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Garden Shed, Part 1 of 4

Here it is… our garden shed built from the ground up!  We still have to build an arbor over each door, a few window boxes, add some more interior shelving, and cut the last few brick pavers to fit.  Other than those small items, we have a completely functioning storage/garden shed and greenhouse.

I’ve mentioned before I’m a research queen.  Those skills came in handy for this particular project!  It was months in the making to be sure we built a shed that was up to code and made to last.  I’ll take you through our (arduous at times) process and give you some helpful hints and tips along the way that’ll assist you in your shed project.  Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding project.  We came out of this gaining valuable skills and feeling confident enough to tackle even larger scale projects such as a bathroom or kitchen.

We live in a wonderful community built of 1950’s Ranch style homes, large lots, community parks and pools.  With this comes a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s).  In my opinion, ours aren’t too restrictive and do allow for a lot of freedom.  My first task was to read the CC&R’s and check with our city on required permits, etc.  I discovered the following (in layman’s terms):

  • The lot could only have a certain percentage of ‘structural buildings’ on it in relation to the size of the lot.  For example, 50% of the lot had to be land only.
  • The height could not be taller than the house.
  • It had to be a certain distance away from the lot line.
  • To be sure we were following all the guidelines, it was suggested to turn in an informal blueprint of the outbuilding.
  • According to the city, outbuildings less than 125 sf (with no electrical and plumbing) didn’t need a permit.

As a good measure, we also added a requirement, “Check with the neighbors to be sure they don’t feel it’s an eyesore.”  It is a neighborhood with five feet tall friendly neighbor fences and our shed was definitely going to be taller than that.

With initial research under way, the hubby and I sat down to make a list of everything we wanted in the garden shed:

  • enclosed storage for the garden tools
  • a shed that can also act as a greenhouse for seed starting and keeping herbs, like basil, growing through the winter
  • an area for potting
  • storage for all things plant related (pots, seeds, organic fertilizer and compost, stakes, twine, tomato cages, gloves, etc.)
  • a cleaning area for the garden fruits and veggies

Next, we did some reading on considerations for and planning a garden shed.

We also went to our local library to check out some books.  Honestly, I think we checked out 15-20 different books.  Of those, we found 3 or 4 to be useful.  One being this, Building A Shed.  Unfortunately, we can’t remember the others.  However, here’s a couple we do remember looking through for inspiration:

Additionally, here are some inspiration images (all from Family Home Plans , Cool House Plans & Better Homes and Gardens) that got my juices flowing.  I knew I wanted lots of windows, a light and airy feel, and possibly an overhang.

And then I found this beauty from Teresa over at Meadowbrook Blog

It has a light and airy feel; I love the roof and the arbor overhang; the windows are adorable; it has the board and batten siding I plan to incorporate because it matches the front of our house.  I could go on and on! Teresa’s greenhouse was a perfect example for our project!

I emailed Teresa, first to let her know how much I loved her greenhouse, and second, to ask about the roofing material used and other miscellaneous questions.  She was very sweet to respond and wished me luck on my journey.  Her responses then led me to research the best twinwall polycarbonate roofing option for our area.  I found this local company and spoke with an incredibly helpful gentleman who recommended a solar controlled 8mm twinwall polycarbonate.  It’s clear on one side and opaque on the other.  The opaque side has an additive that makes it UV protected.  It lets the light in but keeps the heat out which reduces the temperature fluxuation.  A great option when you’re looking to start seeds and grow delicate herbs in winter.

In regard to other building considerations, we had already chosen the shed location (there weren’t too many options in our yard); and I wanted a brick type flooring which eliminated a few types of framing foundations.  In the end, we decided to go with pier blocks for three reasons:  our California climate; a ‘wet’ garden shed (we’d be watering in it); and type of flooring.

Well, I’ve managed to get most of the boring but oh so important details out of the way.  The next three posts will be more fun with lots of building and accessory pictures!

Have a great day!



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