building a shed


its taken the whole summer, but i have saved about half the money i will need to build a garden shed. I think i found the right fellow for the job, we looked at a book of sheds and started with what i liked and took things away as the reality of my budget was considered.

at first, i looked at those pre-fab things you see at home depot. but the materials are so cheap and the price is still high -and on top of that a tractor trailer is just going to drop it off and it still has to be constructed. my carpenter assures me i can have something better for the same money.

so next week i will look at materials. I have some ideas about what i want: id like to use as much salvage as i can. I have some old windows i hope to use for a mini greenhouse section, and an old enamel sink i want the carpenter to attach to the outside of the shed. I know i want a tin roof. i know i want a little deck off of it where i can put a few chairs and maybe a table. Id like to find a way to use unconventional materials or local materials too.

I want to put the chicken church out at the garden along with the shed and add a nice large dog pen that i will overlay with chicken wire for their run. that way, when i am out in the garden working, they can be out free ranging where i can supervise them. as it is now, i have to take them out to the garden and then take them back to their pen which is by the barn -far from the garden. The chicks will lay better with more light, and i will enjoy seeing them playing among the blooms scratching and searching for bugs. I built them a PVC and poultry net chicken tractor for their city home and it works great! its light, i can move it all around to fresh grassy areas. the neighbors really didnt appreciate my anti-hawk missile defense system (bottle rockets).

I was inspired by this New York Times story of a builder In Huntsville Texas who builds low income housing with recycled materials that are works of art. To see a slideshow of his work click here, you wont be sorry. I wouldnt mind having a tree house either. Does anybody have any great shed ideas? i am open to suggestions. Fishy? what do you think? im thinking of siting the shed at an angle with southern and western exposure.

I figure another 200 saturdays at the farmer's market ought to cover it. btw, it is STILL raining. the ground is saturated, the watermelons rotted and the creeks are swollen. and there is moss everywhere. have a great weekend everyone.


  1. we had some things rot in the garden that my husband spend so much time planting. our problem is too many trees and not enough sun.
    i think having a carpenter build your shed is definitely the way to go. it will be much better constructed.

    so, your neighbors didn't like bottle rockets ... tsk .. what kind of neighbors are they .. lol?

  2. That sounds lovely chickory dear, I like the idea of using recycled rustic materials...there sure are some great ideas in the slide show.
    The sink and greenhouse are a good idea.

    I wouldn't mind a little shed myself, especially if it had a verandah on the side for some welcome shade and a few chairs to relax in when I'm out in the garden.
    You are so lucky to have the chicks there scratching around in the blooms in the garden, they must be nice company along with Trout.
    I hope you don't have to spend another 200 Saturdays at the farmer's market to afford it my sweet girl. :-) ♥

  3. K9,
    Well GOOD JOB if your first summer will result in funds for the garden shed. I think the recycle materials plan is a good one .... I would suggest you have all necessary materials on hand BEFORE any construction starts.

    My first question is about foundation.
    Are you pouring a slab? Are you building on a two steps up deck?
    Whichever it is, it is VERY important to get it right.

    Do check the classifieds and the iwannas in your region .... I know a man who built an entire house from wood stored in a barn .... he saw an ad saying you haul it it's yours. Also, there are numerous places which are consignment shops for builders oops ..... great bargains can be had. Another good source is houses scheduled for demolition .... they often have "salvage" days before the ball flies. Look outside the norm .... if someone is selling a warehouse of wooden shovel handles for pennies per pound.... you can make some great walls with those!

    Remember the story of the three little pigs? It actually is possible to build a house of straw ... you still must construct a frame and a roof but the walls are hay bales which have been sealed with a mud mixture ... very much like the daub an wattle of England's old sheepherder cottages.
    It is also possible to build a metal roof by opening flat and layering coffee cans .... with an artistic eye applied to the project it can be a stunning look too. Please note it is best to construct and layer this in two large sections before installing onto the rafters, then use staggered double layers on the ridge line.

    Need to add textural interest .....
    use river rock. It is hard labor to harvest the rock but it's a free for the taking building material.

    That twig railing from the reclaimed materials houses .... I bet your woods has plenty of saplings available for this application. They actually are pretty easy to make ... although I have heard it is best to smoke them after making them from green saplings to "set" the wood.

    As for style .. I like your chicken church ... why not build a larger version of that?

  4. basic frame:
    new 2x4s, green @ ground
    salvaged solid planks for:
    floor, sideboards, benches, shelves
    old windows
    old windows
    old windows
    old door (with old windows)

    the look is 'authentic' w/o being overly 'arty' (kooky) -- i am so looking forward to building one of these as a 'potting shed' for ruth

    have fun & remember
    you can't have too many old windows!

    × × ×


  5. Well, if - as I suspect is the case - the shed is really for the purpose of abducting me and having a pup or two, could you at least spring for some AC and a satellite dish? Also, a FUNCTIONAL above-ground pool would be appreciated.

    (p.s. - I'm already practicing my detached, polite, vacant persona for accompanying you to shows, markets and fairs!)

