How To Lay Sleepers For Garden Edging (Step-By-Step)

How to lay sleepers for garden edging

Creating stunning garden edging can be an exciting project that adds charm and character to any outdoor living space. With the right approach, tools, and skills, you can transform your yard into something truly special.

One way to reimagine your outdoor space is to Lay sleepers for garden edging, but it does require some skill and know-how. In this article, we’ll provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can lay sleepers for garden edging yourself.

We’ll discuss which types of sleepers are best suited for this task, what planning and preparation are needed beforehand, as well as tips on how to finish off the job and maintain your new edging.

So, let’s get started!

Types of sleepers suitable for garden edging

Let’s first take a quick look at the types of sleepers ideal for garden edging. When planning your garden edging, consider the types of sleepers available so you can choose the best option for your space.

Sleepers are available in a variety of materials, including wood, concrete, and recycled plastic. Each has its own durability, aesthetic appeal, cost-effectiveness, and installation process that you need to take into account.

Wood is perhaps the most common choice for garden edging in the UK because it looks natural and is relatively easy to install. It’s also one of the more affordable options due to its availability.

However, keep in mind that wood will need regular maintenance and protection from the elements in order to maintain its look over time.

Concrete sleepers are a good alternative if you’re looking for something with better durability – they’re highly resistant to weathering but may require professional installation if you don’t have experience working with concrete.

Recycled plastic sleepers offer an eco-friendly option with low maintenance requirements, although they tend to be pricier compared to other materials.

Whichever type you choose for your garden edging project, make sure that it meets all of your needs in terms of aesthetics and long-term care while factoring in cost considerations as well.

Planning and preparation

Planning is essential to the success of your sleeper laying project. First up, choose the right sleepers for your project, considering the size, material, and whether they’re treated or untreated. Here are some planning tips for you: 

Choosing the right sleepers for your project (e.g., size, material, treated or untreated)

You simply can’t go wrong when selecting the size, material, and treatment of your sleepers – it’s an absolute must to get the perfect edging for your garden.

For example, if you’re using untreated wood then you need to make sure that there is sufficient drainage so the wood doesn’t rot. The size of your sleepers depends on what type of edging you want, so some online research may be required.

If you’re working within a budget then treated wood makes sense as it’s usually cheaper than untreated wood but will last longer – this should also be considered in your selection process. 

Measuring and marking the area for garden edging

Accurately measuring and marking out the area for edging is critical for creating a professional-looking garden. So don’t skimp on this important task.

Select an area that’ll best serve your goals. Estimate the size of the area to determine how much material you’ll need and calculate how many sleepers will be needed.

Find the right tools to make sure everything’s precise. If in doubt, get advice from your local gardener or consult online resources.

Gathering necessary tools and materials (e.g., sleepers, stakes, screws, spirit level, saw)

You must have all the necessary tools and materials to create your edging in a professional fashion. Here are some of them: 

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Crowbar
  • stakes

When choosing materials for garden edging, it’s important to select strong and durable sleepers, such as treated timber or stone. Consider the style of sleeper you prefer—smooth finishes for a more sophisticated look or rough-sawn sleepers for a more rustic feel.

With all these components in place, you can set about laying your sleepers securely into position. 


garden edge sleepers

A step-by-step guide to laying sleepers for garden edging

Now let’s find out what steps you need to take to get this job done. To create an attractive garden edging using sleepers, you’ll need to follow these steps: 

  • Clear and prepare the area
  • Position the sleepers
  • Secure them with stakes (optional)
  • Attach them together
  • Check for level and alignment
  • Backfill and compact the soil

Let’s explain them all to make things easier for you: 

Step 1: Clear and prepare the area

Get started on your garden edging project by taking the time to properly prepare the area. Before installing sleepers, you must ensure the soil is prepared and that any boundaries are clearly marked. Also, consider drainage and other edging materials that may be necessary.

