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I am new to gardenweb, and this is my first post (please let me know if this is in the wrong place). Steven Laurin & CompanyI concur with the above recommendation - remove the slab, or relocate the new shed. This foundation design is relatively inexpensive, requires a bit more effort to construct, but is the best method for minimizing risks of future settling or frost heaving. Sheds are an essential part of everyone’s garden especially those who have tools or equipment to store. Making sure to take care of your shed will prolong its life and the shed will be able to serve your needs for many summers. So I took lots of digital pictures, measurements and ideas home with me to start the design process.
I will take you through the process of before the design and after so you can see the changes. This photo shows the new shed painted to match the main house, the new 6′ privacy fence and the planting bed between the house and new circle driveway. In the backyard, Tom and Barbara were looking for privacy and a cozy patio where they could entertain family and friends. This is the uninviting scene from the back door looking out to the backyard and neighbor’s home. This is the design I created to bring privacy to the backyard along with a no maintenance patio laid with pavers. Simple things like matching the new shed and fence to the dark chocolate color of the main house made the property feel coherent. This transformation took several months and lots of work on the part of everyone involved but the outcome is wonderful. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Design, Garden, Garden design, Home on October 4, 2013 by kathywp. While we are accustomed to seeing edging in formal garden designs, informal gardens benefit just as much from having neatly-edged planting areas, making mowing of lawns and raking of gravel that much less of a chore.
When deciding on a suitable material for edging, first take into consideration the overall style of your home. There is a wealth of edging materials from which to choose a€“ half pavers (terracotta or concrete), cobblestone, rope-style terracotta edging tiles, wooden log edging, railway sleepers, river boulders, rocks, and extruded concrete edging. With a little imagination, you could even recycle any materials lurking behind the garden shed. In a formal garden or where it is necessary to retain a definite shape, it is certainly advisable to lay the edging material on a small foundation to prevent it from shifting and looking unsightly. In an informal garden, however, if wooden products, river boulders, rocks, branches or recycled products are used, a foundation is not necessary.
If you are considering edging then spend time designing your garden accurately or have a reputable designer draw a plan for you. Six or seven years ago I bought a 6'x8' Harbor Freight greenhouse kit but did not assemble it.
Additional rows of cement blocks would be added, running bond, to bring each section to the desired height. We are planning on using plastic composite decking material, such as Trex, laid on top of the knee wall for the base of the greenhouses instead of wood. The central shed will be a modified pole structure with the vertical supports anchored to the foundation blocks. The greenhouse on the east will have the door on the west and the greenhouse on the west will have the door on the east, both opening into the shed. The outside raised bed planters will have added frames made from metal electrical conduit and supported at each corner and the centers of the raised beds. I haven't decided where best to put a sink and a drain leading to a dry well or to above ground drainage. I suspect that it will be fall before we are ready to assemble the greenhouses (after re-roofing the house, raising more chicks, summer heat and rains, getting building permit, etc.). As you go, you'll no doubt learn what the structures require in the way of shadecloth during the summer. If the cooling is just too tough, you could always consider adding some kind of evaporative cooler, down the road. I hope you will post back with your progress (would love to see some pictures!) when you get started. Also fighting gophers and mice in the garden and elsewhere have forced us to develop skills using concrete blocks and hardware cloth. I will phone 1-800-444-3353 and order the bag of 130 clips, Part number 53 panel clip, and give them the SKU number 29457. Mudhouse, thanks for reminding me to recheck the location of trees and buildings in regards to shade. I am hoping that I can have a couple small citrus trees in pots in one of the greenhouses as the winters are much too cold for citrus here.
You've probably already found it, but here's a link to the part of my blog where I listed more info about making the screens for the south side.
I've transplanted soaptree yuccas a few times (Yucca elata I think) and I have mixed results. I am wondering if the central shed will add too much shade so am thinking about having it not extend south past the greenhouses. I was going to tell you about this FANTASTIC site I found on the HFGH, and mudhouse, it turns out that it is your site. I have not yet modeled the growing beds inside the greenhouses, the internal structures to hold shelves and pots, or the external structures to support plants in the outside raised beds as well as shade cloth (summer) and plastic (winter).

I definitely like the options the kneewalls give us, especially with the outside raised beds.
