Posts Tagged ‘Outbuildings’


We’ve kick started this years big build project last week which our regular readers will know is a new timber frame outbuilding which will be our sales area and potting shed for the new back garden nursery. We thought we’d share how we build the outbuildings and landscape the surrounding area.

John managed to get last week of work which meant we could make a start on the running in the services and preparing the base.

Step 1 – Marking out.
First task is to mark out the perimeter of the building using marker paint, or alternatively you can drive in timber stakes at 2-3 ft intervals.

It’s important to remember to keep the building in scale with the rest of your garden. Easiest way to achieve this is to grab a bunch of bamboo canes and stick them in roughly around the perimeter of the building. It helps provided a sense of what the space is eventually going to look like.

Of course you could always head down to your local DIY store and buy a standard wooden shed and stand it on an area of hard ground, but I’ve been through a few of those sheds over the years and I much prefer to construct my own timber frame as I can beef up the materials, knowing the building will last.

Step 2 – Shuttering

Before building the base you first need to build a frame large enough to contain the base materials.

We’re using 6″ x 1″ board on our build which will give us enough depth for a layer of hardcore, sand and leave a minimum of three inches for the concrete slab. First we removed a couple of inches of soil to give us additional depth for the concrete.

Why a concrete slab?  … It makes for a hard waring surface and it needs to support th roof which will be covered in tiles and potentially soil for a natural living roof.

Step 3 – Bringing in the services.
John hired a digger which made short work of digging the service trenches and levelling the plot.  You could always dig them by hand, but that is mighty tough work and beyond little old me these days I’m afraid.

We’ve laid cable and a mains water pipe from the house to the bottom of the plot. We have details of the size of cable and water pipe if you need them, just drop us an email with some details and we’ll get right back to you.


After the shuttering we back filled with a four inch layer of hardcore, broken bricks, stones, anything we had around the place that would create a solid base.

Landscaping and Outbuildings

Then we laid a two inch layer of sharp sand to fill any gaps in the hardcore and to create a nice flat surface for the damp proof membrane.

Finally a layer of concrete was poured and leveled with the top of the shuttering.

We had the concrete poured straight from the lorry as it would have been agonisingly hard work for us to mix that much concrete by hand, as anyone will know whose mixed concrete before. It’s back breaking work!


Although it wasn’t cheap I worked out the cost of materials and my time and it actually didn’t work out much more costly to be honest.

The slab was dry to touch by Sunday morning but will take around 28 days to fully cure.

Next time …
We’ll be starting the timber frame construction which should be fun and slightly less physical than the ground works. So don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and we’ll keep you right up to date as we progress.

Best wishes

John And Tania The Rural Gardeners

PS: A brief note on planning permission

I’ve had a couple of emails from people asking if you need planning permission to build such a structure in your garden.

We are building under what’s called ‘PART E’ permitted development which essentially means we can build a temporary structure that is no designed to be lived in.

I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive answer as different regions of the country apply slightly different rules.  However the guidelines are pretty clear on what you can and can’t do so I’d urge you to research your local planning laws and if possible speak to your local duty planning officer. They are usually very helpful and can be contacted via your local council offices.

Believe me when I say it can be a costly business if you discover you haven’t followed the rules.



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