Retaining Wall – Sleeper Walls

Two types of retaining wallsAlthough most people refer to these as Sleeper Walls the Technical term is ‘Post’ and ‘Whaling’ * Walls.

The posts can be Galvanised Steel like the example on the right.

Other alternatives are timber sleepers, like the example below, or even round timber posts.

For Whalings the choices are:

  • Timber Sleepers, Probably the most popular
  • Concrete, Usually similar dimensions to Timber sleepers
  • Round ‘Logs’,  These are machined to be a consistent diameter.

timber retaining wallActual suitable railway sleepers aren’t that common now but most landscape suppliers will be able to supply new timber ‘sleepers’ with the following dimensions

– 2400 x 200 x 50mm – Suitable for Whalings in walls up to 800mm high**,  and Posts, spaced at no more than 1200mm, for walls up to 600mm high.

– 2400 x 200 x 75mm – Suitable for Posts, spaced at no more than 1200mm, for walls up to 800mm high.

As the sleepers are going to be in contact with the ground make sure they are well treated with a preservative.

* Some references say ‘Wales’ but being a Pom I was always taught that they were ‘ Whales’.
** You will need specialist advice, and council permits, for walls taller than 4 sleepers (800mm).

See Understanding Retaining Walls for information on the sort of loads Walls have to carry