|Years ago, gardeners discovered that old
railroad ties could be used to create terraced
lawn spaces, raised garden beds and garden
steps. These ties were soaked in creosote,
which made them far more rot resistant than
untreated wood. Railroad ties were eventually
replaced with ties made from pressure treated
wood. Now both of these are recognized as
hazardous materials that should never be
used in the home landscape. They have been
replaced with garden timbers that are much
safer to use. |
If you are thinking of installing
timbers on your property, consider
- New pressure treated “green” wood timbers
use copper to make them more moisture proof.
These have replaced the timbers that were
soaked with arsenic, but many people don’t
like to use pressure treated wood of any
kind in a vegetable garden because of the
danger that as the timbers deteriorate, they
will contaminate the soil with unwanted chemicals.
- Solid plastic timbers are available, and
they will last almost forever. They come
in a variety of earth tones, so they will
blend into the landscape. Solid plastic timbers
are expensive. Less costly plastic timbers
with hollow interiors are also manufactured,
but they may bend out of shape if they are
required to hold too much weight, so they
are not suitable for all projects.
- Garden timbers made from composite materials
are becoming more popular.
One type combines
ground up sawdust with plastic.
from recycled ground up automobile
are also available. Both of
these are very
durable, so they will last
- If you like the rustic look of real wood,
consider using pine timbers
that have been
coated with sodium silica.
are extremely rot resistant,
and they will
look more natural than timbers
plastic or composites.
Any garden timbers that are stacked to form
a wall need to be safely installed. Fasteners
made especially for the timbers should be
used, the timbers should be reinforced with
steel rebar, and the timbers should be staggered
so that they have overlapping seams. Be sure
to allow for possible expansion and contraction
due to changing weather conditions