Building a garden house yourself is certainly not a problem. You can purchase several kits at the nearest hardware store, with instructions that explain step-by-step how to build each house. However, if you want to build an individual garden house yourself, you need a fairly uncomplicated and logical guide. We present such a guide in the article below, along with tips on everything else you need to think about when building a garden shed.
Table of Contents
The first step: explore regulations
On the one hand regrettable, because it means additional work, on the other hand, thankful, because otherwise there would probably be a lot of really horrible buildings standing around in our communities or one or the other do-it-yourselfer would have collapsed over their heads: you have to first take care of the regulations before planning the foundation. The following regulations may apply:
- You may need planning permission for your garden shed.
- Building law is a state matter and is quite individual.
- This is good for preserving regional diversity, but it only makes horticulture possible after looking at the law.
- Depending on the size of the planned garden house, a building application with static calculations etc. must be submitted.
- Or a simple application with a description of the building, site plan and construction drawing is sufficient, or you may not need a permit at all.
- The limit is often 30 square meters of floor space or 15 cubic meters of enclosed space.
- The quickest way to get clarity for planning is to ask the local building authority.
- Also ask about any other regulations that need to be observed.
- Here it goes e.g. B. about static requirements, planning law, neighboring legal border distances and design specifications.
Tired of regulations? Understandable, but there’s a plausible reason why these should be the first things you should look at: you might find that building a log cabin just a little smaller than originally planned saves you all the hassle and expense of a building permit.
The foundation for the garden shed
Even if some do-it-yourselfers dare to construct and build a complete garden house (made of wood) themselves, they shy away from laying a foundation (made of concrete). However, if you want your shed to stand tall (and straight), you shouldn’t shy away from a full-floor foundation. The point foundations that are often suggested have caused quite a few garden sheds to wobble, and they don’t actually do much less work when it comes to precisely measuring the points. Just a little less concrete is needed.
However, if you cast a base plate the size of the garden house as a foundation, it will remain stable until you want to place the next garden house on the base plate.
This is how your garden house gets a proper foundation:
- excavate the excavation
- Mark out the dimensions with pegs and cords beforehand
- The dimensions of the base plate should be the same as the dimensions of the garden house
- Excavation pit around 15 cm will be used as the later floor slab, because you still have to form the formwork
- 40 cm deep, for a 20 cm layer of gravel and a 30 cm layer of concrete (10 cm above the ground)
- Put in a layer of crushed stone made of a sand-gravel mixture first
- it is supposed to repel the moisture in the soil
- with moisture upwards, the foundation would otherwise perhaps rise in frost
- it might even break
- it is compacted by a layer of gravel
- then build the formwork
- insert boards
- as wide as the foundation is to be high
- Recommendation: Pour the foundation 10 cm above the ground
- Measure of constructive wood protection
- Build appropriate formwork that is 10 cm above the ground
- Wedge the formwork all around with squared timber until it is exactly the size of the floor slab on the inside
- Then lay a PE film over the full surface of the layer of gravel so that the gravel does not draw water from the concrete
- Place strips of foil over the edge and staple in place
- now pour in the concrete
- Mixing it yourself is cheaper
- Fill the formwork halfway (15 cm) with concrete
- Insert the reinforcement mats over the entire surface, but with a gap of a few centimeters from the edge, otherwise they could rust
- Then pour concrete onto the reinforcement mats up to the upper edge of the formwork boards
- Level the concrete surface with a long and perfectly straight batten
- Keep surface moist while drying
- if the water is warm, a tarpaulin prevents it from drying too quickly
- This will prevent small cracks in the concrete
- Remove formwork after two days
- then the concrete should dry for two to three weeks
Screw on the joist shoes for the corner joists
There are joist hangers available that can be screwed onto the foundation. There are also some that you cast into the concrete with, but that’s quite a fiddly process. These joist hangers are intended for the corner joists. You can determine exactly where to screw on the joist hangers once you have read the assembly instructions. First of all, this is only about the advantages of this procedure for your garden house:
- considerably facilitates the opening of the corner beams and thus also the wall frames
- because the corner beams stand alone after they have been attached to the beam hanger.
