How to Lay Sleepers for Garden Edging: A Step by Step Guide

There are many options for garden edging, and using sleepers is just one way. There are a variety of sleepers to choose from, but wood and concrete sleepers would perfectly fit your garden space. They are known to add a touch of versatility, ruggedness and traditional rustic look for a naturally beautiful garden edge.

You can artistically lay them either on the edge, or even flat to form a single height. The only question is how? Do you know how to lay sleepers for garden edging? No matter the type of sleepers you choose to use, there are no rules regarding the extent to which you can use your creativity.

To help solve the puzzle, this article outlines six easy steps on how to lay sleepers for garden edging, using softwood garden sleepers. You are probably wondering why softwood? This is because they require minimum effort and wood skills to lay and fit.


You will need the following:

  • Screws or nails for fixing the sleepers together
  • Concrete or sand and gravel for the base
  • Plastic membrane for soil proofing the sleepers
  • Wood paint for protective layering
  • Hammer for knocking the nails or screwdrivers for the screws
  • Normal paint or coal for marking the ground
  • Shovel for digging shallow trenches
  • Hand saw for trimming and shaping
  • Gloves for safety
  • A drill for pre-drilling the wood

Step by Step

You can design the perfect edging for your garden by following these easy steps;

1. Come up with the ideal plan

Just like any other project, you need a proper plan for this project. The most important step is to visualize how your garden space looks like to know how and where you are going to place the sleepers, flat or on the edge.

This will make it easier in knowing the correct number, shape and sizes of sleepers that you need to have for the whole process.

2. Prepare the Ground

The next step is to clearly mark and outline the specific areas where you will be laying the sleepers. You can use normal paint or coal, depending on what you can easily find effortlessly. After marking out the areas, you have to clear the area off any unwanted objects like debris, then digging up shallow trenches. 

In preparing the ground, you can choose to use concrete, sand, and gravel or just normal soil at the bottom of the trench as the base for the first layer of sleepers. This solemnly depends on how long you want the edge to last. Therefore, for a long term artistic edge, I recommend you to opt for a foundation made of semi-dry concrete.

However, using a concrete base requires extra skills and time. This option can also interfere with the proper drainage in the garden, causing risks of flooding.

3. Lay the sleepers on the surface

After preparing your foundation, lower in the first layer of sleepers on the base in a position of your choice. Whichever position you use, the sleepers should be parallel to the landscape of your garden so that all the edges meet at a perfect angle for easy fixing.

Ensure that this layer is firmly secured into the ground, when not using sand and gravel, or natural soil. Thereafter, you can add more sleepers to the height you planned. When working on a taller wall or a raised garden, uniformly assemble the rest of the layers carefully for a stable edge at the end.  This will also make them easier to fasten in the next step

Shape and size matters for a perfect fit, so be careful to match the edges of the sleepers per layer. You can also create a customized unique look by trimming and shaping them to your ideal shapes and sizes. You can comfortably do this using a saw hence bringing out your creative self.

4. Fix them together

Using screws or nails, fasten the sleepers vertically or horizontally, depending on how you laid them for a stronger long-lasting edge.  When handling multiple layers or thicker sleepers, use long screws like TimberLok screws. Thisensures a successful penetration all through to the next layer, pulling the sleeper tighter onto the next one.

The simplest way to hack this step is pre-drilling the sleepers to avoid creating splits in the wood when fastening the screws. It also makes it easier for your screws to pass through, effortlessly.

You can alternatively use nails as I earlier mentioned. However, when using nails, you have to be sure to hammer them from an angle because they are not as stronger. You need to know that this can be quite overwhelming to figure out, mostly at the ends where the edges meet.

5. Insert a plastic membrane

This is a step which is optional but can be very helpful in learning how to lay sleepers, especially when you only used one layer of wood. Fixing a plastic sheet from the inside of the wall makes it impossible to get in contact with the soil. This ensures that the soil is retained behind the wall, proofing the sleepers from any future rotting. In the end, you will have a more durable edge, no matter the weather.

6. Finish off

To avoid accidents, trim off overlapping or unwanted ends and sharp edges for a complete even look. Whether you are using new or recycled sleepers, you might consider coating your edge with a protective layer for a strong durable finish and protection against harsh elements.

