How To Make A Planter From Sleepers? – [7 Steps]

Planters are a perfect place for growing vegetables, fruits, and even flowers, and today, we will be looking at a planter made from sleepers. But since there are so many types of planters on the market, deciding on the best planters can be quite challenging.

 Unlike other planter materials, sleepers are ideal because of their ease of use and durability. Let’s focus on how to create a planter using sleepers without wasting more time. Moreover, we’ll also discuss the pros and cons of using a planter made from sleepers.

How To Make a Planter From Sleepers

Making a planter from sleepers is a straightforward thing. You don’t need to be experienced or an expert to build a planter from sleepers for growing your plants. The only thing that you need is the right tools, and you’re good to go.

Step 1: Select an Area That You Want To Set Up Your Planter

Choose an area where you want to install your planter and decide on the size. Next, you should bring the right tools for setting up the sleeper planter. The area that you choose should be ideal for your preferred plant. This is important because you will not easily change your planter from one place to another.

Step 2: Cut the Sleepers According to Your Size

After identifying the location and size of your planter, you should cut the sleepers accordingly. Of course, this depends on the size and shape of your planter. Use an electric or handsaw to cut the sleeper to your ideal size.

Step 3: Put the Sleepers in the Shape That You Want Your Plant To Be

When you’re done cutting the sleepers into the desired size and shape, you should lay them around the planter area. The sleepers should lay adjacent and in the order of installation. If your planter is rectangular, they should butt against each other in that shape. Also, the sleepers should touch at the 90-degree corners.

Step 4: Install the First Sleepers Into the Ground

With the shape and size of the planter in order, dig a trench and install the bottom sleepers. The trench should be half of the bottom sleepers. Some people may want to build a concrete surface or place a plastic material on the floor of the planter, but this is not a good idea. It will lead to poor drainage.

Step 5: Fasten the Sleepers Together

After installing the bottom sleeper in the trench, ensure they are all fastened together. You can drill the bottom sleepers to ensure that they form a strong base. Add one or two more sleeper layers on top as you continue to fasten. The number of layers you add depends on how deep or high you want the planter to be.

The screws used to fix the sleepers should be corrosion-resistant for durability. Ensure that at least 50mm of the screws goes into the adjoining sleeper. Additionally, you should create a strong planter by fastening the bottom layer with the second layer and the second layer with the third layer.

Use corrosion-resistant screws as well.

Step 6: Attach a Plastic Membrane

For safety purposes of the edible plants you’re growing, you should line the planter so that the materials in the sleepers do not leach out. The barrier is essential as it will help to separate the wet soil and sleepers. If the wood leaches out its materials, it may affect the plant’s growth and make it unfit for consumption. Most gardeners and landscapers use plastic sheets or heavy-duty plastic refuse bags.

Step 7: Fill With Soil and Plant

Finally, you can place a few stones on the planter’s base before adding quality topsoil and manure to the planter. This will help to promote drainage. In addition, you can now plant your flowers, tomatoes, or plant of choice.

Pros Of A Planter Made From Sleepers

1. Easily Blends With Other Outdoor Fixtures and Furniture

Planters made from sleepers can be customized to match your outdoor furniture and fixtures. As a result, it will beautify your garden and, at the same time, allow you to grow plants of your choice.

2. It Prevents the Soil From Heating Up Too Much

Since wood is a poor conductor of heat, the soil in the planter will maintain its temperature throughout. The sleeper won’t have an impact on the soil like with metal and plastic planters. The planter will prevent soil from heating up too much.

3. Durable

After metal and concrete planters, wood is the next durable planter available. It is more durable than clay and plastic planters. If your sleeper is made from oak or other durable wood, expect it to last for at least 20 years. Besides, you can treat your sleeper or line it with plastic to slow down rotting.

Cons Of A Planter Made From Sleepers

1. It Rots After Sometime

Regardless of how durable wood is, it will rot after some time. This is not the same case with metal or concrete planters. And if you decide to treat the sleepers, they may leach out the poisonous substance and affect the growth of your plants.

2. Not Suitable for Planting Edible Foods

Since most sleepers are treated to deter termites and other insects that can cause the wood to rot, they may not be fit for growing edible foods. The plants may absorb poisonous chemicals, which may harm your health.

Other Ways To Use Sleepers in Your Garden

You can use sleepers to edge your flowerbeds by laying them flat on one another. This creates a border for your raised flowerbeds, distinguishing and emphasizing the elevated plants.

If you have them in your garden, you can also use the sleepers to define the levels on sloped plots. If you are considering building a gravel garden, you might also consider using the sleepers for its structure.

For a durable garden sleeper, you can use pressure-treated ones, which protect them from fungus and insect attacks for up to 15 years. If you don’t have access to pressure-treated garden sleepers, you can still use the untreated ones and apply a protective coating like an exterior wood oil on them.

When using an exterior wood oil, you need to apply a new coat once or twice a year to help your garden sleepers last longer and be more water resistant.

Final Thoughts

A planter made from sleepers is simple to set up and reliable. You can grow any plants, and maintaining them is not a problem. Unlike metal and plastic, sleeper planters cannot heat up and be customized to match outdoor furniture and fixtures. If you want to set up a planter made out of sleepers, follow our step-by-step guide above.

Don’t forget to include a plastic sheet on the sleeper lining to prevent leaching from wood from affecting the plants.


  • Lydia Beaumont

    Lydia Beaumont is a go-to expert in interior design, known for her knack for stylish table settings, blending houseplants seamlessly with home decor, and designing inviting outdoor spaces. She has a real talent for making spaces look stunning while keeping them comfortable and livable. Lydia's creative touch brings a fresh and vibrant feel to any room or garden she works on.

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