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DIY Shed

Wooden Sheds – How to build a portable base for your garden shed?

A wooden base for a garden shed

Sometimes your garden shed is just a temporary structure and you need to have an option of moving it easily. This is where a wooden base for your shed becomes the best option.

The base, once constructed,  is fastened into the ground (i.e. grass or soft soil) with metal posts. A wooden base is not suitable for every shed and every ground condition. It is best suited to smaller sheds, as the wooden base does not have the same weight bearing capabilities as a concrete base.

A wooden base would not be suited to conditions where the ground is wet, soft  or very uneven. If the ground is wet, the base will rot quickly and your shed may collapse. For wet, uneven or soft ground, concrete pillars or concrete slab are  a much better option.

Portable shed base kits

Waltons offers a portable shed base kit – Portabase. The base is available in a variety of sizes, from 6′ x 4′  to 10′ x 8′.  The Portabase is made of pressure treated timbers .  The Portabase provides inexpensive, hassle free and incredibly easy to assemble shed base solution. Just watch the video below.


How to prepare the ground and build concrete foundations for your garden shed

A combination of brick and concrete foundations provides the best base for your garden shed. Concrete foundations ensure that your shed is stable, level, less prone to insect infestation and most important – dry.

Unfortunately, concrete foundations are also the most expensive option, they take much longer to build than a wooden base (concrete takes 7 days to cure) and they require some skill, especially with ground preparation and levelling.

Concrete foundations are ideal for any size and any type of shed, whether it is wooden, metal or plastic, providing the ground in your chosen spot is reasonably firm, drains at least moderatly well and is not prone to flooding.

You must also be reasonably sure of your chosen spot. A concrete slab, once build, cannot be moved to another location. You will have to use reasonable force to break it up and remove it or you will end up with an unsightly concrete patch on your lawn.

Preparing the ground and laying concrete foundations for your garden shed

I have found an excellent video guide prepared by Lafarge Cement. While Lafarge DIY cement is a very good brand of cement that you can certainly use on this project, but you can use any other brand you have.  Just prepare the cement mixture according to the quantities and mixing instructions on the packet and you are good to go.

Outline for base, brick wall enclosing concrete floor/base

If concrete is used as a base for the retaining wall, this foundation should be at least twice the width of your bricks (8″/20cm) and a minimum of 4″/10cm thick for a small shed and for larger buildings at least 10″/25cm wide and 6″/15cm thick. If you skimp and go much smaller than these dimensions you are wasting your efforts.

Concrete is also used for shed floor and needs to be at least 3″/8cm thick or it will not be strong enough. On spans over 6’/2m aim for at least 4″/10cm thick on firm ground and if the ground is soft or you intend to raise the floor level due to bad ground drainage, you need to use some aggregate.

Two rows of brick are  sufficient for smaller sheds, but for larger sheds or where the surrounding ground slopes, is very soft, or drains slowly after rain, three or more rows would be better.

Preparing the ground

  • First check the ground for size and level.
  • Dig out high spots, ignore hollows for now.
  • Mark out the area for your shed using string and pegs. You will need to know the exact external measurement of your shed . Double check your measurements to make sure that the corresponding sides are even.
  • From my own experience digging neatly with a normal digging spade to the depth of the spade should give a reasonable trench for the foundations. As the foundation needs to be at least a brick depth below the surface level measure from the lowest point.
  • Although the bottom of the trench does not have to be perfectly level, the top of the concrete does. Use wooden pegs banged into the bottom of the trench as guidelines. Insert a peg in each corner and at least one in each side. Use a straight edge or a piece of string stretched across the tops of the pegs to check if they are level. Use a spirit level, don’t assume anything. If you don’t get that part 100% right, you will have problems with assembling your shed or later on .

Mixing and pouring the concrete

  • If you are using pre-pack concrete, follow the instructions on the bag. If you have bought cement, sand and gravel separately, the mixing ratio is 1 – 2 – 4 (one part cement, two parts of sand to four parts of gravel).
  • If you are mixing the above ingredients by hand, mix dry ingredients first then add water until the mix is of a consistancy you could almost pour from a bucket. If using a mixer put a bucket of water in first followed by the gravel.
  • Once the concrete is mixed, fill your trench to the level of the pegs with the concrete.
  • Smooth and leave to cure for at least five days.

Building the base brick wall

  • YouNow reset your strings, they should be in line with the top outer edge of your proposed brick level.
  • Mix your mortar follow the instructions on the bag if using premix or mix in a ratio 4 sand to 1 cement.
  • The mortar should be moist enough to stick to the brick but not so wet that it runs off again.
  • Now lay the first row of your bricks starting at the corners.
  • The second and third row should be overlapping the row below by half a brick.
  • You may need to cut some bricks in half to fill the gaps.
  • Leave  the wall to dry for a few days.