Another reason to keep doors on the greenhouses is to help maintain the temperature inside the greenhouses when the door to the shed is opened.
The images in the previous posts do not show either the internal structure changes or the external structure I will be adding to support plants in the outside raised beds and shade cloth or plastic as needed in summer and winter. It appears the old concrete slab may been poured on-grade, with disregard for the minimum frost depth for your area.
There are right and wrong ways of constructing a gravel foundation as well; follow the shed company's recommendation.
I'll let you know how the new foundation works out (we're leaning toward getting rid of the concrete and putting down compact gravel as a base. Sheds can make any scene look complete and they can even match the style of the home they are placed with. With the shed above the ground, rain water will not sit against the outside walls which would cause possible rotting. Avoid placing a shed on the bottom of a slope for water will run down towards the shed leading to rotting.
In formal and small gardens especially, where the slightest mistake or shaky line will be noticed, edging provides a truly professional finish.
Inverted wine bottles make a very unusual edging, old bricks gain a new lease on life, and sturdy branches do an excellent job and provide many insects with food and shelter as they slowly decompose.
This will enable you to cost the project and order the materials accurately and will ensure a very pleasing end result. While researching online, a year passed and I bought a second kit so that I could have two together.
The two greenhouses will be assembled with many of the modifications mentioned in this forum including painting the polycarbonate panels with Top Secret UV coating, extra clips and at least one screw in each panel, an internal frame combining plant shelves and extra support, and the swinging door conversion.
Sounds like you already know that cooling will be a challenge, (much harder for us to cool in summer than heat in winter.) The greenhouse on the west end could be a real hot box in the summer, depending on the location of trees or other buildings to block some of the afternoon sun, but you're already planning for ventilation with the roof turbine on the central shed roof, and an exhaust fan on the north wall.
If I didn't have those, I don't think even my tough cacti could survive our summertime days with highs around 104. Some of my plants don't want to go below 45F, but some cacti would bloom better with more cold. I didn't do this and my greenhouse is partially paneled now, I just ordered more clips and 2 new panels. Finding full grown tomato plants with tomatoes almost ready to harvest separated from their roots by 3 inches of air overnight started my battle with gophers. I am sure that Harbor Freight will have plenty of time to deliver the clips before we start assembly as we need to put a new roof on our house first.
While I am sure that I checked this six years ago, I needed to recheck after the new plan changed the planned locations of the greenhouses, one greenhouse location has moved west by 8 feet and north by more than 4 feet.
Most of my plans for the greenhouse are influenced from trying to keep the chickens cool enough in the summer.
Right now there is just a hole in the ground partly in the wrong place and the chicken pens and garden beds that were the inspiration to some of the planning details. Since they have almost no wind resistance, I usually only secure them with a couple of clips on each side, when in use. Those guys send down big straight tap roots even at a young age, and the odds of the transplant working seems to have a lot to do with getting all the root, if possible. The great thing about the internet is everyone can add their own good ideas into the mix, and we can all help each other.
We are currently struggling with a planned kitchen remodel, and I wish I had your skills to produce images. I am currently planning on inside raised beds on the end and both sides in one greenhouse and a raised bed on the south side of the other greenhouse with citrus trees in pots along the north wall. Yes, the floors in the greenhouses are going to be at the same level as the floor in the shed. We are selling the shed and putting a 8 x 16 tuff shed in its place (with galvanized steel floor joists). Materials used for paving, paths and edging should be consistent with those used in the construction of the home. At that time I planned to have two 3'x16' raised beds along the south and north sides of the combined greenhouses. What if we had a shed between the two greenhouses with both greenhouse doors opening into the shed with the only door to the outside from the shed? So I have to let the wimpy plants set the minimum allowed temperature, but you could possibly have two separate areas with some temperature variation. Now all non-native plants, including my two apple trees, are planted in raised or sunken beds barricaded by hardware cloth and concrete blocks. Finally, I have an Owl Eye Pincushion (mammillaria parkinsonii) that I bring into the house for the winter and keep on the front porch in the summer. I tried to save three medium soaptree yuccas when a friend was relandscaping, and only one made it.
Since it does bloom for you, it might be a lack of pollination that is preventing the fruiting. I am planning on following a plan similar to How to Build a Solar Greenhouse which was for an 8'x12' greenhouse.
