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Retaining walls are a staple in the landscaping world, providing a neat solution to supporting soil and creating beautiful, multi-levelled gardens. It is also a pretty easy DIY project that you do not need to be an expert to tackle! With a little bit of research and some quality timber sleepers, you can create your own retaining walls and transform your outdoor space.

Why Choose Timber Sleepers?

A retaining wall can be built of stone, concrete or even metal, so why do we recommend timber? Alongside being a durable, strong construction material, timber also comes with the added perk of being a natural resource which will blend seamlessly into an outdoor space. In other words, it looks beautiful! When sourcing sustainable, FSC/PEFC-certified timber sleepers from EcoChoice, you will be winning plenty of green points for your wall as well, making it the obvious building choice.  

Start By Planning Your Project

A lot of the success of your retaining wall lies in the planning and preparation you do beforehand. Start by finalising the location and dimensions of your wall, along with the size of your sleepers so you know how many you will need. Make sure your plans comply with local building codes and that you obtain any necessary permits, especially if building in a public space. 

If you need help with choosing your timber sleepers or planning your installation, our team at EcoChoice will be happy to lend a hand

Move Onto Marking and Excavation

Once you have got your plans finalised, move on to marking the retaining wall using wooden stakes and string. Taking the time to ensure that it is straight and level at this point will help you a lot later on, so do not rush. Then start excavating the area within your markers where you plan on building the wall. Create a level and compacted base by removing any grass, debris and loose soil. The depth of the excavation will depend on the height of the wall and the type of soil.

Begin Your Building

Your first sleepers are ready to be laid! Beginning in the trench you have dug, use a spirit level to make sure your timber sleepers are level. If you find they are uneven, dig deeper into the ground below or add gravel until they are perfectly horizontal. You will also have to drill holes through the timber sleeper and into the ground at regular intervals. Then, take your rebars (which is another word for reinforcing steel bars) and place them through the holes in your first layer of sleepers and into the ground to prevent movement.

Continue with your next level of sleepers, using long stainless steel nails to secure the sleepers in place and keeping your spirit level close by as you build to maintain that level finish. For additional drainage help, add crushed rocks or gravel behind your wall to improve drainage. 

Final Thoughts

When using timber sleepers for a retaining wall, it pays to choose your species wisely. You will need a durable timber which can withstand contact with the ground, such as Oak or Ekki. If driving posts directly into the ground or for the sleepers in your trench, it also pays to use a durable species or a preservative treatment to prevent rot and help your wall stay strong for years to come. 

Choose From A Wide Range of Timber Sleepers

At EcoChoice, we supply timber products for domestic, commercial and public construction projects around the UK. If you are on the hunt for high-quality sleepers for your retaining wall, we can help. With a huge range of timber species to choose from and our expert advice always readily available, we will ensure you can get started on your project as quickly as possible. To find out more or start an order, get in touch with our team today.

Image: Mal Harris / Shutterstock.com

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