The idea for this has been in my head for a while (and on a paper for a shorter while), but let’s face it: I need more DIY space — especially for tools and garden storage. The one-car garage I have is packed full all the time with the mower, gardening materials, woodworking tools, paint, and more. Even though I try as best I can to keep it organized(ish… meh) by cleaning it out once a year, that still means I spend a lot of time looking for the things I need in a very tight space (you would think losing things in a smaller space would be less frequent, but… nope).
This is one of the bigger (and more costly) DIYs I’ve ever wanted to do, so I’m going to have some first-time learning curves ahead. Also, obviously, it’s something I’ve had to save up for. If you’ve noticed the increase in my sponsored projects on the site over the last few months, this is one of the main reasons I’ve taken them on (the summer is usually when I wind up working with more sponsors, so I wanted to funnel some of that to immediately start planning for this!). I’ve already seen what the kinds of costs are to have one custom built by ordering, so I’m hoping the DIY is also going to be more budget-friendly.
So it's not surprising that people often ask me for advice about putting together a backyard storage building. Sometimes I get asked questions that I couldn't possibly answer: "Do you think my husband and brother-in-law can build me a garden shed?" Or, "Would an 8 x 10-ft. shed be big enough to store all my stuff?" Gee, ma'am, I couldn't say. But often, the questions have something to do with shed design, framing or siding options. There, I can help. And so with these inquisitive souls in mind I present my favorite tricks of the shed trade.
Although skids are often set directly on the ground, I prefer to lay them on a bed of gravel. The stone creates a very stable base that’s not likely to settle or wash away. Begin by laying the skids in position on the ground, then mark around each one using spray paint or flour sprinkled from a can. Move the skids out of the way, then use a flat shovel to remove the sod and about 2 in. of soil from the marked areas. Check the excavated areas to make sure they’re close to being level. If they’re not, remove a little more soil from the high spots. Next, add 3 in. to 4 in. of gravel. Compact the gravel with a hand tamper or gas-powered plate compactor, then replace the skids.
You should then lay approximately 3” (75mm) of concrete. Concrete can be produced using either bags of dry mixed concrete with small amounts of water added at a time, or making a mixture of ‘all-in’ ballast, cement and water. For this second alternative, it is mixed in the ratio of 1 part of cement for 5 parts ‘all-in’ ballast. ‘All-in’ ballast is sold in 40kg bags at most building merchants or DIY stores (Note approx 1.25 will be required to produce around 1 cubic foot of concrete). Do not allow the mix to become too wet as this will weaken the concrete.
This whimsical garden shed looks like something you would see in a “Lord of the Rings” movie. With its almost twisting structure sitting in the middle of this forest landscape, I am almost surprised I do not see a tiny Hobbit poking about with a pipe in hand. It is a truly gorgeous setup and this just goes to show how versatile these garden sheds can be.
Arch-top windows and a custom door give this shed a high-quality look that belies its low cost and simple construction. The panelized construction technique means you could build the parts in your garage on a rainy weekend and then haul them to the site for assembly. Modest finishes like OSB siding and composite trim and fiberglass shingles help keep the materials cost low. And you’ll save hundreds of dollars by providing your own labor to build the door and windows. The modular construction and wood platform foundation mean you can construct this shed almost anywhere, even on remote or sloping sites. In this article, we’ll show you the basics of how to build the shed and install the windows and doors.
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