This will help increase their lifespan so that they can be used over and over again. However, there are no rules here, so you can still coat them in your own creative and colorful way, for an impressive garden edge.


To clearly separate your garden from other areas in a beautiful and amazing way, it is important to go all creative on this project and this is why you need to know how to lay sleepers for garden edging. This is something you can do in your own free time alongside friends or family. Always remember to be extra careful to avoid accidents in the process.

Please, note that you must periodically check on your garden edge so as to notice damages and make timely amends. I hope this helps you in your landscaping projects. Let’s all have fun trying these easy steps

What To Do With Old T Shirts

T-shirts are loved the world over. I often buy T-shirts at Lapommenyc Store. They are things you can’t run away from even if you don’t like them. If you happen to get involved in events organized by corporates, be ready to part with a good number of T-shirts.

Have you accumulated these t-shirts in your house to the extent that you are left wondering what you can do with them? Do you want to know how to reuse old t-shirts? Old t-shirt ideas that you are about to come across in this piece will help you minimize, downsize and even simplify your collection of t-shirts.

It is very important to always craft ideas for old t-shirts. I have personally put into practice some of these ideas that I’m about to share with you when I was in the same problem you are in. I hope they’ll help solve a great portion if not the whole old t-shirt problem.

1. Upcycled Pillows

You can actually repurpose old t-shirts to make pillows. In fact, pillows made from old t-shirts bring about some personalization with them, therefore, making your living or bedroom a nice place to stay in.

Kids really like such kind of pillows. Mine really enjoyed playing with the pillows I made out of old t-shirts. The process of making these pillows is quite simple and cheap. What to do with old t-shirts you want to keep shouldn’t be a question to worry you anymore.

Upcycled Pillows
Source: Pinterest

2. T-shirt Necklace

Can you imagine yourself in a t-shirt necklace? How cute is that? Necklaces can be easily made from simple old t-shirts. The good thing with these necklaces is that you can customize them into different colors that will probably give the best look out of you.

The necklaces are lightweight, soft and to a greater extent comfortable to walk around in. Try out this one of the many creative ideas for old t-shirts and you’ll surely love the results. Without a doubt these are some of the best ways to express yourself.

3. Donate them

There are organizations that do collect old t-shirts which they sew into new things before shipping them to needy persons like orphans across different parts of the world. You can actually be part of this beautiful story of changing lives.

You don’t need to be rich to touch lives of the less unfortunate. Just a simple act of giving out your old clothing can go a long way in making a significant difference. Now, before you dump your old t-shirts think about this idea as well.

4. Baby bibs

from my ihoop hoodie

Bibs made from old t-shirts are nice-looking and great for kids. You can actually make them for your baby or even gift them to a friend or relative. They’ll for sure appreciate such a gift. Something that stands out is creatively done and comfortable for the kid.

Alternatively, you can make some extra cash out of this idea. Why don’t you just make these bibs and sell to the parent’s or soon to be ones? Don’t be surprised if you are overwhelmed by the demand for these unique baby accessories. Money issues shouldn’t bring you down when you have plenty of old t-shirts in your house.

5. Tote bags

Uses for old t-shirts are so many, one of them being none sewn tote bags. These bags can be made in under 10 minutes without even sewing a thing. You can actually use the bags to carry some of your light stuff when going to the park, for example.

These bags are also great for transporting kids’ stuff like diapers. I once went to the grocery with such a bag and everybody wanted to take home my own as it looked really nice. I had to share the idea with a number of women who couldn’t believe it. Try this out as well.

6. Fringe skirts

Are you a teenager? Do you have a teenage daughter that keeps asking for fringe skirt because she has seen some of her friends with them? Well, here is the thing. You see that t-shirt that she used to love but not anymore? Change it into a skirt for her.

I tell you girls are obsessed with fringe skirts. Just get your girl one and you’ll see how happy she’ll be. You don’t even need to spend large sums of money to make them.

Fringe skirts

7. T-shirt Rug

 T-shirt Rug

A rug made from an old t-shirt is such a cool one. This is a perfect example of what to do with old mickey mouse supreme DIY. You can actually use two unlike t-shirts to make a more beautiful one. Why should you buy rugs when you possess hundreds of old t-shirts? That’s a complete waste of resources to me.

