London (change)
18 messages
06/04/2014 at 08:25
Hi guys I'm new here and hoping to learn a lot on this site. We have a sloped garden andd would like some sleepers for the border. Do you think I should stagger them as the garden declines down or end up with not much sleeper showing at one end so it's level? I will try to upload a photo of our garden Thanks for any replies missy
06/04/2014 at 08:33

Yes, a picture or two would be helpful.  Click on the green tree icon and follow the instructions 

06/04/2014 at 08:52
I can't see a tree, maybe it's because I'm on my phone?
06/04/2014 at 09:06

Probably - do you have access to a laptop or pc? 

06/04/2014 at 09:16
Yeah, I'll go grab the laptop
06/04/2014 at 09:32

Yes, pics would be good. Meantime sleepers laid flat are more stable when laid flat, but are okay laid on their edge if only being used in a single row. 

06/04/2014 at 09:48

So this is our garden currently, we would like to place sleepers along the borders to square it off, and narrow the border. 


06/04/2014 at 10:06

What is the difference in height between one end of the garden and the other?

 It is possible to use two layers of sleepers on edge - our builder did this for us a while back - he drilled right through both layers of sleeper and inserted long reinforcing rods through them right down into the soil to hold them firm - they are very stable. 

06/04/2014 at 10:30

The garden slopes about a foot and a half, from the top to the bottom.

We wouldn't want to go two high due to the cost, as we already need about 15 sleepers to do one high 



06/04/2014 at 10:38

So if I understand you correctly, you want to raise the far end of the bed so that it's level with this end - the lawn will continue to slope?

Is this both beds or just one side?

You'll need a fair amount of topsoil to fill the bed. 

06/04/2014 at 10:39

The length of each border will be 12 metres long and 1.3 metres wide. 

06/04/2014 at 10:41

Both sides. we're undecided whether to raise the bed or just have small steps down on each sleeper. what do you think would look best?

06/04/2014 at 10:53

Ideally we'd like to keep the levels the same so we don't have to level it with topsoil. We're just unsure how it would look with each sleeper being slightly staggered lower than the next.

06/04/2014 at 12:06

For a difference of 18 inches over 12 metres I wouldn't bother.   Just dig a clear edge between lawn and bed, fill the bed with plants and the soil levels will take care of themselves and be unnoticeable.  With a vertical sleeper edge you're going to have to strim the edge to keep it neat every time you mow and it will become a rod for your own back.

My garden slopes a bit more than yours and I have laid railway sleepers level with the lawn to make a mowing strip to reduce the amount of edge maintenance needed but not to hold the soil.

06/04/2014 at 12:34

I'm inclined to agree with Obelixx, especially as you are on a budget. good luck whatever you decide.

06/04/2014 at 12:48
Yeah, reducing the edge maintenance is kinda what we're trying to achieve along with smartening the look of the borders, sinking them flat and level with our lawn to create a mowing strip could be an option. But If your sleepers are level with your lawn are they laid on a slight angle (not level) to compensate the slope of your garden?
06/04/2014 at 14:13

They are laid flat with the edge of the lawn so yes, they carry on up the slope at an angle but appear level to the eye.  

Make a line with string or hosepipe to mark the edge you want to have to straighten the border, remembering that wider borders are easier on the eye than narrow ones.  Then cut the turves out and use the best bits to fill in any gaps where the old bed was.

Then dig an even depth trench into which you slot the sleepers.  Keep the top level with the lawn so the mower slides easily over it.   You can line the trench with sharp sand to make it easier to level the sleepers.

06/04/2014 at 14:39
Thanks, I think that's what we'll do. I was worried that they wouldn't look right if they were not perfectly level. But like you said the difference is only 18 inches over 12 metres. Thanks obelixx for your advice and everyone else who has commented I really appreciate it.
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