A garden shed can serve many functions. Some may see it as nothing more than extra storage space, but for others, it can be a place to retreat from the distractions of everyday life. Inspiration is easier to find when you’re down at the bottom of your garden, away from ringing telephones, TVs and the call of Facebook. A well-constructed shed could be the perfect place to write a book or paint, and a great workshop for budding sculptors and craftsmen.
Whatever your intentions, at the very least a shed will add a talking point to your garden. Here are some tips on how to build a garden shed.
• Choose a site
The first thing you need to do is find an area with level ground. You'll want it to be somewhere out of the way, so the shed doesn't interfere with outdoor activities. The obvious candidate is the corner of the garden, but bear in mind that you also need the site to have ample space around it, so you can move freely while building the shed.
Modern sheds tend to come equipped with all the comforts of home, including electricity and running water. If that's what you're going for, you'll need to position the shed somewhere it can easily be reached by underground cabling and pipes.
Determine which angle and position would allow the shed to receive a healthy amount of natural light throughout the year, especially if your main purpose is to use it for creative pursuits. UK Home Improvement points out that many modern sheds use glass designs to facilitate good lighting without the need for electricity.
• The look of it
UK Home Improvement recommends using wood finishes instead of paint, making for a shed that's both aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly. However, if you do opt for paint, ensure it contains little to no VOCs, which pose a risk to both the environment and your health.
Basic shed design
Modern shed designs can be a bit tricky for less experienced home DIY enthusiasts. Here are some tips to build a garden shed based on a relatively simple design. You can get to the fancier stuff later.
• Build the base: Once you've identified the best site, the next stage is to dig a hole of appropriate size and lay a damp-proof membrane, followed by a concrete slab that will serve as the foundation of the shed. Mike Edwards recommends that the hole be 100mm deep and 300mm wider than the shed floor. Visit DIY Doctor for more detailed instructions.
• Build the frames: The frames that form the walls and floor will be comprised primarily of timber, so you'll need a large supply. Keep in mind that the frame used for the front wall will have to hold a door and window. Instructions on building and erecting frames complete with diagrams can be found on BettaLiving.org.
• Build the roof: With the support beams in place, it's time to lay the roof. DIY Network suggests measuring and marking six evenly spaced fixing positions before lifting the roof panels into place one at a time. The site offers step-by-step instructions.
Once the roof is on and the structure is complete, you can go to town decorating it in your personal style. You can add shelves for books or sports trophies, put in closets for fishing gear or hiking equipment, carpet it and put in some comfy chairs to make a den, move in your pottery equipment or set up your easel or arrange your power tools in alphabetical order. It’s your shed, after all. It’s only a bonus that a well-maintained shed adds value to your house when you want to sell.