Posts Tagged ‘Wood Store’


First we’d like to wish everyone a very happy new year! It feels like it’s going to be a great year and I dream of when the days start to stretch out and Spring delivers those first rays of warm sunshine.We received literally hundreds of emails in 2013 from those of you that want to learn more about how we manage our little patch of the Hampshire countryside and for that we are most grateful. It makes it all worthwhile!

It seems  there are a lot of you out there that also want to ease the pressure on their family life and find a more sustainable lifestyle … for a whole bunch of reasons. Well, my goal in 2014 is to help you achieve that change in lifestyle by sharing as much our knowledge and experience as we can through the pages of the blog.

It’s usually about this time I post plans for the new year and I must say we’re both really excited about the projects we have planned in 2014.

My son Tom (electrician) is starting his own electrical services business this year, which is a brave move in these challenging times. We wish him well with his new enterprise.

I do like to Plan!

Not sure about you but I like to put some thoughts together on paper right about this time.  Apart from making me more organised the results give me something to look forward too and something other than the ironing to focus on during these short days and long nights.

Everyone plans in different ways. I like my plans to be rich and visual, as well as informative. I include a few pictures alongside each project to remind me of what all the effort is about. I find pictures also help me to focus, to be motivated on the outcome.

More Ebooks planned for 2014!

After the success of our first Ebook “An Introduction To Frugal Gardening’ I thought it might be nice to share some more stuff so will be releasing an update to Frugal Gardening along with a new idea centred around reducing spend and increasing income. It’s as a result of a couple of things we experienced earlier this year which led to an unexpected windfall.

I’ve already started typing up the first draft so should be ready to share fairly soon.

Cut flower garden.


Two years ago I planted a cut flower garden which was absolutely beautiful. I planned to do the same in 2013 but didn’t get my act together in time and so missed out. 😦

So this year the cut flower garden will be back, even bigger and more lush than before … at least that’s the plan. 🙂

 New Building projects planned for 2014

workshopWe have access to our plot at Blackbirds via a delightful country lane which we’ve been planning to do something with pretty much since we arrived.

Although we constructed a fence and gate soon after we moved in we always wanted to make more of it.  Original plan was to build a barn, come food store, come office, come weekend hideaway … But it never really came together due to other commitments.

John and I have agreed it’s key to our plans and really needs to happen the year, so looks like it’s going to really happen this time.

We plan to start in early April and will be a timber building and entirely self build. If you’re interested in timber frame building we will be posting progress reports on the blog, so if you I recommend subscribing to the blog and subscribing to the RG You Tube Channel.

Whilst we’re on the subject of timber buildings … when we blogged details of our home built workshop and wood store we received several emails requesting dimensional plans. As with many of our projects the design and construction is in John’s head … but he’s promised to draft something and post some measured drawings early in the new year.

‘Blackbirds Tiny Plant Nursery’


Our modest little plant nursery continues to grow and we will be posting progress updates throughout the year. Phase 1 was all about learning and getting the plant production side of the venture up and running.  Phase two is going to be all about creating a professional looking space and generally getting more organised on the selling side.

We’ll post progress updates throughout they year and will definitely be posting more videos on the You Tube channel.

A Brand New Kitchen Salad Garden

If you’ve ever wondered how to build your own raised beds or perhaps you are new to vegetable gardening and stumbled across our little blog, then there is some good news!

One of the projects we have planned is a brand new salad garden. It will be located outside the kitchen which will be really convenient for the BBQ season.  John will be in charge of construction and I will be selecting the varieties and growing some gorgeous produce.

We plan to grow all manner of salad veg from the good old standards through to some of the more exotic varieties. I can’t wait to get started!

Weekend courses at Blackbirds?

I wanted to canvas opinion on an idea we’ve been discussing for this year.

Gauging the reaction we’ve had from our readers we’re  thinking of offering a couple of weekend courses over the summer.  We’re thinking practical courses in gardening, basic timber frame construction, plant propagation, that kind of thing.

General idea is to share our experiences and pass on the skills and knowledge we’ve acquired along the way. I know when we started on our lifestyle change I could have done with a little help and guidance along the way.

What do you think? … Would it be something anyone would be interested in?

The weather is gorgeous down here pretty much from late May through to the end of August.   Should be fun!

Well that’s a brief taster of what’s to come this year and I’m sure you’ll agree there is much to get excited about.

We’d love to know what you have planned for 2014.

Back soon.


