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The Evolution Of A Garden Shed

Updated on March 19, 2013

Before you can put up a garden shed, you have to have somewhere to put it

As you'll know if you've been reading my main garden lens, The Evolution of a Garden, it's been a long journey to reach the point where we can even think about having a garden shed. The rear few metres of our garden has always been used as a dumping ground, and this is the bit I'm clearing in this photo. Just beyond the bottom of the frame, the earth meets the grass. The edge of the grass represents the point where I started clearing the back of the garden. Yep, it's a big job.

My main garden lens is focusing on the job as a whole. But this lens is going to focus on the amount of clearing I had to do to get to the stage where we could even think about putting a shed base down. It will also focus on the following points:

* deciding what size sheds to have

* figuring out what has to go in them (nothing worse than buying the wrong size...)

* laying a shed base

* buying the sheds - metal or wood?

* putting the sheds up

* getting the shed contents organised

So you see, it's going to be a meaty lens. That's why I've split it off from my main gardening lens, but do feel free to go over there and see how the garden project as a whole is coming along. I'm getting there, albeit gradually!

Are you ready? Let me show you just how overgrown our garden was.

Clearing The Overgrown Garden

Getting Ready For The Garden Shed
Getting Ready For The Garden Shed

Yes that's me, with my trusty loppers. I think I'd cry if anyone tried taking them off me now. Those loppers are responsible for cutting back the majority of that overgrown forsythia.

I'm happy to say we are keeping the forsythia though. Now it's been cut back it is growing again - nice healthy fresh growth - and I will keep it to a manageable size this time. This pic does give you an idea of how huge and overgrown it got though.

You can probably see the 'carpet' of ivy growing all over the place as well. I'm glad to say I'm winning the battle against that without the use of any pesticides. I've gone down the natural route instead (more info on that coming later).

Area To Clear To Make Way For Garden Shed

Floor plan for garden shed
Floor plan for garden shed

As you can see there is lots of work to do. At this point I'd already cleared dozens of bags of garden rubbish. I was several months into the project, as I was spending a couple of hours outside after lunch most days. Doesn't sound like much given the amount I had to clear before we could start to think about a garden shed or two, but you'd be amazed what you can do in two hours when you put your mind to it.

I've roughly marked out the area where the shed base will eventually go. Originally the area from the dotted line back was overgrown with greenery to a height of about eight or ten feet. You can now walk right under that tree at the back, as you'll see from the pictures still to come.

Need Something To Get Through Tree Branches? - Try a tree saw

If, as I found, your garden loppers aren't quite up to the job of cutting through those thicker branches, the best thing to use is a tree saw. It requires a little more elbow grease than a chain saw, but in my opinion they're safer, easier to control and a darn sight cheaper too. Good if you know you're only going to need it a couple of times a year.

Finally The Garden Is Cleared And Ready For A Shed Base

Ready for the garden shed
Ready for the garden shed

Whew! Made it. You can see the difference. Already the forsythia is growing back - in check this time though - and the ground beyond the bin bags is cleared and ready to be used for the shed base. You can see I've got a lot of garden rubbish still to bag up for recycling - thankfully our bin men are great at getting rid of that and making good use of it. We might plan in a compost heap at some point but the sheds come first. I can only tackle this in stages instead of thinking of the big picture, otherwise it gets overwhelming.

Jasper surveying the area
Jasper surveying the area

Sept 23rd 2012: The Day The Shed Base Went Down

This is our cat, Jasper, checking out the area before we tackled the base. He likes to get involved.

It took around three and a half hours to get the base down and we had bad weather too. Ironically I wasn't involved in doing it - our friends came over to give us a hand but I was on kitchen duties, keeping the workers topped up with tea, coffee and biscuits and cooking a roast dinner when they were done. By that time it was pouring with rain and they were soaked through.

Think I got the best job that day. Actually so did Jasper - he was watching the proceedings from the upstairs window! He had to wait til Monday to explore it up close.

The First Few Slabs For The Shed Base Are Down

Preparation for shed base
Preparation for shed base

You can see it was pretty wet by this time. We had 21 slabs to lay in total in a 3 x 7 formation. We're having two sheds, one next to the other. Roughly speaking, each shed will be 2 x 3 slabs big. So we've got enough along the front and round one side for a path too.

In the picture, the first shed will be sitting with the rear edge on the 3 slabs on the right hand side. So still a few slabs to lay here.

