Wood is a commonly used material for raised flower beds and in all kinds of outdoor designs and landscaping. Wood is usually easy to find and blends well into most garden areas. You can use any durable wood in your yard and garden for your flower beds as well as raised vegetable beds. The most commonly used wood is that of railroad ties. When choosing flower beds wooden ties should be considered in your plans. They are very strong and will last many years. Railroad ties are tough, and are made to withstand the outdoor elements.
Low beds usually will require only one layer of ties. You can, however, make them as a double layers are as stair steps. This is a type of terracing that can be filled with plants and flowers instead of used as steps. Railroad ties may be a little hard to find, depending on where you live. You should ask around and, most likely, you will find someone who can help you locate some.
Ties are usually a deep blackish brown color and has a distinctive size and shape which give them a strong design element that is put to food use in paving and seating areas as well as raised beds. For areas near the house, they can combine well as visual dividers between areas of paving and gravel. They may also be used to line a driveway or path.
The wood that is used for railroad ties can be very rough and may need sanding if it is too rough. I would only consider sanding if they will be used to sit on. One drawback to railroad ties is that they are very heavy and hard to move around, so make sure you have plenty of help when you start your project. This heavy dense property of the ties is exactly why you are probably choosing them, but will be a lot more work to handle, for instance, instead of timbers that you can purchase at a garden or hardware store.
If you need them to be sized to a specific dimension, you will need to cut them. The ties are difficult to saw into and to drill holes in. I would suggest, that if you don’t have someone handy to cut and drill for you,that you try to use them some way in the size that they come in.
Other Helpful Hints
Raised beds allow you to create the right conditions for your plants. Some plants are very picky as to what they prefer. Most plants do well in a well-drained soil. Some kinds of woodland species may prefer moist soils, while still others, may prefer more acid or more lime in the soil. If your bed is deep enough you may even want to try putting down from 2-3 inches of pea gravel to make sure your soil is well-drained.