The worst thing about these bought rugs is that they aren’t as soft on the feet as the t-shirt-made ones. Now make the right choice. Make strips on your t-shirts then knit them together to make a rug.

8. Braided belts

Have you ever wondered about what to do with old sentimental t-shirts? How about braided belts? Braided belts are some of the cool things to do with t-shirts! The good thing about making these belts is that they are soft, can be made to a favorable size and color. The belts can be customized for different functions and dresses. This is, therefore, an awesome old shirt project that you can try out anytime.

9. Knotted Lampshade

I once visited one of my many friends and came out with this great idea after what I saw at her place. The beautifully crafted lampshades were nicely done that you couldn’t imagine they were actually products of old t-shirts.

10.Workout shirt

It is a good practice to always exercise. Physical fitness is very important to a human’s well-being. Your old t-shirts could actually make some of the very best costumes for working out. This saves you some good money that you could have spent on new workout kits.

Workout shirt
Source: Pinterest

Wrapping Up

There are so many things to make out of old t-shirts. However, these are some of the ideas that I have found to be of great use. It just calls for a little creativity and you’ll have made something exceptional from the t-shirts you no longer put on.

Do you know of any recycled t-shirt ideas that I haven’t talked of in this article? Is there  anything that you can add on to the information herein? Share your thoughts and concerns with us.

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

How much Grass Seed do I need per Square Foot?

Every homeowner dreams of having a beautiful and healthy lawn. A good looking lawn that is well maintained will greatly improve your home’s landscape overall aesthetic. You may ask yourself, “How much grass seed do I need per square foot?”

To ensure that the grass grows properly you need to take care of the soil that the grass grows on. To achieve this you need to use a best pull behind plug aerator which will take care of the soil without destroying the grass consequently allowing the grass to grow properly

To get a beautiful lawn, you not only need to put in a lot of your effort and time but also need the right quantity of grass seed. You need to know the amount of seed you should buy per square foot.

Below are some important tips that can help you determine how much grass seed you need to buy per square foot so you can have a beautiful lawn that will make everyone stop and stare.

  1. Determine Property Size

This is the first step you need to take. You have to determine the size of the area you would like to be covered with grass. Most people usually make the mistake of miscalculating their lawns sizes. Before you invest in grass seeds, you should take your time and correctly determine the size of your lawn.

You can start by measuring your entire property size and then subtracting the sizes of the non-lawn areas like the flowerbeds, sidewalks and driveways.

Knowing the right size of your lawn area will help you save a lot of money since you will only buy grass seeds that you need. You will also not waste your time or labor.

To get the exact measure of your lawn area, you can do it manually using a tape measure. You can also use an online lawn size calculator.

2. Know the Right Grass Type

Once you have determined the size of your lawn, you need to know the best grass type that will be suitable for your area. Planting the right grass type has several disadvantages in that apart from giving your lawn the best look, it will also make a difference in the amount of seed you will use.

Once you have determined the right size of the area you need to be covered with grass and you have also determined the right seed type, you are now ready to determine the number of seeds you need. When you buy any particular grass seed, you should follow the guidelines on the seed package.

Some grass seeds manufacturers recommend planting 1 pound of seeds per 1000 square feet while some seed types can only cover 200 square feet per pound. As a result, you can calculate how much seed you need by dividing the size of your lawn by the recommended area size on your seed bag. Most grass seed bags recommend 300 to 400 square foot for every pound of seeds.

3. Even Seed Distribution

When planting your grass seed on the designated lawn areas, you should ensure that you distribute your grass seeds evenly. You can use a broadcast spreader to scatter your seeds uniformly over a large area. This will ensure that you end up with a uniform coverage once the grass grows.

To minimize the amount of grass seed you need, the grass seed you use should be of high quality. The quality of seed determines the quantity that you will need to use. Quality grass seeds also mean short germination times.

Although higher quality grass seeds with fewer fillers and weed seeds are a bit expensive, you will not use as much hence you will save a lot of money. Using lower quality seeds means that you will have to buy a lot of bags hence will spend more.