Shed base going down
Shed base going down

Twelve slabs down, nine to go. In fact you can see the 13th slab just being laid in the bottom left of the picture. And yes, the rain is getting heavier! The good news is the slabs drained wonderfully after the rain so no puddles to worry about.

When Two Sheds Are Better Than One

If you forgive me the pun (I thought it was a pretty good one) you might be wondering why we're opting for two sheds instead of one larger one. The idea is to get two 6 feet by 4 feet sheds, which will give us 48 square feet of storage space instead of 24 square feet, but in two separate areas.

The reason is simple. We've got a wide range of gardening items that I want to keep all in one area. Other items such as bikes will go in the other one. It also gives us more wall space to hang things rather than having a huge space with just four walls to work with. If you're not careful the middle of a large shed can give you a huge open space you can't do a lot with. So really, one shed is for storage and the other shed is for my gardening stuff.

I've seen plenty of other people who have gone for this solution instead of having one large shed, and it seems to work well. What are your thoughts on this? Do you manage with one large shed or would you rather have two separate ones?

How Many Sheds - One Or Two?

Here's your chance to have your say. Do you think one large shed or two smaller sheds would be best for your needs?

Completed Shed Base

Shed base completed
Shed base completed

This photo was taken by me from our attic window. We get a good view down on the garden from there.

The base is solid as a rock and ready for the two sheds to be ordered (which they were today) and put up. Now we have to hope for good weather so we get a bit of garden time to do it in.

You can see there is still some clearing to do at the back. However I am planning on getting rid of rubbish and leaving the earth, as it's very good stuff. Some will be used elsewhere in the garden so we'll get rid of it all one way or the other.

Here's Another Question - Wooden Sheds Or Metal Sheds?

If you read the next section along, you'll know which ones we decided on. But which ones do you prefer?

Do you prefer wooden sheds or metal sheds?

Metal Sheds From Amazon

Yep, after talking to plenty of people about the merits of both wooden and metal sheds, we decided to opt for metal ones. One person in particular said they got a metal one and a wooden one, and despite the fact they're both sitting on proper bases, the wooden one is already rotting (it's been properly treated too). The metal one is solid as a rock and although they're harder to put together we've heard they're worth it in the end. So that's what we've opted for.

Here are some metal sheds available from Amazon, in case you are in the middle of your own garden makeover.

Arrow Brentwood Steel Outdoor Storage Shed with Sloped Metal Roof, 5' x 4', Neutral
Arrow Brentwood Steel Outdoor Storage Shed with Sloped Metal Roof, 5' x 4', Neutral

This is slightly smaller than the two we are getting. We've gone for 6 x 4 feet sheds. But this provides a decent amount of space if you have a small garden.

Arrow Shed HM65 Hamlet 6-Feet by 5-Feet Steel Storage Shed
Arrow Shed HM65 Hamlet 6-Feet by 5-Feet Steel Storage Shed

This one goes the other way, providing slightly more space than each of our two sheds.

Arrow LX1014-C1 Galvanized High Gable Steel Storage Building, 10 x 14', Eggshell
Arrow LX1014-C1 Galvanized High Gable Steel Storage Building, 10 x 14', Eggshell

And if you've got room, why not go for a monster storage shed like this one?


Coming Soon

We've had the sheds since October, but no decent weather to put them up. It's now mid March and thankfully - two days after a blizzard - the snow has cleared and THE SHEDS ARE UP!! Pics coming soon.

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    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Lol...I knew that Jasper would make his appearance on this article and there he was. I truly think one nice large garden shed is best. Now I just have to convince my husband to remove the other two hmmm.

    • outdoorprojects profile image


      5 years ago

      Love the pavers you used for your shed. Will check back later to see your progress.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 

      5 years ago

      I can't wait to read more about the evolution of your garden shed. I will be back to see what else you have to say.

    • Allison Whitehead profile imageAUTHOR

      Allison Whitehead 

      6 years ago

      @vegetablegardenh: Thank you, I will indeed. The sheds are here, we just have to wait for dry and not windy weather before we can put them up (could be a while!)

    • vegetablegardenh profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, keep us updated! Very inspiring.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 

      6 years ago from England

      Great lens, your garden is just like ours, and like you we have two plus sheds.

    • KateH2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent lens! I am really enjoying your "evolution" series. Look forward to further updates and seeing the sheds go up!


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