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How to lay an oak sleeper wall - top tips

If you’re looking to create an easy to maintain vegetable patch or flower bed, then creating a raised garden bed is a great solution. Across a few videos, we created a step by step guide on how to build an oak sleeper wall. In this blog, we'll take you through some top tips so you feel confident to build your own oak sleeper raised beds. Not only is it practical, it gives a great rustic look to your garden, as well as creating separation if you have a large garden area in need of dividing up.

#1: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

It's all in the preparation! I've got some temporary shuttering holding back the patio sub base that will be removed once the sleepers are in.

#2: Anchoring the bottom sleepers

The concrete needed to be a fairly wet mix as it needed to anchor the bottom sleepers with some cage screws and bolts - that is just a way of anchoring the bottom ones down without using a bed of concrete which would tend to trap water.

#3: Stainless steel fixings

I used stainless steel fixings which is really important with this type of wood. Oak will chew its way through rebar or regular steel so the high-quality stainless steel is the only thing that will resist the oak.

#4: Focus on the end finish

As the top course of sleepers is going be very visible and quite highly finished I chose the best sleepers for the top, and then the ones with slightly more natural edges I used on the lower courses. I wasn’t going for a really rustic look, so I wanted to make these as nice and tight as possible. I planed any of the rough parts so that they sat nice and tight together. The oak will naturally shrink, but I wanted to reduce the chance of gaps by starting flush on all the joints. This way, they should shrink much more evenly and not open up too much of a gap.

#5: Lay your sleepers like brickwork for rigidity

I ended up going for sleepers high at the tall end. I crossed them over like brickwork, alternating courses, and that really adds strength if you can put a right angle corner in your retaining wall or a sleeper wall, that will give you rigidity. I worked to get these really tight to start with, and once it's in it's a much smarter way of doing it rather than leaving big gaps in between.

Good luck with building your own oak sleeper walls or raised beds! Tag us in your projects on Instagram - we love to see what you get up to :)

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