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We had some beautiful weather over the weekend in Hampshire which was just perfect as we managed to just about finish our new wood store. It was one of those gorgeous November days, crisp frosty mornings followed by glorious sunshine in the afternoon.

Living on the edge of Salisbury plain we tend to miss the worst of the bad weather to be honest, which I understand is why the military moved here around 30 years ago.

I went to the builders merchants first thing Saturday morning to pick up an extra roll of roofing felt so we were able to finish the roof and move on to the closing in the frame.

Building the walls of the wood store

The walls are built using a combination of 6″ and 4″ treated weather boards pinned to the wall plate and a kicker board fixed between the support posts.

First job was to mark the posts for the kicker board remembering to leave approximately a 12″ gap at the bottom for air to circulate through the wood pile.

The plan was for the boards to sit flush with the outside of the post so I added a packer block to the inside of each post, stepped back from the outside edge the same thickness of a single board. (Use an off cut of board to gauge the depth)

Fixing the boards

A useful tip I picked up along the way is if you’re doing this job on your own try fixing a piece of timber the length of the run that’s thicker than the kicker boards to use as a rest while you fix the vertical boards. Just remember to make sure the top of the rest is level with the top of the kicker board before you fix it.

Having fixed the kicker and set the level between the posts I measured and cut all the boards. As the timber arrived in 4.8 mtr lengths I cut three equal lengths of 1600mm board which when offered up to the frame left me with roughly a 12″ gap at the bottom.

I made a spacer out of timber so I’d have a small gap between each board and then proceeded to fix the boards.

Another tip is not to drive the nails completely in until you are absolutely sure the boards are straight and true.

Lining up the boards

Secret to fixing the boards nice and true is to make sure the first board you fix is dead straight (on the vertical) then use the spacer to fit the next board, and so on until all the boards are fixed, Occasionally I stop to check the boards are plumb using a spirit level as the smallest error will just get worse the further you progress. Also don’t be afraid to pull a board off if you’re not happy with it, after all you’re going to be looking at it for a good few years, so best make sure everything is at least straight!

I’d originally planned to only fill in two sides of the store as one faces North and gets the worsted of the North winds, while the other looks onto my neighbours garden. But I’ve decided to board out half of the third side so the back of the store will be pretty much enclosed. For now I’m using a sheet of OSB I had left over, but I will replace it with boards when I have a few more pennies.

Apart from cutting the occasional notch out for the rafters the boards went up ok. I decided to mix up the pattern using a four inch board every third or fourth board, which worked out ok.

One of the last jobs was to add some trim to the front and rear eaves to hide where the felt is tacked on. Pretty straight forward, just needed to work out the angles top and bottom, cut to length and fix to the front of the joists.

Unfortunately we ran out of boards and it was getting late before we could complete the soffits, but there’s always next weekend!

Then as if by magic…
On Sunday afternoon we had a call from a friend who lives in the next village. He’d removed a limb from a horse chestnut tree that was hanging over the main road in the village. Two hours later and four trips in the car we had a half decent pile of unseasoned wood that should be perfect for burning by next winter.

It’s not a good idea to burn fresh cut or unseasoned wood as its called as its full of water and apart from the fact that its wet it doesn’t produce much heat. Wood burns hotter the drier it is, so always a good idea to stack fresh wood for the following year.

Well, apart from the guttering that’s pretty much it!

We’re really pleased with the results and for a little effort and not a huge amount of money we have a great little wood store that should last a few years and provide us with a fantastic stock of free winter fuel.

I’d like to have a fire pit outside the front of the store to warm ourselves with when we’re busy in the garden in the winter months. I’m also planning on adding a light and maybe an electric socket in case we need to use any power tools, but that will have to wait.

So that’s the end of my mini series on building your own wood store. I hope you enjoyed what you read and found some of it useful. If you’d like more details of how the store came together please drop me a note and I’ll be glad to help.

Best wishes

Rural Gardener

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Pleased to say the weather held off most of the weekend which meant we could carry on with building the new wood store.

Basically we don’t have enough space to store any wood and wood figures quite a lot in our lives as we use it as our main source of heat so it made sense to build a wood store.

John took a days holiday on Friday which I thought with the weekend  would give us plenty of time to finish the project, but as with all my projects they just take twice as long as I thought!

Choice of materials

As the building is going to have to cope with the worst of the winter weather I’m using pressure treated timber for the main structure. I used 6 x 4 (inch) for the roof joists and 4 x 2 (inch)  for the wall plates. I decided  to sit the wall plates on edge for strength and used a combination of galvanised metal plates and 3″ all weather screws as fixings.

