After almost eight years in our home, we’re finally putting up a garden shed. I meant to write about it sooner, but life got away from me – that ever happen to any of you? I’m putting this in several installments since there’s a lot to report.
We ordered our shed through Lowe’s. It’s an 8×12′ Hartford “barn style” shed with a gambrel-style roof. It has a nifty little 4′ loft inside in the rear. The picture is one I took from the brochure and Photoshopped into a picture of the shed’s future site in our yard. I edited out the windows on the brochure picture since we didn’t order any windows on ours. Also, we’re thinking we might paint it pale yellow wtih white trim. The shed peaks at 10’4″, and that extra vertical storage will come in handy. It’s made by Heartland Industries, out of Ohio. We were given a tentative installation date of Friday, May 11th.
We cleared away the big brush pile that had accumulated at the back of our property. It was there until yesterday, when our good friend Mark came over and loaded it into his truck with Howie’s help. There’s a recycling facility in a nearby town that accepts brush free of charge, so off it all went. This is what it looked like before the guys worked their magic!
The first thing we had to do was find out our local zoning requirements. Who would have thought there would be such hassles for a little shed? We must have a 4″ gravel base beneath it, and it must sit no closer than 3′ from our property lines. One of the first things the lady at the zoning office asked me was, “do you know where your property pins are?”. My what? What are property pins?
She explained that these are the property markers put in when the development was surveyed. “You might need to borrow a metal detector to find them”, she added. Another person from the office, knowing our development was built in the mid-1950’s, added that the pins might have been made of wood and possibly aren’t even there anymore.
Great…What do we do then? I was told we’d need to have a survey taken. Contacting survey companies, we learned a pin survey would cost us about $600. What?! We began digging frantically in the yard, trying to find remnants of these doggoned pins. We found nothing, of course.
Thing is, we know with 99% certainty just where the property line bordering our yard with our left-hand neighbors is. The feud between this neighbor and our home’s original owner is the stuff of neighborhood legend! Our neighbors were here first, building their home in 1953. Our home was built in 1954 and the house was put in a scant 5′ from the property line. That’s close! Considering our lot is only 45′ wide and our house is 27′ wide, it was a tight squeeze.
The neighbor was fit to be tied when trucks and crew had to come on her property during construction. As soon as she was able, she put up a wire fence with metal fenceposts, right on the property line. I heard she took our home’s owner to small claims court one year because she dared plant morning glories on that fence. They had cat fights. Yeah, it was one of those crazy situations like you see in the movies.
We introduced ourselves to the neighbors as soon as we moved in. Turned out, they were very nice to us. We were so relieved! Amazingly, when we asked this neighbor if we could remove the metal wire fence running down the property line, they said we were free to do so. They just asked that we leave a little bit of the first and last fencepost showing since it was built on the property line. Fair enough!
A foot beyond that metal fence was an old plank fence the neighbors put up one weekend some thirty years back. It was a spite fence put up one week while our home’s owners were away on vacation. That fence stood, gap-toothed and rotting, until just this last summer, when our neighbors moved in with her daughter and we finally got permission to take the decrepit thing down. Once we had the go-ahead, it was down within the weekend. Hallelujah!
But I digress…
I called the zoning office back, explaining this to the director, asking if there was anything else we could do instead of having this survey done. He told me he’d accept a notarized letter recognizing we accepted full responsibility for any and all errors submitted on our site plan. Done! What a relief. The director made our permit for a shed and a fence, since we hope to put a fence in sometime in the next few years. Come time for the fence, though, we really do need to have a survey done so we’ll know where the other property line is. For now, though, we’re set.
Next up, the site preparation.