Railway sleepers are laid at regular intervals underneath railway tracks to keep the lines in place and at the correct spacing, but they have also found popular domestic use in a huge range of garden and DIY projects.

Due to their original purpose, wooden railway sleepers have to be very strong and resilient, which makes them a great building material for your project. They have a fantastic rustic charm and are also a very environmentally-friendly material as they are made from reclaimed wood, meaning you are giving new life to old wood that would otherwise be scrapped.

Here, we’ve put together some railway sleeper ideas that you can easily undertake to revitalize your garden or outdoor space.

Raised flower/plant beds

One of the most popular uses for railway sleepers is to create raised flower beds. This is a great idea if you don’t want to dig up your grass to make flower beds and they are also less likely to get trampled by pets, while being easier for you to reach and do any pruning.

A raised garden pond

Having a water feature in a garden is always a sought-after feature so, if you don’t already have one, why not make your own? Railway sleepers make a great border for a raised garden pond which saves you digging up the ground and you can make the walls wide enough to support benched seating that gives you a perfect spot to watch the fish!

Rustic decking

Another great railway sleeper project is to make your own decking. If you don’t like the uniformity or polished look of composite decking, then railway sleepers make a great, eco-friendly alternative and can create a deck that exudes rustic charm.

Garden benches, seats and tables

Railway sleepers are durable and solid, making them the perfect material for a range of building projects, particularly furniture such as garden benches, seats and tables. You might need a little more DIY savvy to create these, but some designs will be much easier than others, and whatever you make will provide a charming area to entertain friends and family.

A children’s sandpit

If you have little ones who need some outdoor entertainment, then making a sandpit could be a great project to use your railway sleepers for. A sandpit is a relatively easy project that even beginner DIYers can undertake, providing you have the right materials.

Steps, walkways or paths

If you have a sloped garden, a great use of railway sleepers is to make some steps. These can make it easier to navigate the garden or make another route to a raised deck or terrace. You can also use sleepers to make attractive walkways or paths that can give your garden some visual variety.

To build terraces in steep gardens

It can sometimes be difficult to decide how best to decorate a steeply sloped garden, but railway sleepers can be used as the base to create tiered terraces that can transform your garden into unique and stylish sections which you can decorate with outdoor furniture and plants. 

Depending on the size of your space, this project doesn’t have to take up your entire garden, you could create a terrace just at the top of the slope or down one side and leave the grass exposed everywhere else.

If you’re feeling inspired to get started on one of these railway sleeper project ideas, then you can take a look at our oak railway sleepers


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