garden shed, wood garden shed

Need a garden shed?

You can store your garden tools in a corner of the garage or basement if you have one, but it sure is nice to have a garden shed if you can. We know gardeners are a handy bunch who enjoy DIY projects too, so we found a great set of shed plans that detail exactly how to build your own garden shed.

The plans are not the same as our cover picture, but we loved that look. Or, you may prefer more of a cottage look, like this one, which does fit the plans more, as you will see, but of course you can choose whatever exterior you prefer.

Garden shed, shed plans
Lovely garden shed image from Pixabay

However you want to decorate the outside, the basic structure is much the same.

A garden shed is that place dedicated to all things gardening… a place for everything and everything in its place.

These days you can buy ready made garden sheds from your large local home stores like Lowes and Home Depot. You can even buy quality sheds online, including from Amazon. Remarkable, really, that what started out as an online bookstore now sells vegetable garden plants and greenhouses, lawn mowers and ladybugselderberry bushesMeyer lemon trees… and even toilet paper!

But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, aka, DIY-er, and you need a cool garden shed, this “Easy DIY Garden Shed” could be your next weekend project.

One big consideration in building your own garden shed, is whether you’ll have to have it permitted, inspected and approved by the city. A GardensAll fan indicated that in some places it’s far better to buy a pre-built shed than to build one because of all the red tape involved. You can see more on his comments in the Facebook conversation we link at the end of this article.

In a recent conversation on the GardensAll Facebook page, someone mentioned wanting to build a garden shed so they could also capture more rainwater. That’s something on our list to do as well for one of our patches of land without easy water access.

Even if you have water nearby, it’s a great idea to make use of the extra roof footage of your home and garden shed for collecting rainwater for use in dry spells.

Depending on your terrain, that could require an elevated platform for the barrels similar to that depicted in this photo:

storage shed
Garden hut with elevated rain barrels, image from Pixabay

Collecting rainwater has another benefit. If you have a problem area that can flood during rainy season or heavy downpours, to place a storage shed that channels the water into rain barrels can really help. There are other things you can do for areas that tend to flood, such as creating a rain garden as we’ve written about in this article, and you can find an article on rain barrels here.1)https://www.gardensall.com/rain-gardens-for-harvesting-and-directing-rainwater-while-cleaning-the-environment/

Garden Shed plans from MotherEarthNews.com
Garden Shed plans from MotherEarthNews.com

Easy DIY Garden Shed with Plans

by Steve Maxwell on MotherEarthNews.com

Building a garden shed is one of the best ways to create additional storage space. Our garden shed plans are simple and require only basic carpentry skills.

A garden shed can be strictly functional, but it can also be a decorative focal point around which you design your garden or yard. These plans will help you build a basic shed, but don’t stop there! To customize your shed, you could create a combination toolshed and greenhouse, put a martin house on top, or use part of the shed for a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could create a living roof of moss or succulent plants.

Build the Floor

The best spot for a shed is level, well-drained ground close to where you work in your garden or yard. The location doesn’t need to be perfectly flat; the foundation design shown in the plans allows for adjustments to make the floor level. Small sheds require only a top-of-soil foundation, even in locations with freezing winter temperatures. Precast concrete deck blocks work perfectly for this.

To eliminate the need for any kind of floor beams, you’ll need:

  • A deck block at each corner
  • Two more blocks equally spaced along the 8-foot sides
  • One block in the center of each 6-foot side

NOTE: If you expect to store particularly heavy items, consider installing three deck blocks between each corner on the 8-foot walls, instead of two.

Deck blocks include a central pocket sized to fit the standard 4-by-4 vertical posts that typically hold up a deck. In the case of this shed, pressure-treated 4-by-4s function in a similar way, but in short lengths — just enough to compensate for any variation in the shape of the ground (see the plans).

Start by setting deck blocks on the ground, positioned as shown in the plans:

  • Make the ground roughly level where each block will rest
  • Temporarily place some straight 2-by-6 lumber on edge in the top grooves of the blocks to orient the blocks in a straight line
  • Arrange two rows of four blocks parallel to each other to form both long walls
  • Then measure diagonally across the outside corners to determine how square the arrangement is
  • If the two long walls are parallel, and diagonal measurements taken across corners are equal, then each corner is guaranteed to be 90 degrees
  • Finish by placing one deck block in the middle of each 6-foot wall after you have aligned and squared the 8-foot walls
  • Remove the 2-by-6 lumber guides
  • Put a 12-inch length of 4-by-4 lumber into each deck block, positioned vertically in the central recess. These 4-by-4s will be slightly too long right now, but that’s exactly what you want

The 2-by-6s that form the outer perimeter of the floor frame rest on the outside top edge of the deck blocks, tight to the outer faces of the 4-by-4 posts.

  • Use a 4-foot level and an 8-foot 2-by-6 to determine the highest deck block in the group to determine your starting point for installing the floor frame
  • Use a single galvanized 3 1⁄2-inch deck screw to lock the 2-by-6 to the 4-by-4 on the highest deck block
  • Raise the other end of the 2-by-6 so it’s level before locking the other end of the 2-by-6 to its 4-by-4.

