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Garden Railways 

Garden Railway Design


Our interest in Garden railways have lead Kym Valley Gardens to offer a complete Garden Railway Design service throughout our operating area and even through the post. However design by email is perhaps nowadays the most common service provided and this allows to cover the entire UK and it can also be slightly quicker, this service can save you time and money by using the full design package provided by our award winning, experienced and professionally qualified designers that will specifically tailor a Garden railway Design to your own needs and requirements.


We are able to provide you with a full set of working drawings to scale that include a 'Sketch Design' for comment, a working 'Master Plan' for construction purposes including a 'Short Form Specification', for materials a 'Planting Plan' showing quantities and types of plants and 'Construction Detailing' if required. Should you need it, a plant 'Maintenance Schedule' is also available. In some instances, we can also source the plants for you.


We are also able to provide you with sound advice, designs and planting plans for any size of Garden Railway, from a simple oval to an entire network around the garden. We work closely with you ensuring that our design meets your taste and needs from a narrow gauge 32mm system up to a full-size 2-foot gauge.






There are many track manufacturers to choose from but a quality track is absolutely essential for first class running. Track is commonly available in 900mm long flexible lengths in rigid straights or set curves, turnouts and cross overs jointed with push fit fish plates or screw together fish plates. Avoid using Aluminium and brass rails joined together as corrosion caused by electrolytic action will occur. Beware using some track found amongst some boxed train sets. Flexible track can be liberating when introducing flowing curves on the layout but it can be difficult to bend properly without kinking the rails, to do bend flexi track with your hands it is suggested that you bend across your chest, and not over your knee, bending tools are available.

Railway Design Procedure 


As an established designer of both private gardens and commercial landscapes Kym Valley Gardens has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in design that is second to none. Possessing the knowledge and practical experience that will ensure your railway is designed and built with suitable materials and planting to your complete satisfaction. We, of course, realise that you will probably have your own ideas about how you want your Garden Railway to look and where possible, we will always endeavour to provide your wishes.


To provide you with a design that meets your requirements we first will require to arrange a consultation this can be done on the phone, via email or face to face in the comfort of your own home. During the consultation, we will establish a design brief taking into account the site constraints, (levels and boundaries and terrain), your wishes and the motive power and rolling that you may already own. 


From the Consultation, we are then able to provide you with a fee proposal to cover the cost of travelling expenses, survey, the design work, prints and any site meetings that are required. Once the Fee Proposal has been agreed we will arrange to carry out a site survey sometimes these can be completed manually but difficult sites and those far away will require surveying by a digital landscape survey team. When the survey has been carried out the details can then be entered into a drawing sheet and a concept layout can be worked up, this is presented to you in either a digital image or images in your own home or sent by email.


Once the concept design has been agreed the final working drawings or Master Plan can be drawn up, these include the design drawn to scale, they are fully annotated and come with short-form specifications. Should you wish we can also design the planting as well, a fee proposal for the planting design can be arranged and once agreed a planting scheme is prepared to show suitable small and dwarf growing plants to suit the style and type of the Garden Railway.


For further details and costs of our Postal Garden Design service see our section on Postal Garden Design





After surveying your garden a survey plan is drawn to scale, from this we create a 3D Sketch Design model, when the model is complete we capture views which we present to you in the comfort of your own home or office. Once the sketch design has been agreed we then prepare the Master Plan drawing.  



Once the sketch design has been agreed, we then prepare the Master Plan this is a fully annotated drawing that has been drawn to scale. The drawing shows the positions of the railway line, borders, paving and garden features. This drawing also includes existing/new levels and short form specifications. This drawing is used by the contractor to price the garden work and set out the garden ready for construction.



Planting plans are drawn up once the master plan has been completed and agreed, they are based on the position and size of the borders designed and the style of planting required to suit the soil conditions and aspect.


The plants are labelled with the quantities required in the position indicated and entered into a planting schedule which shows the plants name in Latin along with the total number of plants required and their size. This drawing can then used to order the plants and set them out in their correct positions.



Traditionally Kym Valley Gardens has always been able to provide a complete design service through the post and we still provide this option today should you require. However design by email is perhaps the most common postal design service provided nowadays and this can also be slightly quicker, this service can save you time and money by using the full design package provided by our award winning, experienced and professionally qualified designers that will specifically tailor a design to your own needs and requirements.

Character Of The Proposed Railway


When designing garden railways it is important to decide on the style and feel that you are aiming for this we term the sense of place, this will dictate the type of materials used in the design, obviously if you wished to have a Welsh narrow gauge railway built then you would need to have the garden detailed using Slate wherever possible. Slate can be used to build retaining walls, tunnels embankments, fencing, and bridge supports, scale buildings would then need to capture the feel of a Welsh slate quarry railway. You may even have a favourite railway that you may wish to use as the basis of the design, for example, the Talyllyn.


Track Types


When designing your Garden Railway a simple continuous oval track should be avoided this type of layout does not resemble a prototypical track. If at all possible a dog bone type layout should be used where a manually operated battery or steam locomotive is likely to be operated, this type of layout allows the designer to create a continuous loop with the potential to create some more realistic looking track designs. Such layouts are great in small spaces or where you need to complete a section to operate with the potential to extend in the coming years.


End to end layouts look great but are only suitable for full electric operation or for battery operated radio control or radio controlled steam locomotives. A turntable can be installed on end to end layouts should a locomotive need to be turned.


Gradients should be avoided for manually operated steam and battery locomotives, however, if you require a track layout that is to be driven then the challenge of a gradient can be incorporated but gradients can only be successfully negotiated using remote control systems.




The process to provide a planting plan through the post/email is slightly different from that for a full design service, you would still need to complete a planting design brief, which we will send to you and we would still require photographs and a full survey showing measurements. We would also need to have your thoughts as to the style of planting that you would like and we would need to discuss some outline ideas with you before we can commence the design work. 

Turn Your Dream Into A Reality


Gardens are never finished they change with the seasons and plants continue to grow and change. A garden design will provide you with the ultimate concept to work towards, however not all gardens can be afforded in one go, so to complete the final garden may take several years, this will be dependent on your budget and time frame.


It is, however, possible to have a garden designed so that it can be built by the contractor in phases. In this way, a section can be completed and enjoyed, whilst the next phase is completed sometime in the near future.


For a no obligation quotation or to discuss your design and build garden requirements book your consultation today.


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