Stuart Watson's epic transformation with railway sleepers

We were delighted with the sleepers you supplied. Here is our story.
The problem was, we had a horrid sloping garden about 13m by 9 m size. Our little 2 year old boy couldn't play since the slope was dangerous and an old brick retaining wall was in danger of collapsing .

Sarah & I gained inspiration from looking at your site & drew up our plans. I couldn't build a brick wall, without the appropriate skills, but I knew I could build a sleeper wall.

The digger and skip loading dumper were rented and 120 tons of unwanted clay were removed from the site. (We, well Sarah , negotiated the grab lorry down from an initial £230 + vat per load to £170 cash per load) I must add a note of caution here , since when the (Volvo skip loading dumper) bucket was raised on slightly sloping ground near the "drop zone - ( front garden) the skip loading dumper fell over, trapping my foot underneath. These things can be dangerous and the fright really shook me up! It took an hour with the digger and a heavy chain to lift it upright again!

It took six 20 ton grab lorry loads to remove the waste soil/clay. As you can see from the photos, it rained solidly for weeks during this phase and each bucket load of clay had to be scraped out by hand with a shovel. This bumped up the cost because days were wasted and the digger /dumper rental doubled. The sleepers turned up exactly to the agreed date/time. Initial progress was slow, but eventually the back wall was installed with approx four feet of sleeper cemented in a mix of concrete and brocken bricks.

The front wall was supporting tons of clay and needed to be extra secure. Several vertical sleepers were carefully installed and braced against each other. They were slowly aligned & sleepers were bolted horizontally to the front faces. The Timberlock screws (expensive but far better than cheap, imitation third party copies!) were inserted from behind so no screw heads could be seen from the front face.

Later the deck was installed and the project was finished off. I knew I wanted the deck to be flush with the lawn, giving a usable flat surface. The Rolawn Medallion turf was edged with Terracotta red bricks to keep the damp away from the deck.

Overall, the project cost three times the original estimate. I took five months working every spare minute, evening and weekend.
We particlarly like the feeling of integrity that the sleepers give. It looks even better when it rains and the grain in the sleepers shows through!

We are pleased with the outcome and received some favourable comments at our recent Christening of our little boy when the weather was fine and 40 people / children enjoyed the garden.
Stuart Watson Says..

All credit to you for completing such a huge and magnificent project. The energy, hard work and determination you've put in is truly praiseworthy. Many people underestimate not only the budget (!) but also the timescale and hard graft needed to undertake the total transformation of a large garden. The logistics of moving 120 tons of clay... working on different uneven levels... dealing with the effects of constant rain... major challenges not only to one's bank account, but also one's physical strength and inner resolve.
The new pine railway sleepers frame everything together, and as you say, have the advantage of being able to be used by those without major construction skills !
The outcome makes it all worthwhile. A creative and well designed garden that is perfect for children and adults alike. A delightful space to relax or play.