The Versatile Beauty of Railway Sleepers

When embarking on a garden landscaping project, what comes to mind? Creating zones perhaps, or setting aside some space for growing fruits and vegetables? Maybe you just want to give your garden a bit of a face-lift and modernise its appearance? Whatever you want to create, railway sleepers can help you achieve it, and all for a very reasonable cost as well. Find out how railway sleepers can help you with a garden landscaping project and see if you could benefit from buying some treated, untreated or reclaimed sleepers for use as part of your project.

Railway sleepers are simply large beams of wood – because of this they can have many uses and are highly versatile. Softwood sleepers are one option and they can be treated or untreated, making them stronger and more durable with heat or pressure treatment, or giving them a particular appearance based on what you are looking for. Some sleepers can be reclaimed which is where the name ‘railway’ sleepers comes from specifically; used on train tracks, they have since been  recovered and are then sold on for people’s garden and outdoor projects primarily. They might also be used indoors for decorative projects (they are probably not suitable for use as load bearing beams unless properly specified, particularly reclaimed sleepers). Most commonly, reclaimed sleepers will be used for decorative projects out of doors where their shabby chic look is very welcome.

These are some of the most common usages for wooden railway sleepers out of doors:

  • Flower beds, or raised vegetable beds. If you are able to do some DIY, railway sleepers can be made into much cheaper raised beds for growing crops and plants.
  • General landscaping. It is often popular to use sleepers to create different areas and zones, as a means of decorating a garden.
  • Borders. Sleepers can be laid out to create borders and make the edges neat around the lawn.
  • Fencing. Sleepers can create unique fencing options and may be used where a unique or bespoke look is wanted.
  • Storage. It can be possible to use sleepers to build storage options or compost bins, or to create bin stores and other storage areas where items can be kept out of sight for better aesthetics.

Internally, sleepers can have their uses as well which can include:

  • Fireplaces and surrounds. Sleepers can make a beautiful fireplace and reclaimed railway sleepers in particular can be popular for this purpose when character is wanted.
  • Non structural beams. When beams are not going to be used to support weight, railway sleepers of any shape, size or appearance can be used. Note that sleepers can also be used for structural purposes but this will need to be properly calculated by a structural engineer.
  • Furniture. Railway sleepers can be made into tables, bookcases and more if you have a little imagination. They can be cut up, or piled up to create a stacked effect. They might also be used effectively as floating shelves, attached to walls to create a distinctive shelf option.