Garden Shed

The finished shed (21K)One of the first projects was to convert the garage into a workshop. I built a simple partition wall to split the garage in two, leaving a space at the front for gardening and diy stuff. But as time passed I realised that the growing collection of gardening hardware was getting out of hand. A garden shed was required!

A simple 4 by 6 foot shiplap model from Homebase seemed adequate. An equally simple base was laid, using old rubble and ready-mixed concrete. A timber frame provided a form during the concrete-flatting, and it worked out surprisingly well - it's actually level!


Once the parts have been delivered, there is a lot of preparation to do before assembly. I started with the base - it's a piece of 10mm OSB, with 4 battens running along the length. The manufacturer recommends lifting the shed off the floor using cross-batons to enable ventilation and provide a degree of rising-damp protection.

Close-up of floor battons (12K)
Close-up of floor battons (10K)

I decided to notch out the cross-batons, so that the floor is properly supported. In the picture on the right you can see the ends of two of the four existing batons. The additional batons were installed with glue and screws on 9 inch centres and the resulting floor is far better than the upstairs floors in the house! Before installation, I gave the underside of the floor several coats of Cuprinol. The batons are pressure-treated, so they should be OK for a few years...


The actual build happens very quickly - I did it myself in less than an hour. This doesn't include felting the roof - be warned: the supplied felt is hopeless, and tears like tissue!

Shed roof (12K)Where the two OSB roof-panels meet at the ridge, they are totally unsupported, which makes it difficult to drive felting nails into the roof. I made a number of wooden sections to tie the roof together:

These are glued and screwed from the outside to the roof, and as you might imagine, trying to do that on my own was "fun"! You'll notice the holes in these sections, and of course I made an effort to ensure that the flat parts of the triangles are horizontal - you'll see why later...


With such a small shed, bad planning will result in very poor storage potential. I started by experimenting with all the stuff that needed to go in there, and decided to add two shallow benches and a full-height tool-cupboard. The framing was done while the shed was being built, but it took a while before suitable plywood "offcuts" became available to complete the shelves:

Inside the shed (43K)

And luckily, all the planning paid off. You can see the two shelves that double as mini-benches for potting, etc. - note how they are exactly the right height to allow the chairs and bikes to fit. Also note the vertical section on the left which forms the wall of the tool cupboard.

Tool cupboard (13K)
Tool cupboard (15K)

These images show the tool cupboard in more detail. The small shelf is made from birch ply with a small pine strip across the front to stop things rolling off. The section at the bottom of the cupboard is to store the battery for the lights - the top simply lifts out. There's a pine baton running along the floor that holds the chairs in the right place, preventing them from falling over.

Framing (15K)
Framing (13K)

Close-up of the framing (9K)These older images show the framing - I've kept them here to show off the obsessive attention to detail! The framing is a mixture of 1 by 2's and 2 by 2's, the latter size is used directly against the shed walls as they needed to be notched to accept the existing (33mm square) batons.

These add a lot of strength to the structure. The frame is glued and screwed together, and attached to the walls from the outside.


Became a major part of the project! As is often the case - for me, at least - a simple idea evolved into something quite over-the-top... Essentially, I had some spare low-voltage halogen light fittings, and a couple of large ex-UPS batteries. I planned to use them in conjunction with one of those solar panels that are sold as a means of keeping your car battery topped up during long periods of non-use

Installation was physically simple - I made a panel from 6mm plywood that fitted onto those triangle-shaped roof-pieces you saw earlier, and this panel holds two downlighters.

However, I discovered that the two batteries were not in good condition, having been sat around for a year... This led me to start researching lead-acid technology, with a view to finding the best way to revive them. I also found lots of info about how best to look after them, including how important it is to avoid deep-discharge.

Light Switch/Battery Monitor (19K)So, the simple switch has been abandoned in favour of this:

It's an electronic switch that shows the battery voltage on a row of LEDs. You press and hold the button for a second or two to switch the lights on, and press it briefly to turn off. In addition, if the battery terminal voltage falls below 10.5 volts, the lamp is switched off.

For circuit details, see here...


The shed is serving its purpose - it's got all the gardening junk out of my mechanical workshop!

The shelving and lighting made the shed much more useful. When I moved out of this house, I decided to remove the lighting and the controller detailed above and plan to use them in my next house.