This entry is part 2 of a series regarding the construction of our garden shed. See this link for part 1. Our next project was to prepare the shed’s site for construction, to lay a foundation.
Our city’s building code specifies a 4″ gravel base is required – either that or a concrete pad. The shed’s base is comprised of a treated plywood floor built on top of treated 4×4′ runners. The builder requires the site be within 6″ of level. So, we could either go with 4″ of gravel or a concrete pad. Putting it on a concrete pad would make it a permanent structure, however, and add to our property taxes. More taxes = baaad. Gravel it is!
Howie and I set to work on Saturday, April 28. Our yard slopes down toward our house from the back, so our first thought was to dig into the earth toward the back and end up level at the front of the shed’s area. Just a little digging showed us what a job that would be, however. our sycamore has some BIG roots; we didn’t want to hurt the tree or our backs, so we were stymied.
We dug a trench around the site’s perimeter, laying 2×4’s along the rectangle. We hoped to dig within this area, using the 2×4’s to keep the gravel contained once it was put in place. But this digging…It wasn’t going too well, and we had concerns about our execution of the whole project.
Howie and I love each other. We’re best friends, truly. However, when it comes to working together on home improvement projects — especially those which are far beyond our levels of expertise, skills and tools — we often appear to be at the brink of divorce. This was one of those occasions! Can anyone relate?
Fortunately, our friend Keith came by to saw off a couple of fence posts for us. He was our knight in shining armor! He jumped right in and offered his help when we were in desperate need of some. He suggested we screw all the 2×4’s together into a solid frame, then screw the frame into stakes driven into the ground, leveling the frame as we go. Howie and Keith did just that, and it was perfect.
As you can see in the last image, there is considerable slope to the yard. The 2×4’s are at ground level at the back, but are raised in the front; as a result, the “box” is 4″ deep at the rear, sloping down to 8″ deep at the front. The second image shows Keith leveling the front board. We had to backfill soil into that gap beneath the board so the gravel would not sneak out beneath it.
I don’t know what we would have done without Keith’s help! Whatever the result, it wouldn’t have been pretty.
Next: The foundation