As the roof is going to be covered in a decent grade of roofing felt I’m using 2400mm x 1220mm OSB board, as a cheaper alternative to regular plywood.

How to cut a pitch roof with The Rural Gardener

Building the pitched roof

I should start by saying I am definitely no expert when it comes to building a pitch roof but I’ve done it once before and although it’s not a simple job, by following a few basic principles, i.e. measure twice cut once and check everything is lined up before fixing anything, it’s possible to make a half decent job.

To begin with I prepared a couple of supports for each cross rail exactly half way to support the ridge beam while the roofing joists were being cut to size.

Next I cut the ridge beam to the full length of the building (3.5m) including an extra 200m overhang for each end and fixed the beam temporarily using the two supports.  It’s really important the ridge beam is level or the joists just won’t sit right.

When it came to the joists I took a measurement from the top of the ridge beam to the top of the wall plate and then add a 250mm overhang.

I recommend marking up the opposite side of the roof separately as I find the measurements are never quite the same, despite spending ages making sure the structure is symmetrical.

Tip: I also leave an extra couple of inches on the length to eliminate the possibility of cutting it too short and gradually trim it back to fit. This way it’s never too short.

Having cut the first joist to length I offered it up to the end of the ridge beam and rested the other end on the top of the wall plate while I marked the angle at the ridge beam.

It would have been easier to simply nail the joist to the wall plate, but I wanted to cut a step into the roof joist so it would sit better on the plate and provide more surface for fixing. You can see in the picture below I’ve already removed the step and cut the joist to fit the ridge beam.

As with the ridge beam I offered the joist up to the end of the wall plate and marked out a step. With the step removed and fitting snug on the wall plate I now had a template for the the rest of the joists.

I fixed the top of the joists about 20mm below the top of the ridge beam to allow for the thickness of the OSB board

Having cut all the beams to size they were ready for fixing, but before then I had to work out the correct spacing between each of the joists.

The general rule of thumb with joists is to fix every 610 mm or just over 2 feet, and as my OSB sheets are 2400 mm x 1220 mm (8 x 4 in old money) I could go ahead and mark a pencil line on the ridge beam at 610 mm intervals knowing the boards would line up exactly with the pencil line. I also marked the ridge beam with a pencil line 20 mm from the top edge so when the roof boards are laid they sit flush with the top of the ridge beam, leaving a neat finish.

Next I fixed the first joist flush with the end of the ridge beam (front face) using 3″ all weather screws driven in from the opposite side of the beam, and then added the second joist taking care to line up the centre of the joist with my 1220 pencil mark. Then I added a third joist exactly half way between the first and second.

Another useful tip I picked up along the way is leave fixing the joists to the wall plate until you’ve laid the plywood boards on the roof. This means you can position each beam exactly with the edge of the roof boards before fixing permanently to the wall plate.

With all the joists in place and fixed nice and firm the OSB boards went on using 40 mm galvanised nails. There was about a 12 inch overhang which I cut back flush with the end of the joists.

How To Build Your Own Wood Store

Starting to look like the real thing!

Roofing Felt

When I buy roofing felt I tend to go for the thicker grade as you really do get what you pay for when it comes to roofing felt. I’ve used the standard grade before but it soon ripped off by the wind.

I measured out the roofing felt on the lawn  rather than have to man handle the entire roll on the roof  (It’s blooming heavy stuff) and cut to length including a 3-4″ overhang at both ends for tacking in,

Then laid it at the bottom of the roof line nearest the wall plate using the ridge beam as a guide to keep it parallel.

The next length was tacked 4″ over the top of the first so any rainwater simply run over the top of the join and down the roof into the gutter.

Final job was to fix it down the felt with 3/4″ clout nails and the job was done!

Unfortunately we ran out of felt by the time we got to the ridge line, so will need get buy more during the week. Should be able to finish off the felting and complete the sides and finishing touches next weekend if the weather holds, so will post the final installment next week.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about our Wood Store project .

Best wishes

Rural Gardener

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Time to build a wood store

Well I don’t know where you are in the world, but the weather in Hampshire of late has turned decidedly colder and my thoughts are turning to heating the house. We have underfloor heating, but the oil is so blooming expensive at the moment that we’re having to rely on the wood burning stove to provide the majority of the heat this winter.

It produces loads of heat from one of our most under utilised naturally occurring fuels, Wood. What’s more if you’re prepared to source your own logs it can be one of the cheapest methods of heating your house.