What looks like a single short row of blocks under the greenhouses and shed is actually the bottom row of an underground wall that goes 2.5 to 3 feet under ground level to surround the SHCS heat sink. I am not sure which greenhouse will be easier to keep warm in the winter, the east one or the west one.

I will be modifying the greenhouse doors following steps shown in Building and Improving the Harbor Freight 6x8 Greenhouse.
As another poster suggested I used aluminum tape to seal the panel edges but that was the only real mod.
We picked the location and found that the ground was about a foot higher on the east than the west.
The blocks at the sides of the central shed will be the height of the greenhouse knee walls while the blocks at the shed ends will be just above ground level. There will be a roof frame, also made from electrical conduit, over each greenhouse and attached to the inner top rail of the plant support frames. I will probably add a row of cement blocks on each side of the center aisle of each greenhouse to identify floor level, to provide support for the shelf supports, and to allow separate flooring for aisle and growing areas. With this level of planning, I have no doubt you'll be able to make judgements and adjustments along the way!
Replacing the plumbing under the house after it had been nibbled by mice caused us to do without hot water for what felt like months. Mudhouse, I just read a thread where you described your removable screen panels; great instructions and a beautiful result.
Three quarters of the western wall of the chicken coop is shaded by a large shed 3 feet to the west of the greenhouse. While it has grown from a single owl eye pair to four pairs of owl eyes and has bloomed, it has never fruited. The east one will get plenty of morning sun in the winter while the west one might be shaded too much in the afternoons. I figure you must be keeping doors on them since you want to be able to keep them at different temperatures.
In a casual home, the transition to natural materials such as bark, gravel, wooden log edging, rocks and boulders can be made that much earlier. The blocks in the knee walls and shed foundation will be filled with concrete but the raised beds won't.
Replacing the siding under the house with a block wall to prevent mice from returning makes the knee wall for the greenhouses seem easy. The west end of the west greenhouse is about 40 feet east of the house and the roof ridge line of the greenhouse is about 8 feet south of the house roof ridge line.
In addition, the chicken coop has a turbine fan, a small air conditioner, an interior box fan that runs nearly all day and night in the coop, a mist system that sprays the roof during the daytime, and a raised bed to the east with pole beans and luffas growing in the summer on a net trellis to shade the east wall, all in addition to insulated walls and roof on the coop itself. Some need to be sitting beside the right neighbors, blooming at the same time, to get the flowers pollinated. We are going to build a small pergola to drink wine under just outside and raised beds with all kinds of stuff. Today, shortly before sunset, the shadow of the awning on the south side of house shaded the north third of the planned location of the west greenhouse.
In this part of Arizona we have highs above 110F in the summer and lows below 10F in the winter. Sorry, but you will surely need to do that and adding MANY more clips, my area gets some winds now and then but if you have wind on a reg basis, save some time and order the clips before you take on assembly, so you have them. In the winter there should be less shade from the house and in summer the west greenhouse will benefit from shade from the house in the late afternoon.
The exterior raised beds to the east, south, and west of the greenhouses could be used to grow tall crops to partly shade the greenhouses, if necessary, as well as to support shade cloth.
I don't have the right patient personality to grow cacti from seed, so I'm not very wise about birds and bees cactus stuff!
I was still thinking about how to deal with the doors since they are about the same height as my husband and we did not want him hitting his head. The planned exhaust fan on the north wall of the shed could be combined with wet walls in place of a panel or two in the east and west greenhouses if evaporative cooling becomes necessary.
The roof will be three tab asphalt shingles to match our house roof that will be replaced in the next couple months. The external structure will be far enough away to allow removing some of the polycarbonate panels and replacing them with screening in the summer. The trunk is about 10 feet west and 2 feet south of the southwest corner of the planting bed. The raised beds should also provide some insulation to the knee wall for both summer and winter. We will put up the solar electric kit we bought a couple years ago on the south facing roof. The lower branches on the east side of the tree will need to be trimmed a little to allow easy access to the west raised bed. While there may be a little shade in the winter from the tree branches, the summer shade should fall on the south raised bed in the afternoon.
That should be OK for the greenhouses and I hope the shed does not shade the northern yucca too much.
There is a small yucca growing inside the excavation area that I am going to try to transplant.

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