  6. I know nothing about building, I'm just excited you're continuing to expand your land into a sustainable place for you, V and the animals. Fishy's input is priceless and I think she's right about having all of the materials before you start to construct. Let me know if you need any plastic for the windows! I have unbreakable stuff that will last a few winters. Sorry for the rain - we had 78 degrees here yesterday and I miss our normal weather. xoxox. Have a great weekend.

  7. I absolutely love the idea of this and wish you great luck. And hope you post about it as the shed gets built. We have a "renovation station" here that is ran by Habitat for Humanity where you can get lots of recycled materials. Maybe there is one in your area.

  8. Rehab materials are great. My company just finished a building that used to be part of their factory/warehouse complex and turned it into their offices. They re-used every speck of material possible. It's beautiful. Huge wooden beams, original brick, wood floors, steel windows.
    My only concern is any old material that might contain asbestos. Careful because they used that stuff on everything and you don't want to get those fibers flying.

    So sorry your Chicken Patriot missile system was shot down by you neighbors. It's not like you live in a quiet part of town.

  9. EH? I wanna see a Book of Sheds!

    What a terrific project. Aunty likes yore siting--southwesterly, so sun be optimum.

    Fishy is on to somethin'--foundation is borin' but crucial. I wonder iffin' ya ought not go fer a slab--in case ya wanna move the shed some day (It ain't huge is it?).

    The reclaimed material is perfect fer Chickory. Inside, doan put no ceilin', jes' leave open wif place to hang dryin' herbs an' such.

    WINDOWs!! amen to "you cannot have too many windows" (Ruth is lucky lass)

    sorry fer the pain of rain in the main.

  10. BTW, did ya see the others available in slideshow?

    stuffed dawg @

  11. OMT,
    how about ya' take down that real-life pic of yoreself from the blogosphere--they's all kind of "nephews" out there.

  12. If we were closer, I know a certain Wolf that would build you a cool shed just the way you want. Love the idea of the tin roof.

    I came home on Friday afternoon to see a notice in my mailbox that a package is waiting for me at the post office. Yeaay. I was awake for 48 hours in a row, and so am now just coming to life once more. I am so excited to get to the post office on Monday to retrieve something special that a certain Chickory send me. Love to you, all the chicks/hens, the nuttyy brown, and the Big Dawg.

    I really want to start peddling my photography. Only, I am a little scared. Love that shot of you at the farmer's market.

  13. As you're cruisin' through the hood look for stuff that people might let you have for disassembling and hauling away.

  14. This sounds like great fun for you, complete with just enough frustration to get your writing juices flowing. Love the coffee can idea and can picture a group of your friends helping to hammer these out (hint, hint)

    Looking forward to hearing about this more.

  15. foamy: i babied those watermelons. watched them and nurtured them. then i was down in atl for a week and it rained almost constantly while i was gone. what wasnt eaten by an animal was rotted. there is ONE left. i have a fence around it.

    can you get rid of some of the trees> i know tree work is so expensive.

    dianne: thats exactly what i want: a hang out place out by the garden. the cabin is all the way on the other side of the property so that garden is just in the middle of nowhere with nothing to anchor it visually.

    fishy: no. bout half the money has been saved. i am doing a gig up in pittsburg in oct. that will get me the rest of the way. i love your ideas! i am going to take that advice and get all the materials first. in facr, i am going to call carpenter and put him on hold til i have the stuff. im seeing an entire corner in glass -even mismatched sizes. i think it will look cool. maybe i will do some drawings.

    no slab. posts driven into the ground and then a floor built. so it can be moved if it has to. i dont like the idea of a slab in the field.

    too wet here for straw. way too wet.

    yes the chicken church rocks! that was a bargain too - i had an artist make that for me. he moved away. couldnt survive here. it is hard. thanks so much fishy. really good advice.

    /t: hooray for ruth! looks like we are on the same game plan. im going up to tennessee to see some stuff that will be in the saturday auction. i havent found a door yet - i think a double door is best a regular door will be too narrow i think. my shed is going to be 8x10 i think...dont know for sure. thank you!!

    puerileuwaite: vacant and distant art fair people? grrrrrrrrrhahahahahahaha!!! i know them. not me baby. i hustle. and i run "the charm school" too. a pug by my side would make me irresistable.

    boxer: thank you so much! i think i am definitely a glass girl. however ive been thinking about how to turn a certain plexi chandelier into yard art. i promise it will be an arty shed. ive got some antlers for over the door and a horseshoe for good luck.

