Build An Heirloom Garden Shed
Anything but typical, this handsome outbuilding can be built by one person in about a week
Synopsis: A backyard shed is a handy repository for all manner of tools and implements for gardening and lawn care. While most of these structures are utilitarian buildings, they don’t have to be. In this article, FHB Project House editor Justin Fink shows how to build an attractive, stylish garden shed that would be a showpiece for any backyard.
The shed starts with a basic floor that rests on concrete blocks upon pads of compacted gravel. (If your site isn’t adequately level, you will need to do preliminary site work or consider poured-concrete piers.) After the floor framing is complete and secured, the walls go up. The wall assembly consists of 4×4 top and bottom plates, 4×6 corner posts, and 4×4 wall posts. Next comes the roof; while the roof is more of a challenge than the floor and walls, a handy layout jig (instructions included) makes the work easier. With the basic framing complete, the roof trim goes on, followed by the roofing. Half of the roof is covered with cedar shingles, while the other half is covered with clear polycarbonate panels to maximize incoming sunlight. After the roof is complete, install the door, the windows, and the sill. To complete the shed, install the trim and siding.
Sheds are popular doit-yourself projects. They’re quick to build, and they offer a taste of everything from framing to finish. Not surprisingly, there’s no shortage of information on building sheds, and a lot of it uses a predictable list of materials: 2x4s, panel siding, tiny windows, and asphalt shingles. When our colleagues at Fine Gardening asked us to design and build a shed for them, however, we decided to make something a bit different. We wanted to give our project the kind of classic feel you get from a timber-frame outbuilding, but without the expensive materials and required skill. We ended up designing the structure with pressure-treated 4×4 lumber as sort of a hybrid timber frame. Wanting to let that style influence the rest of the project as well, we chose a solidplank floor rather than one made of plywood or osB, and wood clapboards and boardand- batten siding rather than t-111 panel siding. Instead of
asphalt shingles, we chose cedar shingles for one side of the roof and polycarbonate panels to let light in on the other side.
Our shed took longer to make than a standard outbuilding, but the payoff was worth the effort.
- Videos: Watch the free companion video series
- 3-D Model: Download the free SketchUp digital model (Free SketchUp software is required for viewing)
- Rafter Jig: Print and use this jig to cut the rafter tails