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Seven Steps to Building a Garden Shed

If your garage is cluttered with yard tools, camping gear, luggage, and things you don't use very often, a storage shed or garden shed will give you back the use of a lot of space. You can go to the big box store and buy a shed or shed kit in plastic, wood, or metal, but if you have fairly good carpentry skills, you can build your own shed from scratch. Here's how.

  1. Plan your project. Determine the size of shed you want, keeping in mind both current and future storage needs. Then get a plan for the size and style of shed you want. Research books on the subject (available in bookstores or the library) or do your research on the Internet. Pick a plan that meets your requirements and is not beyond your capabilities to build. Choose a location for your garden shed and check with your local building department to make sure you don't violate any zoning or building permit laws.
  2. Purchase your materials. The plan you have chosen should have a comprehensive list of materials needed: lumber, roofing materials, etc. Don't forget nails, door hardware, caulking material, and paint.
  3. Don't build without a foundation. Pour a concrete slab foundation a few inches larger in length and width than the shed's dimensions. Either have the concrete delivered or rent a mixer and do it yourself. Also consider a concrete walkway to the shed so you can access it in inclement weather.
  4. Measure twice, cut once. Following the plans, cut your lumber to the sizes needed, observing safety precautions when using a power saw.
  5. Do your framing. Begin with the floor, then the walls, and finally the roof. Make sure everything is square and plumb.
  6. Do the roofing with tarpaper and shingles. Make sure you caulk all the joints between the roof and wall framing as well as all corner and floor joints. A watertight shed will keep all your possessions dry.
  7. Paint it. Finish your shed off with a primer and then a finish coat of good quality exterior paint. Doing the job right the first time will minimize the need for frequent repainting.

Once your garden shed is complete, you need to determine how to store your possessions in it. If the plan you chose doesn't include interior shelving, you might want to consider adding that to the shed. Make sure that items you will use more frequently (garden tools, camping gear, etc.) are easily accessible.