Introduction: Woodgloo in My Garden

Picture of Woodgloo in My Garden

I live in a small village in beautiful Buckinghamshire in England. English weather is unpredictable at best, and prone to rain on a regular basis. I enjoy sitting out in the garden, enjoying the sounds of birds and other creatures, but without a covered area my options were slim. So, I decided to build a shelter, in which I could sit with friends and family, in all but the very worst weather. With a log-burning brazier we have sat out until early morning, even in late December!

What I needed first was some sort of design. I used Sketchup to make the doodle in picture 1, and then dropped the structure 'virtually' into my garden using Photoshop. I wanted to show my wife what the building would look like when fully built, and to show that it wouldn't be too much of an eyesore when looking from our kitchen (pic 3.)

Yep, that's little old me, (pic 4) using a petrol plate whacker to compress the soil. My friend Simon and I had cut back the turf, and taken out about 9" of soil to get to the desired 'footprint.' The ground in our area is heavy clay, so we decided we didn't need any greater footings than this and the ballast.

Picture 5 shows 1.5 tons of iron stone, wheel barrowed in from the front of the road, and then whacked and compressed to a hard foundation. Those beams are the uprights in the structure, and are 4" x 4" tanalised timber.

Pic 6 shows the basic structure going up - I wanted a gazebo style frame, which would then be cladded. Leaning on the hedge you will see the 'spoons' which we used to scoop stone and earth out to make holes for the uprights. The holes were filled with a fast-drying post-hole concrete which sets quite firm in just a few minutes, then goes completely solid in a couple of hours.

Pictures 7 and 7a just show the same state of build from other angles.

In pic 8 we have started to clad the sides with planks to form the walls of the shelter. As you will see, we have left a window at the top of the back wall - which differs from the original plan. This window, and a shelf under it, are great for standing with cool brew in hand, surveying the countryside at relaxed moments.

Picture 9 shows the structure complete. The biggest differences between the original idea and the end product are that we decided we needed half-walls at both ends for wind shelter, and we also chose not to build benches into the structure, preferring free standing tables and chairs for flexibility of layout.

Picture 10 is the way the shelter looks today. I have some nice pieces of driftwood across the back shelf, and a number of other decorative items to make the place a home-from-home. The floor of the structure is Indian Sandstone. Unbelievably, shipping sandstone all the way from India still leaves it at half the price of local stone. It's a crime, really, and very sad, but I had to go with the affordable.  And it really is very beautiful, especially when wet and all the colours come out.

We call it woodgloo, because I likened the idea to an igloo, but made of wood!   It's a fantastic place for just chilling and enjoying a brew, a barbecue and the company of friends and family.

Comments

snipir (author)2011-06-02

Oh geez this is pretty amazing! Keep up the charming work :P

dimdiode (author)snipir2011-06-02

Thank you, I appreciate your feedback. Isn't Instructables an amazing place? I did this project for the pleasure it would bring in terms of a great place in the garden to enjoy the space in any weather - to win a great prize for depicting the work, is a delight. Thanks again

Freakyfoam (author)2011-06-01

That's a lot of back breakin' work, but now you have a cozy area where you can relax and have a couple pints. Hey, I got first place and I also mentioned that my area was a nice place to imbibe some beers. Coincidence? I think not.
Congrats on being the Grand Prize winner!

dimdiode (author)Freakyfoam2011-06-02

Many thanks - and well done to you too. I am actually really surprised, though delighted, to have won. There were lots of great entries - isn't Instructables a great place! Hope you get a lot of pleasure from your prize

emilygraceking (author)2011-06-01

Congratulations! Your woodgloo is really cool. I love the design. Great work!

dimdiode (author)emilygraceking2011-06-02

Thank you, that's very kind. It really is a great place to relax with friends, and a tipple or two.

antling (author)2011-05-26

Nice! and good work!

dimdiode (author)antling2011-05-26

thank you for taking time to say nice things, it's appreciated.

foobear (author)2011-05-20

Sorry for this dull question, but did it require a permit? (as everything does here)

dimdiode (author)foobear2011-05-20

hi. There are plenty of restrictions over here as well, I can tell you. However, when it come to 'non permanent' structures in gardens, like sheds, greenhouses etc, there isn't a need for a permit as long as they are less than a specific percentage of the size of the garden. I don't recall the precise percentage, but my shelter is well within the bounds of acceptable.

foobear (author)2011-05-20

Beautifully done! I love everything about England. It wouldn't be hard to check, I suppose, but I often imagine they have similar weather to what we have here in Washington state. I've been meaning to investigate what plants grow well in England and how they differ from ours.

It would be fun to see a photo of the finished structure as seen from the kitchen window and other views where you superimposed the original sketchup idea!

SHIFT! (author)2011-05-18

Completely amazing process, love how you digitally inserted the structure using Photoshop.

dimdiode (author)SHIFT!2011-05-18

Thank you, you are very kind. Thing is - there's no way my missus was going to let me build it, without knowing what it was going to look like ;)

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