Top 5 ideas for using railway sleepers in your garden

Railway sleepers have become increasingly popular in  recent years as a means of bringing some order and style, not to mention some desirable rustic charm, into our gardens. And it’s little wonder, because not only does that weathered wood mean they look great, they’re also incredibly versatile. They have a strength, solidity and durability that makes them ideal for a number of practical applications.

With railway sleepers now available to buy at KG Smith & Son (Coal Merchants UK), what better time to take a look at five of the best ways of using them in your garden?



Railway sleepers can be used to make a tidy and solid border between different areas of your garden, separating off your flower beds, your lawn or your patio. You can place  them on their sides or lay them flat so you can stack them. Either is going to look fantastic, but you’re going to have to make sure they’re well secured, otherwise they will shift over time. Ideally the base should be set in concrete, and if you are stacking, make sure each level is well fixed to the next so that there’s no danger of the whole thing collapsing.


Raised flower beds

Because they’re easy to stack, railway sleepers are ideally shaped for a quick and simple means of creating raised beds for your plants, flowers and veg. As they are very heavy, if you are laying them onto soil, you will ideally need to use a concrete base (or sand and gravel can also be used) to prevent them sinking over time. To ensure the structure stays stable, attach each layer to the one below with wood screws and secure them at the corners with brackets. 


Garden Furniture

Because railway sleepers are so strong and sturdy, they can be used to make all kinds of garden furniture, including benches, tables and stools. Part of the appeal of these is that they don’t have to be 100% perfect, because it all adds to the rustic feel of the finished item. As long as they’re comfortable and steady to sit, eat and relax on, then they’re doing their job. Such items are easily available online, but if you have the skills, tools and confidence to have a go yourself, you’re likely to be several hundred pounds better off as a result!


Decking, Pathways & Steps

Sleepers can also be used to create a number of features that will help give your outdoor space a charming cottage garden look. You can build an attractive path through your garden by laying your sleepers into the ground, regularly spaced, with decorative gravel or stones filling in the space between. If your garden slopes, you can create steps by laying your sleepers to bridge the gap between the different levels. Or, to combine the cottage garden look with a more modern concept, you can even use sleepers as a stylish alternative to more traditional decking boards.


Garden Ponds

Once you’ve learned how to build a raised bed with railway sleepers, it’s relatively straightforward to take the next step and turn it into a pond – the only difference is that you want to make sure it’s 100% watertight. You can buy special liner sheets from most garden centres that you can use to do this, and once that’s in place, all you need to do is to fill it with water, plants and fish!


At KG Smith & Son (Coal Merchants UK), we have a range of railway sleepers ideally suited for all these exciting projects. Why not contact us today so that you too can enjoy the benefits of these versatile garden delights?



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