Using AVS sleepers to build raised beds for your garden

One of the core products we’ve supplied to The Famous Five Garden project at BBC Countryfile Live on the grounds of Blenheim Palace are ​sleepers​ for raised planter beds.

Sleepers are ideal for landscaping projects of endless varieties, balancing versatility with robustness for a flexible gardening solution which you can trust will last.

At BBC Countryfile Live, we’ve seen the sleepers we contributed crafted into five fantastic raised beds for a range of vegetation.

As well as oak and softwood sleepers, we offer reclaimed creosoted materials, for an added level of durability.


Benefits of using raised beds:

  • The raised beds can contain quality topsoil that’s perfect for all the fruit, veg, herbs, and plants you want to grow
  • Other landscaping features can be embedded into the topsoil to give your garden more depth and topography, such as trellises for climbing plants
  • Protecting your back not having to bend down so far while planting or tending to your beds means less strain on your spine over the years
  • Their larger shape means more efficient use of water compared to smaller containers, so they’ll need less watering
  • The edges of raised beds can be used for makeshift seating perches, whether you’re relaxing or cropping dead plant buds



A few things to consider:

  • Once a raised bed is in place, and you’ve filled it with plants, it’ll become a largely fixed feature, so ensure you’ve planned the positioning — think about shady spots vs. sunny spots, whether you can access all sides of the sleeper, etc.
  • The size of the sleeper bed should allow you to comfortably reach everything you plant in the topsoil
  • You’ll have to design and build your beds — get ready to be up for the job! Give us a call at AVS if you need some assistance
  • Make the sleeper bed between 30cm and 60cm deep — this will be sufficient for most medium-sized plants and flowers
  • Building raised beds will make your fellow gardening enthusiasts green with envy!



With these benefits and challenges in mind, here are some simple steps for getting started with building your own raised bed using our oak, softwood, or creosoted sleepers:

  1. Assemble at least four railway sleepers, eight tree stakes, and grab your saw and hammer
  2. Lay the railway sleepers on edge in their finishing positions, with the best edge facing up
  3. Then hammer the tree stakes into the ground, roughly 4cm from each corner
  4. Ensure the top of the stakes are flush with the railway sleepers
  5. If you’re making the raised bed on a paved surface, use coach bolts to hold the sleepers together
  6. Fill your new garden spectacle with quality topsoil or compost
  7. If you’re looking to grow herbs, mix the top soil with grit
  8. If you’re installing other landscaping features such as trellises for climbing plants, put them in place and then pour the soil around them

For more garden inspiration — especially focused around sleepers! — read our write-up of the materials we contributed to The Famous Five Garden for its construction. You could also read our guide on building a retaining wall using our sleepers, and see how we used them for a bug area at North Lancing Primary School.

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04 Aug 18