It Takes Time to Grow a Healthy Lawn

You might be a little bit impatient with your lawn and may want to make your grass grow fast. However, over-applying your grass seeds will not help. If you use too much grass seed, the grass may not do well since there will be increased competition for nutrients, water and light.

Your lawn looks spectacular as fall colors dot your trees. But when the trees begin to shed their leaves, it is time to hit the ground and do the sweeping.
You too should enjoy the serenity that a neat lawn brings to a home and this can be only so if you own and efficient best lawn sweepers

On the other hand, if you use less seeds than the amount recommended per square foot, you will end up with a thin lawn with lots of bare spots. As a result, follow the guidelines recommended on the seed bag and use your lawn size to know how much grass seed you should plant per square foot.

Tomato Start In My Kitchen

I have aspirations to grow great tomatoes, thick heirloom slicers and rich San Marzanos for canning. To date, my greatest success has been the small cherry tomatoes, sadly, not a favorite of my home-sharing posse. Thanks to a gift subscription to Mother Earth News from my mother-in-law, I read a great article in the January 2013 issue, “Best Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors” and put the tips to the test. The result is a lovely crop of tomato starts: San Marzanos; the heirlooms: Persimmon, deep orange and reportedly sweet; Black Krim, a “black” tomato from the Russian Black Sea area; & Costoluto, a traditional red slicer from Italy. I will transplant these into larger containers, let them recuperate, then harden them off before planting them outside.

Glancing at my notebook, I found this passage written on 1.19.13, when I first planted the seeds, a collection from Renee’s Seeds called Heirloom Summer Feast:

I love the description Heirloom Summer Feast. I imagine a deliciously hot summer, the heat breaking in the early evening, perhaps salty skin recently returned home from the beach. Smiles. Lethargic limbs happily made tired from an ocean swim. A pitcher of lemonade, ice clanking on the sides, fresh mint swirling. A plate of tomatoes, the orange persimmons, the beefy red of the Costoluto and the dark purple of the Black Krim, sliced evenly on a plate, a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy salt flakes and a bit of pepper.

Please grow.

Handmade Dolls by Kids

My oldest son set to the task of making gifts for his brother and cousins. I pulled out some canvas fabric scraps, backed them with freezer paper to make it more stable and got out some fabric markers. My son did the rest.

After the pictures were drawn, I ironed them to set them. My oldest son picked out some fabric for the backing. I sewed the two sides together, right sides facing, turned them inside out, and we stuffed them. My oldest son really enjoyed giving gifts.

The dolls were very well received.

One for his cousin:

And two dolls that quickly became pillows for princesses:

Grub Mystery Solved

Thanks to everyone who helped us with the compost grub mystery. It turns out they are larval green fruit beetles. I have seen the beetles around the yard before and wondered if they were friend or foe. It turns out they are pretty much neutral. They eat fruit but can’t do much harm unless the fruit is overripe or bird damaged. I’ll let the grubs stay and break down the compost although I think the raccoons or, more likely, skunks are rooting through our pile looking for them.

Ramshackle reader Josh says that his ducks and chickens love to eat them. He sent us this link to the Natural History Museum’s entomology research page on the Green Fruit Beetle. Thanks Josh!

Ramshackle reader katastrophik pointed us to whatsthatbug.comwhere the bug guy (Daniel) dropped this knowledge:

Hi Eric,

Congratulations. You have Crawly-Backs. Charles Hogue indicates in

his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, that the grubs
of the Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater, are called Crawly-Backs. He
writes: “The adults are active from late summer to early fall and,
during this period, lay their eggs in compost piles and other
accumulations of decomposing plant litter. The larvae are fairly
large (2 in., or 50 mm, long) and C-shaped; the body is pale
translucent white, and the head is dark brown. The first two molts
are completed in the fall, the third the following spring. Larvae
move forward on their backs with an undulating motion of the entire
body. They obtain purchase on the substratum with transverse rows of
stiff short stout bristles on the back of the thorax. Because of the
peculiar manner of locomotion, they are known as ‘crawly-backs.'” The
adults are beautiful metallic green beetles that have a loud buzzing

Have your own bug identification question? You may want to ask the bug guy.