I’ve even taken to making a few logs using old newspapers. My sister lent me her paper log maker, which to be honest makes pretty decent logs, and if you mix them with regular logs they generate a fair bit of heat.

The only snag is we don’t really have anywhere to store loads of logs so they end up sitting on the drive, which isn’t ideal. So nothing else for it but to build a wood store.

Over the coming weeks (weather permitting) we’ll be sharing how we went about the build and the methods we use, which are all based on previous projects and what we’ve managed to pick up in books.

The design we’ve chosen is fairly simple and based on a building we saw when we visited the gardens at Heligan a couple of years ago, but nothing nearly as grand I should add.

It’s a basic rectangular shape with a pitched roof and timber planks on three sides.  We have the ideal spot, right next to the workshop, but first we need to remove an overgrown Spirea bush that won’t transplant.

Had to chop the Spirea down I’m afraid as it was just to large to transplant

It was here when we arrived, but unfortunately it’s right in the middle of where we want to build  so it just had to go.

Preparing the groundwork.

The garden is on a gentle rise from front to back  which meant removing about a ton and a half of top soil and chalk before it became anything near level.

The foundations of the timber structure

The roof and walls are going to be held up by two rows of three 4 x 4 inch pressure treated posts.  A tip if you ever have to sink any posts into the ground, try to bury at least a quarter of the post into the ground. That way it will be in nice and firm.

Not long before we hit the chalk bed.

As we’re using 8ft posts for our build we made each hole 2  foot deep, then added a 3 inch layer of shingle in the bottom of the hole to help drain any water that might collect at the bottom of the post.

Finally each post was firmed in with a single bag of post cement mixed with a few of the flints that came out when we were digging the holes.

Eventually finished sinking the last post around 2.00pm on Sunday afternoon, which I didn’t think was half bad considering we also moved around a ton and a half of top soil in the process.

All six posts are in nice and solid … notice the massive root ball from a massive shrub we had to remove before we could start

If the weather holds in the week I’ll carry on excavating the rest of the soil and prepare the base.

Next weekend we’ll move on to building the roof structure and the walls.

Can’t wait to see it finished!

Back soon.

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We’re continuing with our series on how to build your own workshop and I’m pleased to report despite the freezing cold weather we’ve made steady progress. If you haven’t read the part 1 then it might be worth having a read as we take you through building the foundations and the timber frame construction.

Although it may be seen as simply a shed it’s still important to make sure there is plenty of insulation to keep the heat in and the cold out!  Also helps to insulate some of the noise from the power tools! 🙂


On this occasion we used glass fibre insulation but I have to say I hate the stuff and will look for an alternative in future. Having stuffed it full of insulation as much as possible we added a layer of heavy duty plastic sheet (spare damp course membrane I had hanging around) to the outside of the building to which helps limit the wind leaving the insulation to trap any warm air inside the structure and keep any moisture out. We got the idea from our house build.


Cladding the outside
Having completed the insulation and general construction we added feather edge fencing board to the outside. I like the rustic finish it gives to the building. If you have a close look at the photo you can see the ice on the boards as we were putting them up. It was absolutely freezing the day we started the job. Huge thanks to my son James for staying with it even through the coldest of weekends.

A tip for you if you plan to use feather board for a shed or even if you’re building a fence is to make a template spacer to the size of gap you want between boards. Use any old piece of scraps 2″ timber cut to length. It will save you hours of measuring … but do remember to check the levels every 2 or 3 boards. If you don’t there is a chance you’ll get to the end of a run and it won’t be level. Oh and one last tip, don’t drive the nails right in until you’ve finished the job just in case you need to take them off for some reason. Try getting feather edge off without splitting it when it’s fixed … nightmare!


I made the doors for the front and side and the small window at the front out of prepared soft wood and then gave the whole building two coats of water based preservative. Finally giving the softwood doors an extra coat by way of belt and braces.

Since we built the workshop we’ve built a new wood store which you you can read about how that came together using the links below:

Part 1 – How To Build A Wood Store (Foundations and basic structure)

Part 2 – How to Build A Wood Store (Cutting the roof)

Part 3 – How to Build a Wood Store (Finishing off)

Best wishes,

John and Tania.

PS: If you found this useful please click the Like button and feel free to pass on to anyone you think might be interested. The more the merrier!

LATEST NEWS (May 2015) – If you’d like to know how the building has stood the test of time then click the link below for an update.

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