Designing and building a bike shed

Our lovely, yet neglected, Victorian house came with many issues. Damp, shoddy plumbing and woodchip wallpaper to name a few. However, one of the more frustrating issues is that the house doesn’t really have any storage. Well, we do have some storage, like the odd cupboard, but we don’t have a shed, a garage or any loft space available.

We store the small collection of Christmas decorations we have in the eves in one of our rooms, but the real problem is all of the things that should live in a shed or garage are currently residing in our study.

Namely, I’m talking about Roy’s bike, his tools and the DIY bits and bobs we’ve gathered over the last year and a half.

The solution? Let’s build a shed!

Now, the many people we excitedly told that we were building a shed were very much of the “why not just get one from B&Q?” Or “why not just get another one of those Keter boxes?” (We use the Keter Max to store garden paraphernalia.) While I do like Keter boxes, and have just bought a smaller one in which to store the chicken stuff in, they didn’t really have what we needed.

We weren’t helping matters by wanting the shed that wouldn’t actually be in the garden – we needed quite a slim shed that could fit down the side of the house.

Designing the shed

I have to say, Roy was solely responsible for this. It was his time to shine, despite having no real joinery experience. But what he didn’t have in joinery experience, he made up for with digital know-how. You can check out the 3D model below.

The shed was designed using Sketchup – a free piece of software which lets you design structures of all shapes and sizes in 3D.

After doing the maths, we worked out it was cheaper to go to a local timber supplier than to B&Q or Wickes. This was partly due to the fact that I only have a tiny Ford Ka, which can barely handle a skip trip, let alone enough wood to build a shed. And my other half has an even smaller car – a highly impractical two-seater Mazda MX5. Sigh…

Thankfully, our local supplier delivered (for free, unlike B&Q and Wickes!) and the wood arrived within a few days.

Building the shed

Once the shed was designed and the timber bought, there were 10 main steps for building the shed.

Note: this is a very abbreviated list of tasks needed to actually build a shed. There are some excellent thorough tutorials out there which can provide plans and step-by-step walkthroughs. For such adventures, I would recommend Mathias Wandel’s Wood Gears.

For our first foray in shed building, these are the steps we took:

  1. Build the walls
  2. Build the base
  3. Attach walls to base in order to build the doors (detach doors once built)
  4. Build roof
  5. Clad the frame with treated panelling
  6. Felt the roof
  7. Paint the timber (I used Cuprinol’s ‘Seagrass’ shade – two coats did the trick)
  8. Attach fittings such as hinges, locks and handles
  9. Prepare foundations – we used builders sand and six concrete slabs we had lying around
  10. Move shed into position

It all went together smooth-ish. Like any DIY project we’ve done before now, we always seem to underestimate how much material we’ll need. Whether it was screws, nails, wood or felt we needed more of it. This is problematic because not only does it waste time having to go back and forth to the timber yard and B&Q, but due to our poor automobile choices we had to borrow other people’s more sensible cars.

So that’s the bike shed! I know this wasn’t really a gardening-focused post, but it felt like a big step in the garden. Not only was it our first proper outdoor storage (finally the ladders and old paint tins are out of the house!) but it was also our first proper foray into building structures. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think Roy’s hooked. Hopefully, he’ll be up for building me a pergola when the time comes!

The next post I want to write is about our second shed. Yes, sheds seem to be like buses in our household. They’ve all arrived at once – next week is less about building and designing a shed and more about restoring a second hand shed.

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