- Align joist hangers, corner joists and wall frames for testing
- slightly raised foundation with the joist hangers helps with construction and wood protection
- For corner joists and the lower part of each wall frame, choose wood of durability class 1 or treat squared timber with wood preservative
- 10 cm overhanging concrete strips should also be thoroughly sealed against water
- Plank the corner joists and wall frames from the outside, the bottom row sitting above the floor
- The end of the planking gets a drip nose made of metal or wood profile (ask your wood dealer).
All of this together means that emerging water never gets to the inner structure and cannot accumulate anywhere on the floor where it comes into contact with wood. Any part of your garden shed that somehow gets wet can dry off completely. These simple measures can therefore significantly extend the life of a wooden structure.
Instructions: Half-timbered garden house
Don’t worry, you shouldn’t build such a complicated structure yourself as you know it as a historical sight. But when we talk about half-timbering here, you know immediately what is meant. By definition, a garden house constructed using a timber frame is a half-timbered house. Of course, your garden house should not be a four-storey half-timbered house. The good thing about timber frame construction is that it is very simple and logical, at least when it comes to smaller structures that do not have large static loads.
The garden house presented here is really easy to build – 4 pre-assembled walls are set up and connected, but each wall consists of a simple wall frame. The walls of the garden shed are assembled lying on the lawn, and finally connected with brackets and screws. Later, the walls are placed upright and connected using a corner beam. The basic construction of the walls are wooden frames with beams placed in between for reinforcement. If you use beams of 10 x 10 centimeters for the entire garden house, the beams are always “right way round”.
- 8 squared timbers, 100 x 100 mm and 2500 mm long
- 8 connecting squared timbers, which are placed in between at the top and bottom, 100 x 100 mm and 2300 mm long for the individual wall frames
- 8 squared timbers, 100 x 100 mm and 2300 mm long, which are placed vertically in the wall frames
- 2 corner squares, 100 x 100 mm and 2500 mm long
- 2 corner squares, 100 x 100 mm and 2800 mm long
- to connect the walls to form a square and create a raised support for a sloping roof on one side (which side, see the roof section).
build a garden house
- build four walls
- this can be done lying on the floor
- Each wall frame consists of two vertical square timbers with a length of 2500 mm
- place a connecting squared timber with a length of 2300 mm at the top and bottom
- Connect squared timber with brackets and screws
- This gives you four wall frames measuring 2.5 x 2.5 m
- Now set the wall frame upright
- connect two walls at right angles by inserting a corner beam
- Now place the corner beams in their joist hangers, align well and screw in place
- Now gradually erect one wall frame after the other, fix it in the floor and on “its” corner beam and finally screw it on
- once the “cube” is in place, the wall frames must be stabilized with squared timbers placed vertically between them
- Frames have external dimensions of 2.50 x 2.50 m
- the squared timbers are each 10 cm thick, so we have dimensions of 2.30 x 2.30 cm on the inside
- Place two 10 cm squared timbers in this 2.30 m wall
- A deduction of 20 cm results in 2.10 m and thus a support beam every 70 cm
- these supporting squared timbers can also be used in exactly the same way for walls that will later be completely clad with tongue and groove boards
- for walls with door and window, adjust the positions of the support beams to the door frame and the window frame
- if doors and windows are installed, you can clad the walls with tongue and groove boards
Pay attention to the correct direction and overlapping of the boards, rain must be able to run off, this is just as much a measure of constructive wood protection as the drip nose on the bottom row.
The roof cover of the garden house
The corner beams are higher on one side than the other. A frame construction for a sloping flat roof is now attached to and on top of them. This frame construction will then be covered with roofing felt.
This is therefore the right place to explain on which side you should place the higher corner joists, because the laying direction of the roofing felt is also determined by the same considerations: The garden shed should be positioned so that the most protected side is the one that mainly occurs exposed to wind direction. If you don’t know what that is, you will be given e.g. B. can give information in the local building authority, instructions for laying the roofing felt can be found on the Internet.
Building a garden house according to the above instructions should not be a problem for any do-it-yourselfer of average skill. You create a truly individual garden house. Unless it’s going to be a mansion, you’ll also manage to slightly modify the instructions to suit your personal preferences and come up with some custom embellishments.