Landscape Timbers Ideas
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Landscape Timbers Ideas

Landscape timbers give every homeowner the ability to turn their eyesore exterior into a landscaping masterpiece. Landscape timbers present a challenging DIY project, but one any determined landscaper can handle.

To simplify, landscape timbers are used to build planter boxes and raised beds for gardening. They are also used to separate plants from other common areas of the yard, to build a retaining wall, reinforce a slope, make garden steps or build a picnic table and landscape paths. The possibilities are endless, but before you go and purchase landscape timbers, make sure you read all there is to know about this highly attractive landscaping feature.

Landscape Timber Basics

There are certain landscape timber basics all must know before embarking on such a landscaping project. Like many other home materials, landscape timbers come in a variety of colors and materials. They are similar to wood planks in that many of them come in 4-foot or 8-foot lengths. However, the primary difference is that landscape timbers are flat on the bottom and top. As you can imagine, this makes landscape timbers ideal for building or stacking.

There are two main types of landscape timbers; natural and synthetic. For natural, the timber can be treated or untreated. Treated, while more expensive, can last up to seven years before being replaced. Synthetic, the most popular of which is recycled plastic, will last much longer and is cheaper.

Landscape Timber Prices

  • Natural Treated: Most pay $400 on average for 50 linear feet of treated landscape timbers.
  • Natural Untreated: Most pay $300 for untreated landscape timbers that covers 50 linear feet.
  • Synthetic: The cost for 50 linear feet of synthetic landscape timbers is $150 on average.

Just like a home’s flooring, the natural wood always costs more. Most agree that natural wood looks better as well.

Besides the timber costs, there are there are other factors one must consider:

  • Some companies may charge a delivery fee.
  • If your yard is not level or has drainage issues, the timbers may deteriorate, rot or shift out of place. Landscape pros will have to address and thus, increase your overall project cost.

Natural Timbers

Natural timbers are made of wood, the most common of which are redwood and cedar. Treated wood is the most common type of landscape timber in the U.S. The logs are treated with oil-based preservatives that help stave off mold, fungi and damage from exposure to moisture, sun and air.

Untreated timbers have some natural resistance to fungal growth, moisture and temperature extremes. These woods have a pleasing color, but they can also be painted to match other landscaping features.

When a natural landscaping timber begins to deteriorate, one must replace the decaying log right away. If not, carpenter ants and termites will be headed your way.

Which Landscape Timber to Choose

For garden timbers, most homeowners go with synthetic or untreated natural timbers. Wood treated with creosote or pentachlorophenol results in oils that coat the roots, stems and leaves of nearby plants. Creosote and pentachlorophenol may also release an odor that is offensive to sensitive individuals. Landscaping timbers that were treated with copper, chromium and arsenic mixtures should not be used around plants for human consumption.

On the other hand, as you read above, treated wood still tends to be the timber of choice. That’s because most homeowners use treated timbers to build benches, retaining walls or tables. Treated wood is easy to cut and looks great for paths or edging closer to the home.

If you are looking to quickly improve your curb appeal, treated wood is the way to go. Just remember, that updated look does not come without a price.

Landscape Timber Benefits

Besides a huge bump in curb appeal, there are various benefits to installing landscape timbers. Those benefits include:

  • Durability: Treated timbers can last up to seven years and plastic can last several decades.
  • Accessibility: Raised beds made of landscape timbers reduce the amount of weeding that needs to be done while allowing for an extended growing season and easier access to the plants.
  • Green: Landscape timbers are an economical choice.
  • Inexpensive: Compared to brick or concrete, landscape timbers cost less.

How to Install Landscape Timbers

As indicated with our landscaping cost estimators, it’s almost always cheaper to handle your own landscaping project as opposed to hiring a pro. Fortunately, installing landscape timbers is no different.

To start off, one should always wear gloves when it comes to landscaping projects, especially those involved with treated landscape timbers. If you plan on working in the yard, do yourself a favor and invest in a good pair of gardening gloves.