Sleepers are a popular addition to modern gardens, whether you have a fondness for the nostalgia associated with Sleepers and their history in the railway industry, or perhaps you are looking for an alternative to stone.

What are Sleepers?

Sleepers are long pieces of wood that have been used for laying railway tracks for many years. Sleepers are laid in the stone ballast, and the railway tracks are attached to them. So the main purpose of Sleepers is really to support the tracks, whilst the ballast ensures that the sleepers and everything connected to them, remain in place.

Why are Sleepers used in the garden?

It is uncertain why exactly Sleepers began being used in the garden, but using re-treated ones is an excellent method of recycling wood that would otherwise have gone to waste.

These days, Sleepers that are available to buy could be recycled ones from across Europe, however it is becoming more common to purchase sleepers that have been created specifically for use in the garden.

Whatever the original reason, there is no doubt that the size and shape of the wood allow for use with a variety of applications, including:

  • Raised Beds and Planters
  • Steps
  • Boundaries
  • Edgings
  • Decking
  • Terraces
  • Walkways

New vs. Recycled Sleepers

For most people, the decision of whether to buy new or recycled Sleepers is a matter of taste, and how nostalgic the feel about the idea of owning an authentic Railway Sleeper. Nevertheless, if you can’t decide, here are a few things for you to consider: 

New Sleepers have of course never been used before, and are more likely to be in excellent condition, with no damage and very few problem areas. Recycled Sleepers have potentially spent a long time under the surface of ballast, which means that there is more change of rotting. They have also served a working purpose, so it is also likely that recycled Sleepers will have holes where the sleepers were once attached to the tracks.

At Howarth Timber & Building Supplies, we have a range of sizes available as well as treated softwood and oak sleepers. They are FSC® Certified and are available in green and brown finish.

All products are treated with a pressure preservative which ensure that they are protected against rot and decay.