If you are planning on building anything with sleepers, be it a retaining wall or even just a raised bed, then you will be wondering how to fix the sleepers to the ground.
Let us talk you through a few of the different methods in a simple, easy-to-follow guide!
As I alluded to earlier, you have a few different options here. Let’s go through the more popular choices and give you a few pros and cons to each.
So this is your first choice, do absolutely nothing. Sleepers are big heavy pieces of timber. Often you don’t need to do anything to stop them from moving.
Particularly if the posts are laid widthways then you really don’t need to fasten them to the ground unless they are being used for something like a retaining wall.
Laying a gravel/sand mix under the sleeper is always a good idea to help with drainage. The sleeper will not quicker if the base is in wet soil all of the time.
You can use a post, either in front of or behind the sleepers to attach the sleepers to. You set these posts into the ground like you would with a fence post. So dig a hole and set the post in concrete or postcrete.
I talk about this method in my article about building a retaining wall with sleepers. This method is really secure but is quite a bit of work.
You can do this on a smaller scale for small raised beds or planters. Rather than a massive post and concrete, you can hammer a smaller stake into the ground. You can then screw the sleepers to this stake.
This is essentially the same idea as the posts just without the need to dig big holes and concrete posts in.
There are tons of specialist metal anchors available for fixing sleepers to the ground. These are mainly for smaller builds, think single raised beds or edging.
You hammer the anchor into the ground and then simply screw the sleepers to the bracket at the top. Nice and easy. A really simple method but doesn’t provide the same level of stability as using large wooden posts.
- 𝗚𝗔𝗟𝗩𝗔𝗡𝗜𝗦𝗘𝗗 𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗘𝗟 𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗔𝗟: Manufactured in the United Kingdom and these sleeper brackets are crafted from heavy duty galvanised steel. It will not rust no matter how long it is exposed to elements
- 𝗦𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗟𝗘 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗤𝗨𝗜𝗖𝗞 𝗜𝗡𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗟: A simple and quick technique for using railway sleepers as drive or path edging. Screw sleepers to the bracket on the sleeper joints after pounding into the ground
You can also get the same product but extended for multiple tiers of sleepers. This allows you to build taller sleeper walls.
Pin With Rebar
With this method, you are essentially pinning the sleeper into the ground using a long length of rebar.
You drill a hole all the way through your bottom sleeper or bottom few sleepers. You can then hammer a long length of rebar all the way through the sleepers and into the soil below.
Only do this if you are sure there are no drains or pipework under where the sleepers will be. Obviously by driving a large metal rod into the ground you are in serious danger of damaging any pipework under the soil.
This is quite easy to do and provides a solid fixing. If you run the rod through a few of the sleepers it also helps to tie the sleepers together.
If you want to go the whole hog you can create concrete foundations for your sleepers. This really isn’t required though unless they will be holding some serious weight.
And if the sleepers are going to be holding some serious weight then you might be better off with getting a professional to set them up!
Obviously, this is a really time-intensive and expensive way to attach sleepers to the ground, but it will give you a really solid base.