Preparing a shed or summerhouse base

Adding a summerhouse or wooden shed to your garden is an ideal way to extend your home's living space and encourage more outdoor recreation, entertaining and hobbies. The easy-to-assemble structures come in different shapes and sizes to fit conveniently into most outdoor areas. Pick the right model and you will have a place for practical storage, an area for the family to congregate during sunny weather, or a useful workroom.

While you are browsing through the selection of garden furniture and garden buildings available from Tesco, there are important considerations to think about before you make a purchase. One of the key factors influencing your decision is the type of base required for your shed or summerhouse, which may need to be prepared prior to delivery. You will also need to compare the different materials available for your base or floorboards. After undertaking a few simple steps you will quickly find that it is easy to add a durable garden building to your home.

Location

Before you buy and arrange delivery of your summerhouse or garden shed, consider where you would like it to sit within your garden. Options include close to the house, providing convenient access to your indoor space, the centre of the garden, to provide a focal point and a central hub, or the foot of the garden, which maximises the use of storage space for equipment without impacting upon other garden activities. Sheds and summerhouses are best placed in locations where they can add to the attractive appearance of the overall spot. Many summerhouses are placed in south-facing settings to maximise the amount of time they will receive sunshine on bright days.

When choosing the location, consider the ground conditions carefully. Ensure you select a point in the garden or terrace where water is unlikely to gather during periods of rainfall. Confirm that the structure does not encroach on neighbouring gardens or existing garden features like fountains, outdoor spas and ponds. Your new shed will require space around it for access and maintenance.

Preparing a Shed or Summerhouse Base

For a wooden shed or summerhouse an even and level surface is essential. Popular and effective options include a flat concrete surface or concrete slab tiling. A reinforced wooden deck area is also suitable however it is essential that you check the manufacturers' description to ensure the decking can support the weight of the structure and is suitable for the intended use of the garden building.

The base should be laid on an even, level surface during the build so it is a good idea to examine the prospective area with a spirit level to see if it needs to be treated. Failing to prepare a level surface will lead to your shed warping, which can result in damaged timber or even broken windows. A damp-proof membrane can be placed below the base to ensure that water does not enter the frame. Rubble, leaves, twigs and other garden materials should be cleared from the area you would like to build your structure on before you begin.

Most summerhouse or sheds includes a solid sheet floor, often made of a wood panel, heavy duty plastic or sheet metal, that will rest on the appropriate base. If the solid sheet floor supplied with the structure is made of wood then it may need waterproofing or a coat of varnish to protect it and maintain effectiveness before adding this to your base. Details of how to keep your structure in excellent condition can be found in the simple construction manual.

Size of Base

A series of simple building bases can be laid beneath the floorboards of your summer house or shed to create the perfect ground conditions for solid construction. Frames are available in varying standard dimensions ranging from 4 ft x 4 ft to a larger 10 ft x 8 ft. Each can be matched to a similar size structure to begin the process of creating an enduring feature in your garden. Most sheds and summerhouses are made from timber so the wooden base will complement the overall design while protecting the building from damp and providing a solid building location. Selecting a reliable base of this type will help ensure a long lifespan for your garden building. Ensure that the size of the base is slightly larger than the base of the structure it will support.

Wooden Base

Garden buildings are frequently supplied with wooden floor posts, or a similar surface, to walk on when you are inside your summerhouse, shed, log cabin or gazebo. A timber lattice is an ideal method of installing a hard-standing solid level base for your foundation. Portable wooden frameworks are easy to assemble and constructed from pressure-treated timber. The square or rectangular series of connected beams is secured using hard-wearing galvanised support spikes and brackets. The base is suitable for use with sheds and summerhouses that have suitable dimensions. Each can be delivered to your home with full instructions and fittings supplied.

Concrete Base

If you select to use a concrete base for your shed or summerhouse it should be prepared well in advance of your delivery date for your structure. It can take up to two days for the base to set firmly and be ready to support the base, walls and roof of the garden building. While you will notice that the colour of the surface has lightened and the base seems level and solid, it is advisable to wait at least a week before beginning construction to minimise any chance of subsidence. An alternative to concrete is to use garden paving slabs. Ensure these are laid to create a smooth, even level surface slightly bigger than the base of your structure.

Anchor Kit

It is important that buildings are anchored to the solid base to ensure safe use and durability during all weather conditions. While most summerhouses are made of wood, some sheds are comprised of metal, particularly those designed to be used for tool and garden furniture storage, or as a convenient workshop. A simple anchor kit can be bought to secure the metal floor sheet to your base location.

Investing in a garden shed or summerhouse is a great way to make the most of your outdoor space, however you should ensure that you do the necessary preparation to keep your new building in shape through every season.

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