Guide to Using Timber Railway Sleepers in the Garden
Discover how timber railway sleepers can be used in garden projects and what sleepers are available.
Railway sleepers have become popular in many gardens as a low cost and eye-catching hard landscaping material. They can be used in the construction of a number of garden features and projects such as retaining walls and planters, steps, garden furniture and feature benches.
Sleepers are normally 250mm wide and 125mm deep and can be between 1.8 to 3m in length. Because of their size sleepers can achieve results quickly, and their aged wooden appearance brings a natural quality to the aesthetics of your garden.
Originally, railway sleepers were just that – heavy wooden sleepers used in the construction of the nation’s railway network. Reclaimed sleepers were obtained when railway lines were upgraded or renovated.
These days there are a wide range of different types of reclaimed, new hardwood and softwood sleepers available in different, and can even be ordered online from websites like http://www.timberclick.com
Original reclaimed used hardwood railway sleepers were previously used to support railway lines. They will still have creosote preservative on them and are often rounded through years of wear and tear, with large holes drilled through them.
Untreated Railway Sleepers
Types and Sizes of Sleepers
Reclaimed sleepers are available in different grades. Grade 1A is the best quality and reclaimed sleepers are available in both oak and softwood.
Grade 2A used oak and softwood sleepers have character but are still good quality at a lower price so are ideal for the majority of home landscaping projects.
Grade 3 sleepers are reclaimed oak which has been creosoted in average condition and are ideal for budget projects as they are lower cost.
New railway sleepers can be purchased in durable hardwood and are usually untreated giving a more natural wood appearance that can be light brown or grey in colour. They are also in better condition that reclaimed sleepers and are available in a wider range of sizes likes boards and planks.
New softwood railway sleepers are often sourced from the Baltic region and again are available in a wider range of sizes. Softwood is easier to handle, cut and drill and will turn a subtler grey/silver colour over time.