create the retaining wall first to lay the patio over the top.

We were going to use sleepers, but at the moment trying to get old railway sleepers that are creosote are like gold dust…

if we use new hardwood sleepers, should we use a barrier and gravel to keep the moisture away from the sleeper when we back fill, and will they last
 30 years or more? Or do we wait to get old sleepers ?


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,687
    New sleepers are fine, but how are you fixing them in place?
    They won't be sturdy enough to hold the ground, and patio, in place, if they're just stacked. Usually, steel rods are needed, driven through into the ground :)
    A waterproof barrier is certainly a good idea, and, although gravel isn't always necessary, it's a useful extra. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Poly-anthusPoly-anthus Posts: 130
    We got a retaining wall built with sleepers in our new build garden 14 years ago now.  It's  starting to gradually tilt slightly over despite being bolted with rods, and the top sleepers have had to be replaced as they were rotting.  We have treated it every it two years.  If I had my time over again, I wouldn't use sleepers , especially if you're going to build a patio over them.  Just my thoughts of course.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 2,991
    edited 1 August
    It depends a lot on the quality of the wood. Just down the road from us in Corby is a company called UK Sleepers who supply a vast range of sleepers some creosoted, some treated, some green; hardwood (some exceptionally durable), softwood, new and second hand.

    It is worth phoning them to get recommendations. 
    01536 267107

    Edit. I have just seen in your other post you want 15 sleepers and you live in Sunderland. The A grade best hardwood sleepers from the company above are £50 each plus VAT plus £180 for delivery. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,687
    I'd be inclined to use a blockwork wall, rendered, as a longer lasting solution. Much cheaper too. If you wanted a wood finish of some kind [if it's going to be visible ] you could finish it with that instead of render. 
    We've had revetment walls with exterior ply, finished with  good quality decking [ to match the deck] in previous gardens. They're still there over 20 years later. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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