How to Secure Landscape Railroad Ties

Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Landscape railroad ties are an excellent choice for building raised beds. They are readily available, inexpensive and sturdy. The most difficult part of using railroad ties in landscaping is making sure that they are secure.

Fortunately, the process of securing railroad ties is straightforward and goes quickly once you become familiar with the process. Finding a local supplier for railroad ties can be challenging. Ask around at local home improvement and gardening centers. These professionals can undoubtedly give you the name of a local supplier.

  1. Lay out the railroad ties in the shape you have planned. Once you secure the railroad ties into the ground, moving them will not be easy. Lay the ties out as a dry run, move them around, and make any necessary cuts before you secure them to the ground.

  2. Decide how tall you want the railroad tie bed to be. If you want the raised bed taller than the height of one railroad tie, about six inches, then you will need to stack two or more railroad ties on top of each other.

  3. Drill a hole in each end of the railroad ties, as well as every four feet down the length. If the length of the tie is not divisible by four, drill evenly spaced holes along the length of the railroad ties, about every three to five feet. Keep in mind, the higher the wall or the more weight it will support, the more closely you should space the anchoring holes.

  4. Drive rebar, or another type of metal stake, through each hole in the railroad timber and then into the ground below. The rebar should be twice the length of the anticipated height of the wall. This allows you to sink the rebar into the ground at the same depth as the height of the wall. Place the rebar through the hole in the railroad tie and pound it into the ground. If you are stacking more than one railroad tie, have the ties stacked before you begin pounding. Don't stop until the rebar is flush with the railroad tie.

  5. Repeat as necessary. Once you have one end of the railroad tie pounded into the ground, move to the next spot on the tie. Repeat until you secure the railroad ties completely around the perimeter.