Here are some tips for getting ready for your garden edging project:

  • Level the ground with a spade or rake
  • Remove rocks, plants, weeds, roots, and debris
  • Create slopes to help with drainage
  • Mark off boundaries using strings or stakes
  • Add soil amendments such as compost or fertilizer

Step 2: Position the sleepers

Once the area is ready, start positioning the sleepers for your project. For a professional-looking finish, make sure each sleeper is laid evenly and secured firmly in place. Think of it like building a house of cards, but much more solid

Begin with the first sleeper: Start at one end of the marked layout. Place the first sleeper in position, aligning it with the markings. Make sure it sits securely on the ground.

To ensure the sleepers are properly aligned and secure, use a rubber mallet to hammer them into place. Feel free to create creative designs with them as well as use them for traditional landscaping features such as weed prevention or drainage solutions.

Related: Check out some modern garden edging ideas

Step 3: Secure the sleepers with stakes (optional)

Securing your sleepers with stakes gives your garden a sturdy, professional-looking finish. Before you can secure your sleepers, you need to seal them.

This helps protect the wood from the elements and is especially important if you plan on staining the wood. You can either use liquid sealant or paint for this step.

Once sealed, pre-drill holes in the sleeper and position it where you want in your landscaping options. Finally, hammer a stake through each hole and into the ground to secure the sleeper. 

Step 4: Attach sleepers together

Now that you’ve secured the sleepers with stakes, it’s time to attach them together. Depending on your landscape design, there are several different methods of attaching the sleepers together. Here are some important points to consider:

Methods for Attaching Sleepers

  • Drilling and Screws: This is a popular method due to its strength and durability, but it also requires additional tools such as a drill and screws.
  • Nailing: Using nails is much faster than drilling holes and inserting screws. However, it may not be as strong or durable as screws, depending on the type of nail used.
  • Gluing: Gluing is also a good method for attaching sleepers if done correctly. But it can be difficult to get a strong bond between two untreated surfaces.

Other Considerations when Attaching Sleepers: 

  • Drainage Considerations: When attaching two pieces of timber together, make sure there is adequate drainage so water does not pool up against the joint over time.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Make sure all joints are well-aligned before securing them so they look neat and tidy when viewed from any angle.
  • Safety Precautions: Be mindful when using any power tools such as drills or nail guns around sleepers or other landscaping materials. Wear protective eyewear at all times to avoid potential injuries from flying debris or splinters.
  • Landscape Integration: Carefully think about how your edging fits into the overall landscape by considering colors, textures, plants, etc. so that it looks intentional and cohesive with its surroundings.Related: Top Landscaping Trends Of 2023

Step 5: Check for level and alignment

Now check that your edging is level and aligned. Use a spirit level to ensure that the sleepers are even and straight with one another. If you find any issues, adjust the sleepers accordingly before moving on to the next step.

Also, check for protective barriers around the sleepers. It will help you ensure that the integrity of your edging is maintained in all weather conditions.

Step 6: Backfill and compact the soil

After ensuring that the level and alignment are correct, it’s time to backfill and compress the soil around the edging for a secure finish.

To do this properly, consider factors like DIY safety, different types of soil, drainage solutions, and alternatives to timber edging such as brick or stone edging. You should also consider the effect your landscaping will have on the area.

Using a tamping tool or tamper bar to ensure that you compact the soil correctly. If you’re using a heavier material like bricks or stones for your edging instead of timber sleepers, make sure that any gaps between each brick are filled with soil before compaction.

This will prevent any sinking during compaction that could cause unevenness in your finished result.

Once you’ve completed this step, your garden edging should be securely in place and ready for whatever landscaping effects you wish to achieve.

Finishing touches and maintenance

You’re almost there, just take a moment to admire your work and pat yourself on the back – you’ve just created something beautiful!

Now that the hard part is finished, don’t forget to keep your garden edging in tip-top shape. You can invest in regular weeding tips and care. Various planting advice and mulching options for an extra layer of protection will be helpful.

Besides, you need to aerate soil through watering methods every few weeks. Remove any weeds or pests before they become a problem. Reapply sealant or protective coatings whenever you see fit.


So, are you ready to lay sleepers for garden edging? If you’re not fully confident in your DIY skills, hire a professional landscaping company. Working with sleepers can be physically demanding as they can be heavy and require the strength of two fit individuals to carry them. Also, the process of installing sleepers can be time-consuming, especially under the sun for hours.