Retaining walls – Whether structural or not, high or low are a well engrained landscaping design technique & function that allows definition, purpose, and most importantly the enhancement of the physical space the wall exists in.
The common dividend returned when retaining is the increase in useable and accessible space. ‘Holding back land’, segregating garden spaces or utilising sloped sites with cut-ins to hills and banks ultimately pays in a bigger square meterage to the properties developed areas, or useable floor plan of sorts if you will. Thus, the common retaining wall is a prime candidate for many a development, big or small, old, or new, adding value, every time.
A freer draining medium (Scoria/GAP metal), use of polythene or matting in behind, and some natural materials such as hardwood railway sleepers is all that is required to get a long lasting, naturally functional retaining wall of any stature. – Keep that in mind when envisaging this springs projects for the summer of R&R ahead.
A ‘used’ sleeper is by most means a new sleeper, to those re-purposing and re-homing a quality hardwood with durability, charm, and character. Decades of life in retaining should be expected from a good sleeper and the complete use of a railway sleepers life cycle gives those landscaping a reassurance of reducing waste locally and internationally, AKA “helping the environment” but also the pleasure of defining a setting with integrity and history.
A once treated ‘Used’ US or UK Oak sleeper, of magnificent clean ex-rail appearance, obviously not (yet) synonymous with NZ Landscapes is a classic example of versatility in retaining. Matched with adequate componentry, paired to the dense (minimum) 80-kilogram lengths of the hardwood species from Europe, as hard as it is durable. Requiring bolts over screws, or where low and un-structural, just the robust sizing and weight alone will hold the sleeper well steady.
Natural materials serving natural functions (i.e. Sleepers in retaining walls) bring a sense of humble and reliable character to settings. Sometimes this sense goes unnoticed, but this character always emanates trustworthy integrity. And why not? What once served as the robust staple of vast heavy engineering structures & networks, the simple railway sleeper is now a growing pillar in the eco-minded architects, designers, contractors and property owners in New Zealand choosing a greener, long term build over newer, less durable milled timbers or man-made materials with less appeal.
A safe choice to follow a smarter approach in material selection when looking to add value through function with installations like retaining walls. A shortlist of products, prices and anticipated (functional) life expectancy should make for easy comparing; though incorporating a unique rustic charm, with quality can come included in the range of UK Oak lengths, and other sleepers here.
If you are considering a retaining wall installation, give us a call or email (tap link to follow) nice and early in the process and we can talk through ideal suitability and expected returned value when opting for quality used hardwood railway sleepers in any setting.