'Shed' is a very general term for an outdoor building, meaning different things to different people. For some it is merely a tool store, for others it is a workshop or grand summer house, an outdoor room even. A good quality shed will be made from FSC shiplap tongue and groove timber, will be pre treated in a basic finish ready for you to colour it in your own choice, or to leave it as it is. Roofing material is commonly OSB sheets or panels of tongue and groove timber, topped with roofing felt, to ensure it stays waterproof and to protect your tools and equipment inside. Cheaper sheds can be made of tapered weatherboard, which does not interlock and will tend to “gap” after a while as the timber shrinks with age, this can lead to water incursion, as well as unwanted pests.
Before buying whichever style of shed you particularly like, you should consider the use for it, now and in the future, as these garden buildings tend to last several years and can be a major part of your garden, it is better to think about it a little before making plans for an overly grand pavilion or a far too small tool tidy.
If your shed is going to be purely for storage, then a basic shape and style will be all you really need. Check the size of the shed, and measure the dimensions out, so as to avoid coming too close to trees, other outbuildings and to make sure that it isn’t going to block access to somewhere else in your garden (and also make sure the doors can open fully too!)
The next step up from a basic store is a larger shed/workshop building. Somewhere you can keep tools, mowers larger equipment etc plus also have room for a workbench and space to work in, ideally to carry out maintenance on your equipment or even as a Potting shed. Windows and good light are an essential part of these buildings especially if you are using your shed for potting or for maintenance work.
Recreational buildings such as summer houses or playhouses for children can play a major part in a garden design, and also in your outdoor lifestyle. If you are looking for a summer house for a quiet summer evening with a cool drink and to relax after a long day then something light and airy is perfect. Summer houses tend to have much more wall space given over to windows and full length glass panelled doors so that should the weather decide to turn cooler or damp then you can retreat inside, close the doors and still feel as if you are in the garden and not shut in a dark shed! Some summer houses have built in verandas, offering you a space under cover but still outdoors while others have folding doors which can open up the entire front of the building.
Playhouses can be great fun, a good way to get children outside and playing, using their imagination and getting some exercise too. There is a wide choice available, from wooden wigwams to miniature lodges, many of them offering a solution to outdoor storage space for toys, bikes and games too. All inside timber tends to be planed and smoothed to protect from splinters. The exteriors can be painted to suit your garden, or your children’s plans for their own outdoor house!
Once you have decided upon which building you will be having in your garden then preparation of the area is vital, if this is not done properly then the shed will be unstable, may well twist and become weak, which will lead to problems later on, especially with doors and windows. The shed will have to be constructed on a perfectly level surface and not in direct contact with the soil. A solid concrete base, paving slabs or pressure treated bearers –although these are not advisable for larger buildings – are the best solutions for getting the most out of your shed.
Whichever building you choose, from the smallest of storage spaces for your tools to a wonderful summer house to spend your time relaxing in, make sure it’s going to compliment your garden, or become a focal point, not dominate it completely. Maintain it regularly and enjoy it for many years to come!
I’ve been gardening for as long as I can remember, my first earliest memory being planting
seeds in my Grandfather’s prestige flower bed and having a prize lettuce growing there, which he proudly left to show everyone.
Since then, gaining knowledge and experience from both my Grandfather and my Father, I’ve continued to garden, both as a hobby and later on as a professional gardener and landscaper for 12 years. I love all aspects of it, from the design and build, to the planting out of summer borders with plants you’ve either grown from seed or raised from plugs. Unusual varieties always catch my eye and I’m keen to try growing them, even if sometimes it means learning from my mistakes.