How To Timber - Sleeper Beds

  1. These instructions make a raised sleeper bed suitable for a vegetable patch, herb bed or decorative planting, the external dimensions are approx 2.4m x 1.4m
  2. Prepare your site (see SITE PREP guide)
  3. Cut one sleeper in half, taking care to make a straight clean cut (some suppliers offer a cutting service).
  4. Lay the sleepers in position on the ground with their narrow edge down / up. The two half sleepers form the width of the planter and should be set inside the full length sleepers to maximise the width of the planting area and hide the cuts.
  5. Make any required adjustments to the ground to allow the sleepers to lay level and flush against each other.
  6. Screw each of the sleepers together using two 15cm (6") timber locking screws, you will need a very high torque drill/driver for this.
  7. Fill the sleepers with your soil / compost mix.


Don't skimp on the quality of the soil you fill the bed with, anything you grow will benefit from a tailored soil.

Raised beds are a great way of escaping problem soils and generally make maintenance easier.

Children respect the boundary of a raised border better than one at ground level.

To further extend the life of the sleepers, line the insides with plastic, old compost bags are good for this. The plastic will reduce moisture contact from the soil with the timber.

You can use any pressure treated timber to make a raised bed, but make sure it is thick enough, we recommend timber at least 5cm (2") thick, soil is surprisingly heavy, especially when wet and may push out the sides of thinner timber.



  • Spade.
  • Saw, a sharp hand saw will go through a new treated sleeper (with some elbow grease), you don't need a chainsaw.
  • High Torque drill - most house hold drill drivers are not high torque, so you may need to hire one to do the job.



  • 3 Sleepers (new treated) 2.4m (8') x 10cm (4") x 20cm(8") - Old sleepers contain tar and other substances which have been found to be carcinogenic and are therefore not suitable.
  • 8 Timber locking screws 15cm (6").
  • Approximately 350 L of your preferred Soil / compost mix.