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Article © 2007 David J Murray

Garden sheds are by a long way the most popular garden buildings. The shed occupies an unrivalled place in the story of the garden. They are built for many reasons, not only to keep gardening tools and supplies neatly organized but also to store equipment, bikes, toys and the bits and pieces of life. They have uses both related to the garden itself and as an extension of the house. What's more, they're very easy to build yourself.

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A shed can be designed to be both practical and attractive to look at. It can add character to your garden. A shed can even be used as a focal point, with other elements of the garden design shaped around around it. A wooden shed especially can either blend into the background or stand out as a feature in its own right. It can act as a support structure for tall plants or climbers such as vines.

There is no one perfect design of garden shed ideal for all purposes. You need to ask what size and configuration is right for you. What will you be doing in your shed? They can be designed to provide extra storage space and at the same time give somewhere to relax, to engage in a hobby, to double up as a potting shed, or even to function as a supplement to the greenhouse.

Garden sheds come in a great variety of materials, styles, sizes and prices. A 10-foot wide by 12-foot deep storage shed is a popular size. You can place shelves, cupboards and a workbench in this space. Pre-constructed storage sheds are readily available at home and garden centers in a variety of styles and sizes. Wooden sheds can be elegant but they are more prone to rot away in adverse weather conditions than those made of metal or plastic materials. It is important that the wooden shed should not be in direct contact with the earth so as to avoid the wood rotting, and you will also want to treat your wooden shed with paint or wood preservative to prevent deterioration.

If you're an enthusiastic gardener you may want to use the shed for potting, especially in areas where there is a great deal of rainfall and you need somewhere to work with your seed trays, seedlings, pots, etc, when it is raining outside. Some gardeners like a built-in potting bench. An alternative, though, is a wheeled bench which enables you to work outside when the weather is suitable. If you're going to use your garden shed for potting you'll also need space for containers to hold composts and other bulky materials. And remember, if you have to move bulky equipment such as the lawn mower, wheelbarrow, rotavator, etc, in order to get to your potting bench you'll soon come to regret not making adequate allowance for the space they take. I've had that experience, and am currently constructing a separate shelter for these large items of garden equipment.

An important aspect of garden shed design in many areas is security. Garden sheds are very popular targets with burglars and are often forgotten when home security is being planned. Unless you live in an area where theft is never a problem, you should not store expensive items in the shed. Most are not designed for secure storage. However, if you have little alternative, there are things you can do to protect your property. Keep your shed structure in good condition, especially the door. Fit a strong padlock. You might even consider lining the door, or the area around the lock fittings, with a panel of sheet steel. Fitting a security light near the shed can also increase security, especially one of the type that switches on when movement is detected. You could have a gravel path to the door so as to prevent a silent approach.

Garden sheds are not difficult to build, or to put together from ready-constructed sections, and apart from their functionality the pleasure gained from them can be great. The garden shed is one of the traditional refuges from the pressures of life; and even more, has the potential to become both the location and the vehicle for your creative expression.

The above article is by David Murray. Check the Amazon boxes below for additional useful reading.

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