If you've recently built or bought a new home with a bare and boring garden, then you are probably in the process of landscaping it. Unless you have a big budget, you are most likely planning to do a lot of the work yourself. As well as choosing and planting an array of plants, trees, shrubs and flowers, you may need to add some hard landscaping to your garden to give it shape, contrast and functional features.
If you're not an experienced DIY enthusiast, then constructing hard landscaping features may seem like a task that is beyond your level of expertise. However, even a complete novice can quickly and easily add structurally and aesthetically sound hard landscaping features by using treated sleepers.
If you've never used or bought building products for hardscaping in gardens before, then here are four questions you might have.
1. What are sleepers?
Sleepers are large, solid and strong pieces of pine that were traditionally used to build railway tracks. These days, they're more commonly used as building blocks for garden structures in both residential and commercial applications.
2. What are they treated with?
Sleepers are treated with a blend of chemicals and minerals that are safe for human contact, including copper, chrome and ammonia. This helps to protect the timber from mould, rot and insect infestations in a wet and exposed garden environment.
3. What can I use them for?
One of the appeals of using sleepers for hard landscaping projects is the variety of features that can be created with them. Common projects include raised garden beds, steps, retaining walls, and borders between lawns and garden beds. With a light sanding and some varnish, wax or oil, sleepers can also be used to create beautiful seating and dining areas in your garden.
4. What tools will I need to install them?
Because of their size, weight and density, sleepers act like large building blocks that can be stacked on top of each other without requiring nails or screws. Gravity will keep them fixed in place securely and they don't need to be cemented into the ground like less robust timber products.
If you'd like to get creative with treated sleepers in your garden, then visit your local building supplies or hardware store. They will stock a range of treated sleepers in a variety of lengths, widths and profiles, and you can select the best options for the different hard landscaping projects that you're planning for your garden.