  16. pam: i went to habitat a few weeks ago but it was a lot of interior stuff. yesterday at a junk yard i saw an old claw footed tub i thought: what a great planter that would make. couldnt afford it though. my budget? how about free? grherha
    shamy: thats a good point. im trying to find wood torn off of old barns. rich people like that too so i will have competition. but i am working my connections. ive told everyone what i am up to and they are looking out for things for me. its fun -the hunt!

    aunty: well, about the picture -i hid behind the shades and hat. and you know that i am armed. ive been known to do a mexican carry now and then. youre not too worry. i LOVE the open ceiling idea for drying flowers and herbs. thank you! i mustve missed the dog in the slide show. gotta go back

    walking mean: ive been doing that but to tell you the truth, the county is really really hurting. i dropped off the last of the okra at "feed fannin" the local food bank and they told me things were getting very dire in my county. people are living in tents and bathing in creeks. and winter is happening upon good materials is rare. knowing well in advance is the way to go.

    alicia: you are welcome anytime. you stay just a crows 4 miles from me when youre in BR! come on over. its not grand accomodations here, but i bet you will like it. okay. but WHERE am i gonna get all the coffee cans?

    i think im just going to do what everyone suggested -juts get lots and lots of materials i like and then have inman (the carpenter) build the frame and then just sort of put it together.

  17. Chickory Pup,

    thar's a girl over in Alabama, blog name "Edifice Rex" who is quite a builder herself--she might have real good advice fer ya--she's been buildin' her own house and out buildin's wif stuff she gits from jobs she done (she is a carpenter/artist/ potter)

    see her stained glass and other projects here:

  18. faery: i missed you. so glad the package arrived. i cant wait to hear what you think of it. there are not many people who are going to get it -but you surely will. i love your photography and was so happy for you when the vancouver press posted them. go for it! why would you be afraid? do they have street art areas in vancouver? they must! give it a shot. i will help you if i can. xo

  19. has some great ideas. I am stuck with my baby blue home depot shed along but I'd love to rip it out and have a CHICKEN CHURCH! I love that so much!

    I saw a mini greenhouse made entirely out of old windows on San Juan island awhile back and I've wanted one ever since, great idea!

    Good luck with this project!

  20. OMG! I am still laughing about the fence around the one remaining watermelon. Sounds like it would make a great "angst" photo for MM!

  21. Me again, soooo glad you decided to delay the framework until all cladding materials have been procured. You can go to about the straw construction .... it is covered in a type of plaster which makes it moisture and critter proof. Brings the building costs way down, but probably isn't the "look" you are striving to achieve.
    On the coffee cans ..... restaurants, food banks, etc have large cans for things like tomato sauce and veggies .... you might ask a few to preserve cans for you.
    Also, those kitchens have huge industrial can openers that can take the tops and bottoms off the cans in seconds, all you would need to do then is hammer 'em flat.
    A bit of work but a free roofing material. Can hardly wait to see the drawing...i love the idea of a glass asymmetrical corner :-)

  22. Just don't sell In the Night Garden.

    My gosh, here you are off on another direction, how many people live in that one body? As I said before, you are living very, very well.

    In continuing admiration, n.

  23. hey Chicory! i'd be glad to help out with advice or whatever I could! I'll email you soon. lots of materials can be gotten off commercial sites if you know how.

  24. I, too, know nothing about building. My garden "shed" is a corner of our garage :o) But I can't wait to see yours! Your last photo reminds me how much I used to love going to the Flea Market with my mom a couple times a year to sell our stuff. I love chatting with people both as a buyer and a seller – I bet you have fabulous conversations with folks who look at your art.

    Speaking of which, there was a strict No Photography rule at the fair, but I'm trying somehow to get a photo of this one painting I saw that I just HAVE to show you. This dude out of Rio Rancho who is channeling Grant Wood in the most amazing way. I'm hoping he'll send me a JPG. Wish I could afford it . . .

  25. I found the CD! My contribution to your collection of ideas is at the bottom of my blog linking to this post, your shed building post, not the gallery which is lately a never ending workaround. The Dutch door with windows was useful for all kinds of weather. The interior is lovely, white walls and Oak beams. The left side was a vacant space with a garage door so you could be outside, but covered. It was used as a storage area for lawn tools and machines. The brick area on the right wasn't part of it, a neighbor's dilapidated outbuilding.

  26. run lori run: i liked some of the home depot sheds but they cost too much! i can see a lot of ways to make them look better. that chicken church is wonderful. inside, there are laying boxes made from blueberry boxes. so cute! good to see you

    fishy: its rotting. even though i put it up on bed of hay straw. i took the fence down so the rabbit can go ahead and have it.
    i have some people saving cans...the big coffee cans are plastic now. or at least the ones a V's office are. i have a friend looking for materials for me now on job sites. keep your fingers crossed!

    nina! how are you? i will not sell in the night garden -at least not at the farmers market. i did enter it into the southern appalachian national juried show and it was accepted! so im getting it framed. i am living well? that is a high compliment from you, friend.

    edifice rex: what an amazing blog you have. i am impressed with your capabilities! thanks for your email i just read it and appreciate greatly the time you took to write it. and i am going to troll around this week for stuff.

    moi: i love the farmers market culture. the sellers and the buyers. i can think of a lot of worse ways to spend a saturday morning. and i always come home with great food.

    i understand about the pictures. after seeing the rampany copycatting at folk fest i totally understand. i still want to hear all about the fair. did you get some shots?

    nina: i am on my way. thank you for looking for, and finding it!


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