Railway Sleeper Retaining Wall

With our fences replaced, the next most important thing we wanted in the garden was a shed! We have a fairly decent tool collection which is constantly being added to, but we have nowhere to store it all; therefore, this next stage was vital for having a more organised home.

The natural place for the shed was at the end of the garden, however after clearing away  all the junk and dead stuff  that used to be there, we found there was quite a slope. Ideally, we wanted a nice flat surface for the shed so we set about building a retaining wall allow us to flatten a section large enough for a 8ft x 6ft shed.

We were very kindly given a load of sleepers by a lovely lady who no longer needed them in her garden. All we had to do was buy a couple more full length ones and we were away.

We were slightly unsure of the best way to secure the sleepers in place so that they didn’t slip under the weight of the earth and anything else we added on top. This was particularly important as we were planning to build a structure on it, so we draughted in the  help of a lovely local company – New Life Landscaping and Gardening Services – to give us a hand building the retaining wall.


We needed the height of two sleepers to even out the slope. If we were to build a wall across the garden to this height it would have left the end of the garden quite high and would require some steps to be built for us to access it too. Instead, we decided to put in a sleeper at the back next to the fence and one at the front. This also meant we needed less earth to fill up the new level.

The plan for the Retaining Wall
The plan for the Retaining Wall

Also, we realised that leveling the slope would mean building some earth up against the new fences at the sides of the garden. To stop our lovely new fences from rotting and to protect our neighbour’s fence, we put sleepers down either side too at the same level as the front sleeper.

First of all, trenches were dug out (and some more bricks etc. removed) and the sleepers were laid in to them.

Work in progress...
Work in progress…

Once the sleepers were in place they were fixed together using sleeper screws and wooden steaks were added to provide extra support against the weight they are holding back.

Sleeper Screws
Sleeper Screws

This was all relatively simple but we’re pleased that we asked for some help with it. We needed chainsaws and angle grinders along the way so it was really helpful having someone around who already had all the kit!

...All done!
…All done!

We are both really happy with the quality of this job and with the progress we’re making in the garden. It is looking so much neater and more loved than when we took it on. As a reminder, this is what this part of the garden looked like when we bought the house…

Garden - Before
How this end of the garden looked when we bought the house.

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