Preparation for a Shed

garden shedHaving a shed in the UK is like a rite of passage for a young man. It seems that regardless of its use, a shed is an important part of finally owning your own home. It is a place to retreat to when the kids are being noisy; somewhere to hide all of your boy's toys; somewhere for you and your mates to hang out or it could be simply a place to keep your garden equipment. Although this final option is by far the most boring!

What ever the purpose of building a shed, surely the actual erection is the first part of your steps into manhood. So how do you go about it and what steps should you take to ensure that the council aren't knocking on your door to ask you to pull down your work of art?

Planning

Before you even get out the brochures and pick you favourite shed you need to consider the size and whether planning permission will be required. To be honest, for most small sheds, planning will not be an issue. But these days, sheds can come in many sizes and can be used for many different reasons, so always follow planning guidelines.

  • Provided your shed is not a permanent structure, planning is not likely to be required
  • If you live in a conservation area or own a listed building, you should ask your planning department. They may require that you site your building in a certain area of your garden to minimise the view from the road and the effect on the house.
  • A shed should not take up more than half of a garden.
  • The apex of the shed roof should not be more than 4 metres high.
  • Your shed should be at least 50ft from the nearest road and at least 1m away from your garden boundary.

Don't forget to tell your neighbours about your plans as their reaction will be taken into account if the planning department get involved.

Where to put your shed

  • This all depends on the use of your shed. If it is going to be a place to hang out and soak up the rays; then you will need to position it so it catches the sun for most of the day.
  • If you will be using it for garden storage, then placing it near to your vegetable patch might make sense. You may want it to be close to running water if you are a keen gardener.
  • Remember that you might want to use your shed in the winter and that the muddiest part of your garden might not be a great idea.
  • Overhanging trees will mean that your shed will simply catch all the leaves on its roof. This will mean having to clean them off and will affect the longevity of the roof felt.

The best base

A garden shed cannot be simply plonked onto the grass, as before you know it, it will be a very shaky structure indeed. Subsidence doesn't just affect houses!

  • A concrete base is the best thing to place your shed on. This will involve digging out the ground and creating a boxed-in area. The ground should be levelled carefully before the concrete is poured in.
  • Paving slabs are also a good option for a lightweight shed, or if you think you might want to move it in the future. Once again ensure the ground is perfectly level before building your shed.
  • Some sheds can be placed onto timber bearers as long as they are treated and will not rot. The ground needs to be level and cleared of weeds.

Finally, buy the best shed you can afford. This is something you will use for years and will add value to your home. All sheds will come with instructions on how to erect it and for most reasonably competent DIYers, it will be an easy process to put up. However if the thought puts your off, then a local handyman should be able to do it for you.

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