urban homestead

Long weekend projects and garden shed plans

It’s the start of a long weekend here in Canada, and that means 2 things: visiting (eating) with family and getting yard projects crossed off the list. Yay!

Previous projects have included a fire pit, a chicken coop, compost bins, our raised beds and installing rain barrels. Removing a wind-fallen tree was not a planned project, but we got it crossed off the list nonetheless.

It seems like we’ve gotten all the easy tasks out of the way, and so the next ones are going to require a little more planning: a new back deck or a garden shed.  This weekend, we’re probably going to tackle the planning of the garden shed.

garden tools and produce

Because our house is slab-on-grade construction, we don’t have a basement to store junk stuff in, which was a major concern of mine at the time we bought the house. We do have a large closet upstairs and a laundry room with lots of cupboards, but they’re not really enough for all our storage needs (yes, maybe we have too much stuff).

But seriously, am I really going to put our car’s winter tires under my suit jackets?  And where should we put bikes, dozens of garden tools, syrup buckets, wheel barrows and unused chicken feed?  Currently, all these things are competing for space in our teeny outdoor shed.

It gets reorganized every 6 months or so, but each time, we always seem to say, “we need a bigger shed”. Ours is about 6′ x 7′, and has stuff stacked on average 3 levels high and deep.

According to municipal regulations, we’re allowed only one shed, and it has a fairly generous 150 square foot max size.  I’m allowed to build a garage as well, with a maximum size of 600 square feet, but I honestly don’t see that one happening any time soon.

Fresh garden produce

Now, I’ve seen various prefabbed, click-together plastic models at home renovation centers, and maybe it’s just me, but that seems like an awful lot of money for another plastic shell. We’re looking for something a little…prettier? Bigger?

I’d like to make one myself, but the same problems always crop up.  Time and money.  No time, and I don’t want to spend a fortune on – a shed. Aimee has expressed that she’d like to use reclaimed wood for the project; what all does that entail? I’m not entirely sure.

And so instead of showing you what we’ve done here on our homestead, I’m reaching out to you, readers. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Do you have an outdoor shed? What do you use it for? Do you have any recommendations on pre-fab vs. DIY? How much space does one really need?

About Danny

Danny Bourque is a mechanical engineer who is known at both home and work as either “the geek” or “the numbers guy”. He is very methodical and genuinely loves to analyze almost anything that piques his interest – including food.

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Comments

  1. Hello – We do not have a shed but rather a garage-a-la-shed at the back of our property. We live in an old part of our city, so driveways are along the insides of the blocks. Our garage was built on a slab and was a first project by our home’s previous owner’s son, then an architectural student, so pretty basic with recycled windows and doors. Not quite helpful to your quest… but I did have an idea: I grew up in the Ottawa Valley, and quite often, farmers would sell existing buildings such as granaries and other outmoded ancillary sheds, etc. These were sometimes really solid log buildings that had stood the test of time, salvaged well, and gave that reclaimed, weathered look in their new locations! Even some of those old barn boards, windows, and doors can be quite nicely reused over a new (or new-ish) pressure-treated lumber frame. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. We have a shed that was here when we moved in. It’s prefab, but wood, not plastic. I will say one thing for plastic – it doesn’t rot or become groundhog chewing fodder, both of which our wooden shed has done.

    It’s fairly big – 12×14, I’d guess. But the inside floors have started to rot too (just plywood), so I always feel a bit unsteady walking in it. It’s raised off the ground since it’s slotted into the side of the hill we live on, which is part of the problem.

    If we were putting one in ourselves? I think I would go with plastic. Much as I don’t love the look of it, the long term cost savings on roofing (we had to have ours redone when we got the house re-roofed. Otherwise they’d have been completely different colors), the rot from wetness and animals, just make it too attractive.

    In terms of the inside of the shed, I suggest lots and lots of shelves, plus Amish style pegs for hanging tools like shovels handily. We do have the pegs, but not the shelves. There is a built in work bench, but this has become a landing spot for junk that doesn’t have a home, rather than a work bench. I think I’d much rather keep a folding table handy in the shed to pull out of the shed, where there’s more light, and use that as a workbench. But if you do put a workbench inside, make sure you light it well! Nothing worse than standing in our dingy shed with one light bulb, trying to do something useful.
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  3. The house we recently bought came with a fairly new shed. It is pre fab but all wood with a nice siding and double doors (great for rolling in larger items) but I could have used a larger one. It is built on a raised wooden frame with a slight ramp to the door, keeping it slightly elevated. And it’s perfect for tools, tires, gardening gear etc. we have another storage shed in our carport that houses items we don’t need to access as frequently- camping and fishing gear, pet crates etc. we are grateful that we had the shed here when we moved and it looks relatively easy to assemble. It’s just good I wasn’t waiting for my husband to do it. :)

  4. There’s an Amish community just south of the border. They sell new wood at a fraction of what it costs here. Apparently you can go there and back in a day and the savings still make the trip worthwhile.
    Alternately, there’s a place in Ile Bizard that sells wood sheds already made. Good for time, not sure about cost.

  5. What about using wood from old pallets? I’ve seen all sorts of indoor furnishing uses of pallet wood, but I bet it would give a cool textural, rustic look to the shed – as siding, of course, not for the structural supports, etc.

    I don’t care whose house you go to, everyone always needs more storage!

  6. If you are allowed only one shed, make it as big as you are allowed by municipal regulations. Make as many shelves as possible for easy access and organization. Wall and ceiling hooks are handy for seasonal gear such as Kids bikes and sleds. Think all season decor, summer lawn furniture and tools, shovels etc.

    Choose building material that will last in your weather conditions. Our shed has vinyl siding and a metal sheet roof. It takes snow load and we have never (20 years) had to do any repairs or upkeep (except to plug a few squirrel holes to prevent them access to our lawn chair cushions).

  7. Like your idea of re-organizing every 6 months. Keeps the clutter down but I agree that if your going to build a shed, make it as large as you can. Great post! Thanks
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  8. I just read your blog and enjoy to content.Actually i am a shed plan maker and find lot of idea for my project.I will bookmark you site and visit again.Interesting topic and good idea.Thank you
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