Cedar Garden Shed

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Introduction: Cedar Garden Shed

About: Retired Lockheed Martin Electrical Engineer (BSEE Texas A&M University 1982). Love to design and build things. Craftsman, hunter, angler, pretty darn good cook, prolific consumer of beer and barbeque, as…

Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to build a cedar garden shed in the back yard to store my lawn mower and other items that were filling up my garage. I did a search online for garden sheds and dug around until I saw a style that I liked and found plans for that particular design. Problem was it was too small and there were a number of features that I wanted to change. I didn’t know much about building a shed so I found a book at Home Depot that was titled “Building a Shed” by Joseph Truini. Using that book as my guide and some CAD software I designed my own version of the shed I saw online.

This was a huge project and a proper tutorial on how it was built containing dimensions for all of the parts, materials list, construction details, etc. would end up being pretty long. Heck, I could make a pretty extensive tutorial on just how I built the door. So, my intent here is to take a 30,000-foot view of the build, show some of the major steps, and hopefully provide ideas and inspiration for your own project.

Supplies

For the longest time I kept every receipt for all of the materials that I purchased for the garden shed build. I ended up with a huge pile of receipts, many of which had faded over time. So, faced with the daunting task of sorting through all of that mess I abandoned the idea of any kind of detailed materials list and ultimate cost of the project. If I were pressed for a guess, I’d say that I spent about $5,000 dollars for 224 square feet of dried in space. I bought everything from the various hardware and building supply stores in the area... Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware. There was nothing exotic and I pretty much built everything from scratch including the front door and all the windows. I found a garage door that was on sale for a ridiculously low price so I couldn't resist. I'm glad I did as building a roll up garage door is a bit of a fiddly process in getting it balanced properly.

Step 1: Foundation

I settled on a pier and beam foundation. I would have preferred a concrete slab foundation but dang it… concrete is expensive. So, pier and beam it was.

The building is comprised of a 12 foot by 12 foot section and an 8 foot by 10 foot section. I got cute with the cornerstone as you can see. When it was all said and done, I think I ended up with about a ton and a half of concrete to hold the structure down. I embedded quarter inch bolts in the foundation blocks so it is quite a solid foundation.

The beams are 2 by 6 lumber and the decking is ¾ inch tongue and groove plywood. The decking was sealed with a primer and then I ended up painting over it with some porch paint.

Step 2: Walls

The walls were framed with regular old 2 by 4s. The headers over the windows and front door were double 2 by 4s and the header over the garage door was a double 2 by 8. Everything is held together with 3 inch coated deck screws.

The siding is 1 by 6 cedar boards that I ran though my router table so that I ended up with a channel lap. The garage smelled great when I was milling these boards. I love the smell of cedar. I used galvanized siding nails that had a twist to them to keep them from backing out over time. I predrilled the siding to keep from splitting the cedar when I drove in the nails.

Step 3: Rafters and Decking

The rafters were constructed using 2 by 6 lumber and the apex was reinforced (glued and screwed) with OSB for a little added strength. Roof decking was 1 by 6 cedar.

Step 4: Gable Ends

The gables were framed to accomodate a couple of different kinds of windows. On the front side I will have fixed diamond shaped windows and on the back there will be a rectangular removable window. Once the framing was done the channel siding was continued to cover the gables. A ladder frame overhang gives the roof a nice finishing touch.

Step 5: Tar Paper and Shingles

OK... this part of the build wore me out. I used an extension ladder to shingle the roof. I have no idea how many times I went up and down that ladder but it was a bunch. My legs hurt just thinking about it.

It was really windy the day I put the tar paper on so I made a tool to hold the roll of paper and I clamped everything down to hold the paper in place until I got the staples in it.

And while it was a very strenous operation it was an immensely statisfying process!

Step 6: Lawn Mower Test Fit

I didn't have any doors or windows installed or even a ramp built yet but I couldn't wait. I grabbed some loading ramps to get the mower inside its new home.

Step 7: Windows and Front Door

I bought sheets of glass from Home Depot for my windows which were framed using pine. I set up a latching system that allows them to be tilted back for ventilation. The window frames are simple tongue and groove joinery with a rabbet on the inside to accomodate the glass sheet. I used clear caulk to seal the glass in the frame as well as glazing points to hold it securely in place.

The door was a lot of fun to build. I made it out of rough cut 2 inch thick cedar. It only cost about $100 in material so it was a lot cheaper than buying one. The glass on the door was installed the same way as I did for the windows using caulk and glazing points.

Step 8: Garage Door

Lowes had a close out sale on this door and it was a little over $100. I figured there was no way I could build one for less and like I mentioned before garage doors are kind of fiddly when it comes to balancing them properly.

It was actually pretty easy to install and had a slick way of tensioning the spring. So very happy with my roll up door!

At this point the building is dried in and I'm ready to start on some of the finishing touches.

