Timbers: The Homeowner’s Easiest Landscaping Tool

Tingen ConstructionHomeowner Tips

Do you want a garden or flower bed? Maybe a sandbox for the kids, or a sitting area in your backyard. Maybe you want to line a path. For any ground structure in your yard, pressure-treated lumber – commonly referred to as a landscape timber – is your best friend. These simple wooden timbers can separate landscape features or contain mulch or sand! Even better, they’re easy to install for the average DIYer.

Things to Know

First-off, pressure treated lumber isn’t just sliced off the tree. It goes through a special process where preservative chemicals are forced into the pores of the wood, increasing its resistance to critters and rain. They will eventually rot, but they last significantly longer than untreated wood.

Speaking of those chemicals, this also means pressure treated wood can be a bit dangerous. The chemicals are often carcinogenic, so avoid inhaling sawdust and always wear gloves when handling them. This is especially true when removing rotten ones, as standards before the mid-90s allowed the use of arsenic.


Landscape timbers work best when sitting in a small trench. Plan your project area, and then dig a trench around the perimeter that is the width of your timbers (usually 4”). You can do this with a shovel, but it’s much easier with a trencher (you can rent one at Home Depot.)

Next, cut the timbers to size. While a proper electric saw is easier, even a cheap hand saw will get the job done. Remember to wear gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling any chemicals. Coat the ends with a waterproof sealant.


Before you lay the timbers down, you need to figure out how you’ll secure them. Landscape spikes are the easiest and cheapest method. Make sure you get a drill bit that’s the same diameter as the spike (3/8” is a common size.)

With that done, drill holes in the timbers for the spikes. You need at least two every five feet or so. Then drive the spikes through the holes, and you’re done! Fill the area with sand, soil, or mulch of your choice.

Looking for a home as the base for the yard of your dreams? Tingen Construction builds custom homes in the Triangle and surrounding areas. Check out our current listings, or give us a call at (919) 422-2576 to talk about a floor plan of your own!