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Out Of The Woods: 3 Uses For Reclaimed Timber In An Eco-Friendly Garden

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Tending to a garden is hardly the most environmentally damaging thing you can do with your land, and a garden full of leafy green plants can function as an effective carbon sink to offset the carbon footprint of your property as a whole. However, there are ways you can make a garden even more eco-friendly, and using reclaimed materials to construct and maintain it is one of the most effective.

Reclaimed timer is a particularly popular and versatile choice, and where your second-hand wood salvaged from renovated or demolished homes, disused railway tracks or other sources, it can be put to a wide variety of uses in your garden. The next time you visit your local timber salvage yard looking for pieces of quality used timber, keep the following ways it can be put to use in your garden in mind:

Raised planting beds

Raised beds are a potent weapon in the hands of any seasoned gardener, providing improved drainage qualities and extra physical protection to your plants compared to planting them in a simple, ground-level flower bed. These beds can be made from a wide variety of materials, but reclaimed timber is one of the most popular for its attractive, rustic looks and enviable durability.

Reclaimed railway sleepers are a particularly suitable choice for creating raised beds, as they are treated with chemicals that prevent them from rotting when exposed to moist potting soil. Reclaimed hardwoods with natural anti-fungal properties, such as red cedar and jarrah, are also ideal for crafting raised beds.

Retaining walls

If your garden is located in sloped ground, installing retaining walls can be an easy and effective way to level your terrain. They can also create interesting visual accents, and create extra space for plating flowers and vegetables. However, the strain of holding up large quantities of earth means that the materials you use to create them must be both strong and durable, and reclaimed timber is an excellent choice.

Other retaining wall materials, such as brick and concrete, rival reclaimed timber in terms of strength but have considerably higher levels of embodied energy. Timber also blends in more easily with the surrounding soil and foliage.


If you are felling ambitions, reclaimed timber can be used to create a full-blown deck at a fraction of the economical and environmental cost of building a deck from new timber. Many homeowners actually see reclaimed timber as a more desirable choice for their deck than fresh, purpose-cut timber, due to the unique weather looks of reclaimed timber. Reclaimed floorboards taken from older homes are particularly useful for creating decks, as they are often taken from old growth trees and are subsequently stronger and more durable than modern, plantation-grown timber.