Based on the amazing features that a bed provides for your garden, you would be forgiven for assuming that creating a beautiful bed using garden sleepers is difficult. On the contrary, it is very easy. The easiness of laying sleepers is because of the reliable and robust nature of these structures, whether they are new or recycled versions.
Sleepers are perfect for creating garden edgings since they can be can lay in a single height, either on their edge or flat. Alternatively, you can secure them or stack them.
In this article, we will look at how to lay sleeper for garden edging following simple steps.
Table of Contents
Things That You Might Require
You might need the following tools when working on your garden sleeper.
- Spirit level – for ensuring that all the levels are right.
- Saw – the sleepers might be thick and require some form of trimming. A good saw will do the job.
- Screwdriver – for screwing the screws in (a crosshead model is recommended).
- Hammer – for knocking the nails in.
- PPE (goggles, gloves) – safety should always be your number one concern when working on anything.
Step by Step Guide
Here are the steps that you should follow when laying your sleepers for garden edging.
1. Find the Ideal Location
First thing first, you need to determine the perfect location for your bed. For raised beds, you have the freedom to choose a central location within your yard. However, note that level beds should be placed against the edges of your garden area to protect them and facilitate easy movement.
With a raised option, you can choose a true center in the middle of your yard, complement a seating place or position your bed against a corner or wall. The options are only limited in your mind when it comes to laying garden sleepers. For us, we want to position our raised bed at the edge.
2. Lay the Sleepers on the Surface
Place your sleepers on the surface in a rectangular or square shape, with the sleepers touching at the 90-degree corners (as if you are creating a picture frame; only that it’s huge). These sleepers should be placed on a ground that is firm and level.
Most people just lay them down on the grass, earth, concrete, or deck. Engineers or perfectionists will probably advise you to lay a foundation of hardcore or concrete, but many people go for the quick and simple option.
The advantage of laying hardcore is that it allows drainage of a raised bed, otherwise, you might end up having a raised pond.
3. Fasten the Sleepers Together
Fasten your sleepers together with sleeper screws. If you have laid your sleepers on the surface on their slim edge, then just fasten them together at the 90-degree corners, enabling at least 2 inches or 50mm of the screw to cross over to the other sleeper. At least 2 screws per corner are enough to create a solid structure.
If you have laid the sleepers on the surface on their broader edge, then again, fasten them at the 90-degree corner, enabling at least 2 inches of the screw to cross over to the neighboring sleeper. You will definitely need to fasten through more of the wider sleeper edge than if you used the narrow edge.
The only benefit of using the wider edge is that if you want to add another layer, you won’t need to fix it to the first layer. You only need to lay it on top (overlapping the joints) and simply fasten through the top layer into the lower layer.
Repeat the process until you get the right number of layers. You now have a structure that is joined, and you can easily pick it up as a single structure.
4. Insert a Plastic Membrane
Some people insert a plastic membrane on the inner side of the bed, creating a barrier between the sleeper and the wet soil. Sometimes, hobbyist use high-quality plastic waste bags, professionals use thicker high-quality plastic that doesn’t degrade when it touches the soil.
5. Finishing Off
When you have attained your preferred height and inserted the membrane, you should trim any unwanted end and plane sharp corners and edges, especially if you have kids who use this area. In addition, ensure that you treat any cut or exposed surfaces with the right wood preservative.
6. Fill Your Bed With Soil
Like we said, it might be wise to put bricks, hardcore, and stones inside your bed before you fill it with manure or topsoil to encourage drainage. Many people construct these kinds of beds to hide or get rid of unwanted bits of rubble.
The best thing about using these beds is that you can easily fill them with any kind of soil that best suits your plant. For example, lime hating rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers, and camellias require acid soil.
Remember that these types of beds are more prone to losing minerals and nutrients faster than the other type of beds. Therefore, a mix of 50% substitute compost or peat with additional fertilizer and 50% of garden soil should provide you with an effective result for your sleeper bed.
You should consider topping up your bed with compost and soil again after one year.
Additionally, in order to improve the moisture retention of your sleeper bed, you can insert a top layer of your likings such as pebbles, bark, or wood chip. The soil in your bed might take a while before it settles and might even need topping up – this can take years, so consider planting vegetables or annual plants before you plant more permanent plants.
7. Fill With Plants
This is the fun part. Fill in your bed with your plant and remember that your bed might take a while before its soil settles.
Learning how to lay sleeper for garden edging is very easy. All you need is to set aside a few hours of your busy schedule and you will create a superb bed.