How to Build a Beautiful Garden Shed on Your Own and Save Money


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I love do-it-yourself (or DIY) projects. Especially wood-inspired DIY projects. There is something about the smell of the wood and the satisfaction of actually seeing your progress, and then being able to enjoy whatever you’ve built afterwards. Though a DIY Wood Shed is a little ambitious for me, it is a great project for the avid DIY-er and, who knows, maybe it will inspire you to build something afterwards, like your own tiny home or log house!

In the Fall of 2002, a gentleman named Sean decided to construct his own 18’x12’ garden shed in the style of the classic American chicken coop, complete with clerestory windows. By the Fall of 2003, Sean’s wooden shed was completed (sans chickens). Sean’s shed was a complete DIY project – that is, his method of building was without the aid of experts or other professionals. DIY is described as a behaviour where “individuals engage raw or semi-raw materials and component parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment (e.g. landscaping)”. DIY behaviour is often triggered by various motivations, including economic benefit, lack of product availability or quality, or the need for customization. The term “do-it-yourself” has been associated with consumers since at least 1912, primarily in the domain of home improvement and maintenance activities, and by the 1950’s the term had come into common use.

So, Sean’s DIY Wood Shed appears to be much more planned than my typical DIY project, where I usually start out of boredom rather than necessity, without any real plan or focus until part-way through, once I realize I don’t have everything I need to do whatever it is I want to do… and then I give up. Sean actually drew all of the plans up in TurboCad (as a result, the detail and accuracy helped during the construction phase of his project). After the initial plan and design phase, Sean had to prep the site for his DIY Wood Shed (a couple of small trees had to come down and some excavation was required to prepare the land for the Wood Shed’s foundation). The most important part of Sean’s DIY construction project, however, was surveying the foundation in order to make sure everything was perfectly square. Without a perfectly square foundation, no matter your DIY project, it isn’t going to finish square (which will create problems and frustrations throughout the entire project).

After all of the initial preparations, Sean was ready to build his DIY Wood Shed, starting from the ground, or floor, up. Floor framing, wall framing, beam installation, rafter installation and then onto the roof and wall sheeting. Next were the door and windows installation and the addition of fascia, trim and roof shingles. (It almost sounds easy, doesn’t it?) The windows Sean installed were of the clerestory type, which is basically a window set in a roof structure or high in a wall, used mainly for daylighting (the practice of placing windows and reflective surfaces so that during the day natural light provides effective internal lighting), while the doors were simple and basic, built from plywood and Cedar 1x4’s, to provide that real “barn yard” look.

Sean’s little chicken coop inspired Wood Shed is a great DIY project for anyone with any knowledge of basic construction principles. And after tackling a project like this, you might want to ask yourself if you would be interested in downsizing and simplifying, maybe turning to a tiny home or a beautiful, rustic log house as your next DIY project!


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