And, of course, once you know what you are looking for, there is always wikipedia.

Making Acorn Flour

You can read lots of advice about making acorn flour by searching online. Kelly and Erik from Homegrown Evolution have an excellent section on it in their book, The Urban Homestead, which, if you haven’t bought already you should right now. I made a few batches this time last year, before the book came out and what worked best is pretty much exactly what they describe. I wish I had the book then.

1. Collect your acorns.
Avoid anything that has a damaged shell, especially a dark hole or small circular scar on it about the diameter of a pencil lead. Those acorns have worms in them and are no good.

2. Shell the acorns.
This was the most time consuming part for me. I learned a trick for shelling acorns toward the end of last year’s season: When dry, many will open themselves. I’m not sure if this is true of other types of acorns but our Live Oaks pop right open when dried out. If you wait for them to dry out, make sure that they get plenty of air, you don’t want them to rot. If you have a dehydrator, you may consider speeding the process. Keeping them in the oven may work too if it has a pilot light.

3. Make acorn mush.
Put them up in a blender with some water. Don’t be stingy with the water, you’ll be rinsing them out several times before your flour is ready. Think acorn smoothie.

4. Rinse out the tannins.
Acorns contain tannic acid which is bitter, and not good for your kidneys (or iron absorption) . The good news is that it is water soluble and easy to remove. Drape a cotton dishcloth over a deep bowl, pour in your mush and rinse the it with warm water. Wring out the mush by bringing the corners of the towel together and twisting. Taste the mush, if bitter, repeat. I have heard that you don’t need to make mush before rinsing the tannins out. I tried this method and my acorns were still bitter after several weeks of changing the water every day. I also tried using boiling water to rinse the mush but warm water from the tap seemed to be the best balance between water usage, gas usage and time – at least for me.

The waste water is good for plants.

5. Dry out the mush.
Next spread the mush out on a cookie sheet and either leave it in the sun on a hot dry day, put it in your dehydrator, or put it in your oven after you baking some cookies or something and let the residual heat do the job. Stir the mush occasionally to speed the process. If it clumps up and looks like ground beef it is probably going well.

Once the flour is dried out it may be a little coarse. You can put it in a cleaned out coffee grinder to get a finer texture. A good food processor also works and I am pretty sure they make attachable gadgets for mixers that really mill the flour if you get completely obsessed.

Our favorite use is acorn pancakes. Just mix the acorn flour 1/2 and 1/2 with wheat or other flour from your favorite recipe. I love the acorn flavor – slightly nutty, very hearty. If you make your own, let us know how it went.

Rebar Bean Poles

Ever since reading The Year I Ate My Yard by Tony Kienitz, I have wanted to experiment with using rebar in the garden. I like that it is an unromantic material which can actually be unexpectedly beautiful as it ages from new iron to a dark rusty brown. We have also discovered that it can easily become a whimsical yet still practical addition.

“Three-eighths rebar can be curled and coiled, bent and boxed in just about any direction and it can be done by hand…

…Rebar gives the garden a sense of age, of decay, and ruin, but ironically, it is sturdier and easier to negotiate than bamboo stakes, redwood or any of the other manufactured verticality offered.”

Tony Kienitz – The year I ate my yard

We decided to try it out on two wine barrel green bean plantings. The concept was to create a vine or tendril-like top to the typical teepeeshaped bean support. The supports were fun to make. We’ll see how they look once the vines have climbed to the tops.

Hedgehog Art from a Manroot Seedpod

Marah fabaceus (a.k.a. mountain cucumber or manroot) is a pernicious California native vine which grows like kudzu here in the winter and spring. It smothers nearby plants, then produces potato sized thorny seed pods. If it is not removed promptly, it dies back when the weather warms up, creating a tangled, tinder-box-like fire hazard which breaks apart at the slightest tug, making it a royal pain to clean up. You cannot kill the plant; the only way to remove it permanently is to dig up the root which can weigh up to 100 lbs (hence the name manroot).

Imagine my surprise to see my garden nemesis transformed by my son (with help from my wife) into an ephemeral hedgehog tribute to Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. Media: manroot seedpod, pepper corns, salt, pasta o’s