Making a Raised Bed from Railway Sleepers

A bed made from railway sleepers will be extremely strong and long lasting, with an attractive natural look. Our standard tanalised sleepers are sized at 2400mm x 200mm x 100mm (collection from our head office only) or 1200mm x 200mm x 100mm. We can supply both sizes in either Green or Brown.  You can use them horizontally, or cut them in length and lay them in the same way as timber posts. Instructions for how to make a raised bed using the sleepers horizontally are below.

raised beds

What you will need

  • Railway Sleepers
  • Circular saw or chain saw
  • Drill
  • 20 to 30cm wood screws
  • 10cm wood screws
  • Metal plate connectors

 Instructions

  1. Calculate the number of sleepers you need for your raised bed. The number of sleepers you'll need for your raised bed depends on the size of your desired bed. When calculating, remember that you need to make your bed at least four sleepers tall.
  2. Arrange railway sleepers into a rectangle or square on the ground. If the sleepers need trimming, cut them to size using a circular saw or a chain saw.
  3. Connect the sleepers end-to-end using metal plate connectors. Centre the metal plate connector over the gap where two sleepers meet and place a 10 cm (4 inch) wood screw into each hole to hold the plate in place. If you want your raised bed to be extra secure, you could place a second metal plate connector on the opposite side of the sleepers as well.
  4. Attach railway sleepers to each other at the corners using a drill and 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inch) wood screws. Wood screws do not require pre-drilling and can bore directly through sleepers. Connect the corners by drilling two to three wood screws through the entire width of one sleeper, into the end of the adjacent sleeper.
  5. Stack sleepers on top of the first set. Attach the sleepers to the bottom rectangle or square in the same way that you attached the bottom sleepers to each other, except drill the timber screws through the top sleepers into the bottom pieces. Also, connect the sleepers to each other as you did the first row, end-to-end.
  6. Continue stacking sleepers on top of each other until your wall is at least 45 cm (18 inches) high, though it can be higher if you prefer. Continue to use wood screws to connect the sleepers to each other.
  7. Once the construction is complete, we would advise lining the raised bed with membrane thus preventing weeds from growing from underneath whilst allowing for drainage.  Fill the raised bed with soil then populate with your plants or vegetables!

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