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sleepers
Making A Raised Bed With Sleepers
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Making raised beds from sleepers is a fantastic idea and when complete will provide us with more than just a raised bed. The finished bed frame will become a strong sturdy structure and should last for years. But a word of caution here, when these railway sleepers were being made back in the day, they were not intended to become attractive garden accessories. As they were designed to hold rail tracks in position and were exposed to the elements, they were coated in oil, tar and a substance called creosote, which alas is toxic. So unfortunately these are not a good idea to use for a vegetable raised bed.

However if we are using the sleepers as our flower or shrub raised bed, they will look awesome if constructed properly. The fact is that these planks are relatively easy to source and may be available from any lumber yard. The appearance of the planks when assembled will give that aged look to any garden and will feel that they have been there since day one. Your timber merchant may have lengths of wood that resemble railway sleepers, so these can be used in the same way to fashion a vegetable raised bed.

The sleepers come in lengths of approx 8ft, so six of these will make be sufficient to make a sizeable planting bed for beginners. If we are laying these planks on edge, possibly one will be plenty, as they are approx 10” in width. Now if we are laying these on the flat we may need two rows as they are only approx 4” high. If we decide to go the flat route, we have a terrific sturdy structure and will make a great seating area.

Taking all of the above into account and if we have decided on what will look best, again depending on how much room we have at our disposal, a raised bed assembled from railway sleepers will look the part. I would advise that we get a good tradesman for the construction of these as they are rather cumbersome to manipulate into place. Some people line the insides of the raised sleeper beds with plastic sheeting, which is fine and will prevent any leeching into the soil. We need to be very exact when doing this exercise. During very hot weather be careful when sitting on the sleepers as the tar can sometimes melt and may stain our clothes.


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