The 2-by-6 won’t rest on all the blocks, but should rest on at least one. Continue working all around the floor frame in this manner until all perimeter 2-by-6s are in the same level plane.

  • Trim all excess 4-by-4s flush with the top of the 2-by-6s using a chain saw or reciprocating saw
  • Add 2-by-6 floor joists running between the two 8-foot walls. Make sure each joist fits tightly within the outer edges of the floor frame
  • Fasten the joists to the side of the 4-by-4s with screws
  • Complete the floor frame by driving three 3 1⁄2-inch deck screws per joint
  • Custom-cut spacers out of 1 1⁄2-inch-thick construction lumber to fill the gap between the underside of the 2-by-6s and the top of the deck blocks

You can’t rely on screws alone to hold up the floor frame in the long term. Finish up by:

  • Installing a pressure-treated, five-eighths-inch-thick plywood subfloor on top of the floor frame
  • Secured flooring with 2 1⁄2-inch deck screws driven every 6 to 8 inches.


Frame the Walls

This shed’s walls are built in the same way that the walls of most full-size homes are built. The plans show how 2-by-4 top plates and bottom plates extend horizontally around the perimeter of the building, with vertical studs defining wall surfaces. Notice that the two short walls fit inside the two longer ones, fastened together at the corners with 3 1⁄2-inch deck screws and overlapping top plates.

To build the framing for each wall:

  • Begin by temporarily screwing a 2-by-4 top plate and 2-by-4 bottom plate together face to face
  • Set this pair on its edge on the plywood floor
  • Mark the position of the wall studs on the edges of both of these 2-by-4s, spacing the center of each stud 24 inches apart

Windows:

The plans show detailed layouts for all walls and how to frame door and window openings. However, the plans don’t offer measurements for these openings because this shed is perfect for using scrounged windows and doors, and these can be of any size. You can hinge doors directly onto the rough frame of the shed, but attaching windows will work a little differently.

A salvaged wooden sash can be fixed permanently into the shed frame, but beware: Fixed windows such as these attract and trap flies, making a buzzing, dirty mess. I suggest using another type of window. If you do, you’ll need to create a rough window frame opening large enough to accommodate the entire window unit, with an extra half-inch clearance on the sides, top and bottom for adjustment.

  • Separate the 2-by-4 plates
  • Space them about 8 feet apart on the floor
  • Nail 92 1⁄2-inch-long studs between them.
  • Immediately after you’ve built one long wall, get some help to tilt it upright
  • Use 4-inch deck screws to fasten the bottom wall plate to the floor, positioning the screws so they sink into the edge of the 2-by-6 floor frame
  • Assemble and raise the other walls, adjust them so they’re plumb in the corners
  • Fasten these walls with deck screws
  • Add a second layer of wall plates on top of the first, overlapping across the corners.
  • Complete the walls by covering the frame with sheathing.

Exterior-grade plywood siding is an easy, inexpensive choice. It includes vertical grooves for decoration and accepts any kind of paint or stain. Regardless of what you use, don’t wrestle with the complication of cutting window openings before adding sheathing. Instead, apply sheathing to the walls from the outside, covering them completely, then cut the window and door openings afterward, following the framed openings from inside using a chain saw or reciprocating saw.

Here’s the garden shed plan from Mother Earth News.2)http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/garden-yard/~/media/D7F5C2B96E99498494885A775A1A2002.ashx

If you need more details, you can visit the source of this article on MotherEarthNews.com.3)http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/garden-shed-plans-zm0z11zgri.aspx#axzz39Rlo0RD2

Buy or Build? Which is Most Cost Effective?

To give you an idea of costs versus your time spent building a shed, here are some ready made shed costs:
For a 32 square foot shed with double doors and two fixed windows at 102.5 x 88.5 x 47.75 inches it’s around $600 on Amazon. That’s $18.75 per square foot cost.

For a 109 square foot shed with double doors and two fixed windows at 90″ W x 174″ D x 70-94″ H, costs around $1,700 on Amazon. That’s $15.60 per square foot cost.

So sharpen your pencil and see which way you’ll come out best for your circumstance.

QUICK TIP:

The larger home stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot can help make your job much easier and save you loads of time. You can submit your materials list to your local home store, and they can:

  • Tally up your costs
  • Pull your shopping list and have it ready for you to pick up

There’s no question that a DIY shed will be sturdier, last longer, hold up better to wear and tear and likely look better. We love the look of this shed in the cover image, or the idea of matching your shed paint and trim to that of your home.

Now you just need to ascertain the value of your time plus the materials needed, included time to paint or stain and the cost of that. Then compare your interest, ability and tools on hand versus what you’d need to buy, with the costs versus time scenario and take it from there.


Please let us know what you do… and post your shed pictures on the Gardens All Facebook page if you build one (or already have one that you built). And, if you want to join this specific conversation on GardensAll Facebook page, as well as learn what one GardensAll Facebook community member had to say about the building versus buying, and why building may end up costing a lot more, depending on where you live, you can find that here.

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