Can You Use Sleepers For Steps?

By Sam Wood •  Updated: 10/08/21 

Sleepers are a versatile building material and if you get the softwood type they are quite affordable. For these reasons you may well be wondering if you can use them for garden steps, well let’s have a look!

So Can You?

Yes, you can use sleepers for steps. In fact, this is something I have done myself to great effect and have the photos to prove it!

Sleepers For Steps

Here are some sleepers steps I built myself in a back garden.

Sleeper Steps
Sleeper Steps

These are free-standing sleeper steps in a very steep back garden. The sleepers have worked brilliantly here and are solid as a rock.

The entire structure has been built out of sleepers making it incredibly strong. If you are thinking of using sleepers for steps like this then I would definitely recommend them.

Side View
Side View

Here you can see one of the two sleepers running down each end. This is what each step is then bolted into.

The Bottom of The Steps
The Bottom of The Steps

At the bottom of the steps we have a platform made from, you guessed it, sleepers. It then has decking boards on top.

This acts as a turning point for the stairs with the bottom steps then turning towards the camera. Adding a platform like this with a turn is a great way to squeeze steps into a space that otherwise wouldn’t allow it.

These sleeper steps replaced brick steps which were way too steep. The sleepers worked an absolute dream.

More Traditional Sleeper Steps

The more traditional way to create steps with sleepers is to have them more buried into the ground. Usually, the sleeper creates the front face of the step.

Often these steps have stone chippings in them for decorative effect.

More Traditional Sleeper Steps
More Traditional Sleeper Steps

These steps have sleepers that are hidden under the chippings one layer deep. The visible sleeper is then anchored into these sleepers to stop them from moving.

This is a really quick and easy way to build attractive steps into a banking.

In the above image, you can see two visible bolt holes in the top of the sleeper. This is where it is bolted into a sleeper below. These should be filled with some dowel to help stop water from sitting in there. A job I will get round to at some point…

Even More Sleeper Steps
Even More Sleeper Steps

Here is another example of how you can create steps from sleepers. You can see that there wasn’t a banking to build into here so the sleepers have also been used to create the sides of the steps.

I think I have shown you enough varied examples here to show you that sleepers steps are very possible. I hope you can take some inspiration from my examples!

Related Reading

If you are thinking of building with sleepers then you might find these posts interesting.

Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!