A garden shed is no longer just a garden shed. They’re useful commodities used for much more than merely storing the kid’s bikes and the barbecue over winter – of course, they can still be used solely for over-winter storage if that’s what you’re looking for. However, nowadays people opt for outdoor offices, summerhouses, man caves, kid’s playrooms and even bars at the bottom of the garden – yes, really. So, with so many options available, we’ve put together this handy guide answering all of the most commonly asked questions to help with your build.
What will the shed or outhouse be used for?
The first thing to consider is what you wish to use your shed for. If it’s going to be a simple storage area, then positioning and size are likely to be your only real considerations. However, if you’re hoping to create an airy outside office or summerhouse, then water, electricity and gas supplies should all be considered, along with proper weather-proofing and maybe even planning permission.
Do you need planning permission for your garden building?
Generally, you shouldn’t need planning permission when adding a shed to your garden as it is considered an outbuilding. However, as always, there are restrictions. The height of a shed is limited to 4m and it should be at least 2.5m away from your house. A shed is also restricted to a single storey and shouldn’t take up more than half the garden.
If you’re looking to build a posh, two storey office space, or outside den for the kids then planning permission could be necessary so be sure take a look at the government’s planning portal if you’re unsure.
What’s the right shed base
There are loads of shed base options out there and it can be really difficult to know which is going to be the right one for you. Wooden bases are popular because they’re the most well-known and, compared to paving slabs or a concrete base that require professional installation, they’re pretty easy to install too. However, there is a better option on the market, one that’s taking the industry by storm. Eco-friendly, plastic shed bases are made from 100% recycled plastic which is sourced right here in the UK. This makes each panel lightweight and therefore easy to manoeuvre, assemble and install – most people can lay and secure 100m² of plastic base panels in just one hour.
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As well as being lightweight, their composition and structure means they’re also one of the strongest (load bearing capacity of up to 420 tonnes), most durable and also resilient bases available. They’re cost effective too, often working out cheaper than popular alternatives.
Where will you place the shed in the garden?
First off, remember that your shed should be constructed at least 2.5m away from your main home. After that, it’s really up to you. All sheds should be positioned on flat land (putting your base and shed on uneven land can cause bowing and even collapse), and we’d also recommend avoiding trees and shrubs etc. Although this isn’t essential, remember that
tree roots can grow a long distance from the base of the tree and could easily emerge or unsettle the ground by our shed causing issues in the future. If you position your shed underneath a tree then you need to be cautious of its branches causing damage, especially in blustery weather. If you’re sticking with a felt roof then just be aware that having branches above could be costly as they can easily rip the surface.
Avoid placing your shed directly against a fence or wall as this prevents the wood from breathing and as air circulation is essential to the long-life of wood, this is likely to cause a problem with damp in the future. The same applies to the path running up to your shed, if possible, a gravel or paved path is much more beneficial that a soggy walk down the garden. Traipsing wet leaves, grass and mud into your shed on a regular basis is an invitation for damp as well.
You should also think about what you’ll be using your shed for at this point. If your intention is to have running water, electricity and maybe even gas, then it’ll need to be within easy access of the mains lines.
What material should the shed be made of ?
Most people opt for a wooden shed or summerhouse because it’s aesthetically pleasing and fits well with the image of most gardens. However, as wood is prone to damp and rot, it’s essential to treat it properly before you begin.
Weatherproofing a shed is essential and remember not to forget the roof. Also remember that this needs to be maintained regularly if you want your shed to have a long life.
Choosing the right base will also have a big impact on your shed’s survival. Wooden bases for example, just like sheds, are prone to rot and damp, whereas plastic bases are water and chemical resistant and also allow the base of your shed to breathe thanks to their cellular structure which maintains air and water flow.
Does my shed need electricity?
Whether or not your shed needs electricity will depend entirely on your intended use. If this is merely a storage area then the windows that come as standard with most shed kits should provide enough lighting for your needs. However, if you intend for your shed to be an entertaining area, office or bar etc. then a connection to the mains electricity will be essential. If you do opt to connect your shed to the mains electricity, it’s essential to make sure that you employ the services of a properly competent electrician and that all regulations are complied with.
This is something that should be considered when positioning your shed, because your intentions here, will have a huge impact on your shed’s position.
Will my insurance cover my shed/garden building?
This depends entirely on your insurer so be sure to check your policy before building. You need to make sure that your insurance not only covers the shed itself, but also its contents too, especially if you’re intent on filling it with expensive office equipment.
You should also consider fire protection too – sheds are made from wood, after all – and also ensure that any electricians, gas engineers etc. are fully certified, in order to ensure full cover on your insurance.
Outdoor buildings and contents cover is offered by the majority of insurance companies; you may even be able to add it onto your existing home policy so it’s certainly worth giving your current insurer a call to check before taking out another policy.
Fergus As a UK manufacturer, The Shed Base Company’s mission is to become the UK’s leading supplier of shed bases made from recycled plastic for use in all types of garden buildings. Since 2013 we have provided over 6000 plastic shed bases to our customers across the UK and is quickly becoming the number one choice for Eco-Friendly shed bases.