Sheds are a beautiful yet practical addition to any backyard. By offering a simple and easy way to expand your storage space, they allow many homes to handle more than would necessarily be expected. Even better, they can be customized and designed to suit your needs and aesthetic: if you’re going for the farmhouse feel, paint it red and white; if you just need a safe place to store your gardening tools and outdoor equipment, include lots of shelving.
Although prefabricated sheds certainly exist (and The Rock Father™ has built them), they are rigid in design and style. If you’ve got handyman history and know your way around a tool belt, why not give it a go yourself? The following tips will help you build the backyard shed of your dreams.
- Plan It Out: The easiest way to get lost in a project is to try to keep it all together in your head. If you don’t write down your planned design, you’ll end up forgetting vital materials (like wood and screws) or buying things you won’t end up using. Take the time to clearly outline your expectations; how big is your shed going to be, are you including siding and insulation, etc. Don’t neglect to account for 25% extra storage space for future needs.
- Gather Materials: The complexity of your design determines how many –and what type of — materials are required. You’ll need to use a combination of nails and screws to ensure the joints are tight and secure; if you don’t own a power drill, we’d recommend investing in one to make the process much faster. Standardized screw threads didn’t exist until 1928, so imagine how frustrating it would’ve been to build a structure with screws that varied in size and shape because they were handmade!
- Clear A Path: Picking your shed location should have been one of the first things you did, now it’s time to prepare the area. Remove any brush, plant life, or yard ornaments that may be nearby, giving the space a wide berth — remember, you’re going to be stomping in and around the area a lot in the coming days and you don’t want anything to trip you. This is an excellent way to get the whole family (especially younger children) involved in the project; while mom or dad is cutting two-by-fours, the kids can help make sure the ground is open and even.
- Foundation Matters: In all buildings, the source of strength and stability lies in the foundation. When it comes to a backyard shed, you can’t go wrong with cement. The material is durable, lasts for centuries (and actually gets stronger as time passes), and is extremely affordable.
Depending on your previous handyman experience, you might be interested in adding a few extra features. In mid-January, a photo album of lauded author Jane Austen’s family was discovered when someone dug it out of storage and popped it up on eBay; if you want your shed to be suitable for storing family photos and archives, you’re going to need to make sure that it is completely sealed. For example, the relative humidity must be below 65% in order to protect old documents from molding, and against insect activity. If you have the know-how needed to waterproof your shed (and are okay with the extra work it requires), the added effort will allow your shed to be used for any occasion.
Although the natural wood look is very popular these days, sometimes the best way to express yourself — or to get your family involved in the complex construction process — is to paint! Gather everyone together for a little painting party as the final step to your DIY shed, and then simply enjoy the extra space.