Friday, June 19, 2015

Shed Projects, Part 1

our shed when we first bought it, with our sad attempt at a garden in front

We finished the treehouse, so last week we moved on to our next project.

We bought our garden shed about two and a half years ago, but hadn't done much more with it besides fill it with stuff. In our effort to finish projects and make things have more curb appeal, we turned our attentions to the shed. Mr M worked on the ramp for the double doors while I worked on organizing the inside of the shed.

The Shed Ramp
There's a bit of a drop off from the shed double doors to ground level, so Mr M would put boards down in order to get the lawnmower in and out of the shed. It worked, but it wasn't a great long-term solution. When I was working on the patio I bought some 8' boards and cut them in half to build a ramp, but it turned out to be a flawed idea. We've had a lot of rain recently, and we noticed that mud was accumulating at the end of the ramp, close to the shed doors. There was still a lip between the ramp and the shed floor, so the mud wasn't going into the shed, but we knew that could change with a really hard rain.

So we tried a couple other designs to eliminate the mud problem. The first design consisted of the 4' boards sloping away from the shed and pavers sloping down to the shed. Because of the slope leading to the shed we had problems getting the angles right, and the combination of pavers and boards didn't look very professional. As I've mentioned before, looks matter in our projects since we have to keep an eye out for re-sale value.

4' boards and pavers, not very aesthetically pleasing

Because of all the digging Mr M had done to get the pavers in place, we realized we had another option for the ramp. If we extended the length of the boards, we could bring the ramp out further up the hill and we could direct mud under the ramp.

This unfortunately meant we had to go buy more boards, but at least we could re-use most of the original shorter boards under the ramp, as part of the support structure.

8' boards in place, pavers kind of in place, checking to see if we like the result

8' boards nailed to each other and the support boards that rest on pavers

This was as far as the project got last Saturday, but we've made more progress this week, so there'll be more pictures next week.

Inside the Shed
When we bought the shed, it was a blank slate: (those are extra shingles in the far right corner)

While Mr M played in the dirt, I worked in the shed. I thought I had a picture showing the chaos, but I don't. Rest assured that it was bad and it was hard to move or find anything in the shed. At one point I had moved a counter and two base cabinets from the basement to the shed for a work surface. The space between the base cabinets ended up being a collecting space for all the wood scraps that are leftover after my projects.

I actually sorted these bins of scraps last fall, which left piles of wood on the floor under and in front of the counter and on top of the counter.

A glimpse of the chaos from last fall, which isn't as bad as what it was more recently

Trying to organize leftover pieces of wood last fall for use in future projects

I cleared out the bins of wood scraps (the patio and treehouse generated a lot more scraps), put up shelves for the scraps I wanted to keep, organized the wood scraps on the shelves, and chucked some stuff that's just been taking up space and not being used for anything. I put away tools and labeled the drawers in our metal storage cabinet. Basically I worked to find a spot for everything, and make sure that we could easily find what we needed without moving things around more than necessary.

Now we can actually use all the doors (the front door has been blocked for some time), and we can even walk easily through the shed. Junk was piling up on the sides, and with the lawnmower in the shed, space was getting tight. Add in a pregnant belly, and it was not easy for me to work my way to the counter end of the shed.

Shed Stairs
That big rock was the only step we've had to the front door of the shed since we bought it. Since we were working on making the shed more user-friendly and "finished", I decided to finally build some stairs. I forgot to take a picture before I started, though, so here you can see where I had started digging for the paver bases of the stair stringers.

After digging in pavers to rest the stair stringers on, I attached the tops of the stair stringers to the shed frame. The final step was adding on stair treads. I used Trex decking leftover from the kitchen stairs and deck because it wasn't being used for anything else and I didn't want to purchase materials that weren't really necessary.

that bin of wood scraps (and the two others next to it) will be taken to the dump soon
since a lot of the scraps are treated wood we can't burn them

you can actually walk through the door now!

The hardest part of this project was dealing with the heat and humidity. The temps got into the low 90's, and the heat index was in the high 90's once you added in the humidity. Ick! The ramp area was in full sun for most of the afternoon and inside the shed was like a sauna, even with all the doors open. Double ick!

We guzzled water and gatorade and soldiered on. We're definitely at the end of our window for finishing our outdoor projects. We'll finish up what we're working on, but the rest of the projects will have to wait till it cools down in the fall.

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