An outdoor retaining wall can be a good choice if your property has issues with drainage or small landslides. A retaining wall made of treated pine sleepers can work well for just about any homeowner; pine is easy to cut, paint, and move when necessary, making it easier to work with than other materials such as concrete or poured gravel. When you're ready to build a retaining wall with treated pine sleepers, note a few tips that you don't want to overlook so you know you get the job done right.
1. Mark the area
Never think you can just "eyeball" the area of the retaining wall, but measure it carefully and then mark it off with a line of string. You need to measure the space of the wall so you know the sleepers will fit and will be able to cut them to size if needed, before work begins. The string will also ensure you put the sleepers in straight so that they're not pointed too far forward or back at either end.
2. Fill post holes with gravel
When you dig the post holes at either end of the wall and between each section, you want to fill the bottom with some gravel to allow for proper drainage. The gravel will ensure that no moisture collects in the post hole, which would create a small well at the foot of the posts. This will protect the posts from water damage and ensure they stay on solid ground, reducing the risk of having them shift.
3. Treat cut timber
Your pine sleepers may already be treated with a wood preservative or sealant, but if you cut them to size, you then need to remember to treat the cut ends. Have plenty of wood sealant on hand for installing your retaining wall so you can seal sleepers that need to be trimmed, sanded down, planed, or fabricated in any way.
4. Secure the sleepers to the posts
Even if the pine sleepers slide snugly between posts, you still want to secure them with galvanized spikes or nails. Remember that sleepers need to resist quite a bit of weight from moisture and soil and this can easily displace them. Don't assume that sliding them between posts or putting them behind posts will be enough bracing, but stock up on nails or spikes and ensure your sleepers are firmly secured to the end posts.