Step 9: Deck and Arbor

The deck was framed with 2 by 6 lumber and then decked with 2 inch thick rough cedar that I planed down a little to make it smooth. It is a rock solid deck. I poured a concrete landing to keep the bottom of the stairs out of the dirt but I did end up using pressure treated wood for the risers just to be safe.

The original shed that I based my design on had a neat little arbor over the entry way. I added a flag pole to mine just for the heck of it.

Final touch was a bottle opener with a magnetic bottle cap catcher. I love sitting on the porch with a cold beer in the evening after I've mowed the lawn.

Step 10: Ramp

Pressure treated lumber holds a load of dirt that I will end up sowing with grass seed. Scrap pieces of lumber will bridge the gap between the ramp and the doorway.

Step 11: Deck Chairs

Time to sit back, grab a cold one, and enjoy the backyard!

Thanks for checking out my shed.

Later!

Willy

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    30 Comments

    0
    blobree1
    blobree1

    1 year ago

    I’m mid process on a similar project. Did your roofing nails go through the sheathing? If not, how did you do it. I don’t want nail heads sticking through on the inside.

    0
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes the nails do poke through the sheathing a little on mine. Different lengths are available. You might go with the 3/4 inch nails to avoid them going all the way through. I used the roofing nails with the big plastic cap on them.

    0
    blobree1
    blobree1

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks. My plan was to sheath the roof with 2 1/2" layers so the nails don't stick through. Any reason you see why this would be a bad idea?

    0
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ah.... sorry, just now saw this. No, can't see a problem with two layers. Boy, if you turned the second layer 90 degrees to the first it would be incredibly strong. Not something I've ever seen but might be cool.

    0
    jrwdlw
    jrwdlw

    Reply 1 year ago

    Unless you have a ceiling, it's going to be a problem with open studs. You can use a short fastener, but a 5/8" to 3/4" nail isn't going to hold the shingles very well. Here's what I would do. I'm very fond of metal roofing. It goes on really quick, and it lasts forever. If you use metal, you can plan the layout so that the screws lands on a rafter. If you do go with metal, stack the sheets, and pre-drill the screw holes on the ground.

    0
    blobree1
    blobree1

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks. I like the idea of metal, but it doesn't go with the design. I'll either do two layers of 1/2" or do a green roof...which I know nothing about.

    0
    DianaHM
    DianaHM

    1 year ago

    It's fantastic! How long did it take you to build it?

    0
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks.

    Oh... Most of the work was done over a year or so of working on the weekends but I still continue to play with it. I've recently changed the arbor and converted it into a rainwater collection system with a solar powered water pump to use for gardening. I grow Red Savina habanero peppers that I make into a really good fermented hot sauce.

    0
    Sterculius
    Sterculius

    1 year ago

    Love the flag! I’m a Buckeye but My dad was an Aggie!!!

    1
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    My aunt was a Buckeye. I think her senior year was the first year Woody Hayes was coach.

    Ha. It took me several tries of waiting on the wind to blow the flag out where you could see it in the picture.

    0
    Ricardo Furioso
    Ricardo Furioso

    1 year ago

    Stunning. Thanks for sharing. I'd live there. I bet a lot of people would.

    0
    garfieldgurl
    garfieldgurl

    1 year ago

    What an amazing build! Love the windows and the door! Thank you for sharing!

    0
    EngineerGus
    EngineerGus

    1 year ago

    Beautiful job. I wish I had the property to have an out-building. Very nicely done.

    0
    ej4327
    ej4327

    Question 1 year ago on Step 8

    Can you provide us with the estimated materials cost?

    1
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Answer 1 year ago

    If you are referring to the entire project I talk about that in the "Supplies" section. I'm estimating around $5000. I did some digging around on the internet and I'm seeing a rule of thumb of around 23 to 25 dollars per square foot... but that's going to vary quite a bit depending on materials you choose. At $5000 and 224 square feet my shed is a little over $22 per square foot so that sounds about right. That's for pier and beam foundation, composite roof, and wood construction. I also built the front door and windows from scratch so that was much less expensive than buying them.

    0
    smat2
    smat2

    1 year ago

    Sweetest 'shed' I've ever seen! And your attention to detail is second to none.

    I second jleslie48's 'that shed is nicer than my house' comment.

    0
    WandersonA3
    WandersonA3

    1 year ago

    Este tipo de fundação não é comum no meu país, entao fico amravilhado e muito curioso de como fazer...
    Os blocos no chão me intrigam...

    0
    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    The blocks are made out of concrete. I dug down about a foot and a half or so and built wooden forms over the hole. Depending on where you live you might have to dig deeper to avoid frost heaving. I mixed up the concrete in a wheelbarrow and shoveled into the hole. Before the concrete set I embedded 1/4 inch bolts. You drill holes in the beams to match the bolt locations and set the beam in place. Then you place washers and nuts on the bolts and tighten them down to secure the beam.

    2
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    1 year ago

    That's not a "garden shed"; that's an awesome tiny house! :)
    Thanks for detailed build. I'm dreaming of building a "small" (relatively speaking) teahouse and this gives me lots of instruction on how to build it.