When you run out of storage space, build this simple backyard structure.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY MERLE HENKENIUS
Consider the items we suburbanites store in our garden sheds. In addition to the requisite lawnmower, the selection may include a snowblower, leafblower, tiller, wheelbarrow, and miscellaneous lawn-and-garden hand tools. The total value can easily run to several thousand dollars. When you think about it this way, the quality of the shed itself becomes a priority.
Metal shed kits have long been offered at the retail level and site-built wood sheds are available from lumberyards and weekend entrepreneurs; but some of us opt for a third alternative -- constructing a shed from scratch, using conventional house-building materials and methods. With this plan, it's possible to accommodate the shed's size to your personal collection of tools and machinery, and even tailor the trim and siding to match your home. The plan is based on a 7'x9' floor frame with lapped siding. Frankly, the do-it-yourself option will cost more -- for the materials alone -- than purchasing a shed. But in the end, you'll have an attractive, secure building that will outlast just about everything you put in it.
Because garden sheds are considered temporary structures, they're usually not constrained by building codes. Lacking code directives, we chose a treated lumber framework for our base, set over shallow trenches filled with gravel. The gravel provides drainage away from the wood and better accommodates the pitch and heave of the seasons. We also built our own roof trusses; they're easy to build (even if you've never used a framing square or haven't mastered roof geometry) and the small ones seen here are a breeze to install, even when working alone.
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