Constructing and damp proofing the shed floor

  • Next is the floor. Use small stones/blinding to level up, dig off high spots. Use a heavy duty polythene layer between the ground and the concrete to produce a much dryer floor. Mix and pour your concrete, tamp a level and leave to cure.
  • If the weather is really hot, dry, wet, or cold (frost) covering the drying concrete with cloth sacks/sheets is a must, this also has the benefit of keeping off pets.
  • Once the floor is dry, dry trim the polythene.

Your concrete foundations are now ready and you can start assembling your shed.

How to build a garden shed in 10 steps or less…

If you cannot find a garden shed that suits your needs, perhaps you should consider building one yourself.

It is not that difficult, even if you’re not a carpenter.

All that is required is for you to follow some quick and easy step by step plans, and you will have it built in no time.

Watch a short video on your right and click on “Want to build a Garden Shed?” button to reveal a great offer on garden shed plans.

10 Steps to a great Garden Shed

Step One – Decide on the place for your garden shed

First step is to determine where you want to build it. You need to have a designated area planned out before you begin. What space you have available will determine the maximum size and type of shed you can build. Our short “Guide to buying or building a Garden Shed” will help you pick the shed that is right for you.

Step Two – Decide on the look of your shed and get the right shed plans

Once you know your exact size and type of shed you need, it’s a good idea to rough sketch what you want. There are many home improvement stores that you can take your sketch to.

They will draft up your storage shed  plans for you, according to the specifications you provide them with. They will also supply you with a list of materials that you will require.

If you need some inspiration, there are some inexpensive books you can buy. Have a browse through our online bookstore.

You can also purchase inexpensive plans, that come with a list of materials and complete, step-by-step video instructions by clicking on banner on the left.

For less than £30, you will get access to 12,000 different plans, from bird houses to children playhouses and large storage sheds, so you are bound to find something that is suitable, or something that you can adapt to your exact needs.

The plans come with a full bill of materials and detailed, step-by-step of instructions on how to assemble your shed. You can even download a FREE 12′ x 8′ Garden Shed Plan to see the quality of what you will be getting.

Depending on the type of shed, its purpose and type of ground you are going to build it on, you need to decide on the best foundations for your garden shed. We have a great guide on “Garden sheds – How to choose the right foundations”.

Step Three – Purchase the materials

Purchase the materials you will need as outlined in your plan. It’s a good idea to have everything at hand so you don’t have to keep running out for supplies once you start building your shed. If you are looking for a timber merchant or some other tool or material supplier in your area, you can have a look at our Online Directory . We list suppliers in many parts of the UK and Ireland, and most of them will deliver directly to your doorsteps.

We frequenly publish Special  Deals on shed materials, ready-made garden sheds, shed plans, tools, books and shed accessories, so if you are planning to build your own garden shed or you are a DIY enthusiast, follow that link as well. Your local store may not always be the cheapest, so it is worth to compare prices and suppliers.

Step Four – Level the ground and prepare the foundations for your shed

Now you are ready to start. Level your ground and prepare to lay the foundation. You would have already decided whether you are going to have a wood plank floor or concrete slab type. Check  our article on “How to prepare the ground and lay the shed foundations” for step-by-step instructions. We even include a handy video.

Step Five – Construct the floor and put up the side walls

Construct the floor according to the instructions included with your shed plans. Next come the side walls. Put your materials aside that you are going to use for this. It is better to construct the walls on the ground then lift them into position once they are together. Just follow your guide for the how to instructions.

Step Six – Put up the shed roof

Now its time to start the roof. You will need to build your trusses. So construct one and then use it as a template for the rest. Once again  follow your guide on how to build the trusses.

Step Seven – Build the end walls

Your storage shed should now be taking on some shape. Its time to build the end walls. How you do this will depend on the instructions included with your plans. Be sure to stay with your original plans. Changing horses mid-stream is never a good idea.

Step Eight – Add the trim

Now you are getting down to the final steps. The trim is just as important as the rest of your structure. It is what gives it that finished look so don’t scrimp here.

Step Nine – Apply the shingles and treat the roof

Your last two steps are applying the shingles for the roof, then treating the wood. The wood must have some type of protective coating on it to protect it from the elements and rotting. This can be varnish, stains or paints whatever is your preference.

Step Ten – Grab a beer, sit back and admire

You’re done! All that’s left is to sit back and admire your creation. You got yourself a great looking garden shed at a fraction of a price charged by the garden centres.

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