How to Lay Landscape Timbers


Landscape timbers may be incorporated into your flower bed in a number of different ways. Landscape timbers may be stacked to make the walls of a retaining bed, or they may create the framework for a terrace to prevent erosion. Long, narrow terraces can also be used to create a rustic-looking staircase. The key to using landscape timbers properly is to lay them in a bed correctly.

Step 1

Measure and mark the course of your landscape timbers over the soil. Drive a stake into each end of your timber walls and stretch a string between the stakes to serve as a guide.

Step 2

Dig a trench that extends below the frost line of your area for the foundation of the timbers. The frost line in each area may be different depending on how far north you are located. Your landscape timbers will stay level if they extend below the frost line. Timbers placed above the frost line are subject to frost heave.

Step 3

Place a narrow board into the trench to ensure that the trench is level. Place a spirit level along the bottom of the trench to measure it. If the trench is not level, excavate more soil so that the trench becomes level.

Step 4

Drill a hole into the ends of each of your timbers with a drill. Lay each timber into the trench so that each end touches.

Step 5

Drive a spike through the drill holes at the end of your timbers and into the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Stakes
  • String
  • Shovel
  • Narrow board
  • Spirit level
  • Drill
  • Rebar stakes


  • Extension: What is the best way to secure landscape timbers?
  • University of Missouri Extension: Raised-Bed Gardening
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Building a Raised Bed Garden

Who Can Help

  • Creative Homeowner: Building a Timber Retaining Wall
  • The Home Depot: Installing Landscape Timber Edging
Keywords: landscaping projects, using landscape timber, laying timber

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."