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If you don’t feel you can tackle the site preparation you can opt to hire a local landscape contractor. The crushed stone base is now the most widely accepted site preparation for sheds under 400 square feet.
To be sure that your layout is square measure diagonally from corner to corner and be sure these distances are equal. Depending on how high you will be building your base you will need additional timbers to be used as “dead men”. I want it firm enough to resist shifting but NOT so firm that water tends to linger around.
Or maybe a combo of it and a Road-Pack type mix where main runners would sit (if it has them)? I’m uploading some older posts and a section for people to share pictures of their sheds.
Is there a way to use the stone method as a foundation with large roots very near the surface?
If the tree is not dead then you run the risk of having the roots knock the shed out of level over time. You could also dig around the roots the best you can and back fill with the crushed stone however you will still have some leveling issues in the future. I would suggest stoning on top of the roots and then setting the shed on some 2 or 4 inch thick solid concrete blocks. When you get backsplash around the shed from rainwater running off the roof the stone which extends around the perimeter keeps the run off from splashing dirt back onto the side.
Pooling water could be an issue if you get several inches of rain or if the site is in a low lying area but having done thousands of sites using the crushed stone base method I have yet to experience a problem. With the crushed stone base is there any need for runners or will it be ok to just start your floor joists on top of the crushed stone once leveled up?
When I decided I wanted to get involved in astro-photography I soon learned that you really need a solid permanent mount for the scope.
The shed will have a number of requirements, some necessary for astronomy, some necessary for me to maintain it as a shed in case it is no longer used for astronomy, and some are my own personal preferences. Marked out the shed, the roof line (for drainage), center for the main pier and made sure everything was level and square.
Started the run for the underground electric and data to the house but capped it off three meters from the shed. Most of the floor framing as well as the electric and data pipes to the pier are completed.
I decided to make this observatory a little different from other roll off roof observatories. The doors and locks have been installed so the observatory is finally weather proof and secure. Part of the pack I sent to the local planning office to obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development - this certifies that no planning permission is required. Hardcore in place and rebar (reinforcement bar) that will connect the concrete pier to the concrete base. Two guys worked really hard barrowing 4.5 cubic meters of concrete from the lorry into the garden. Wooden formwork removed showing the shed foundation and the physically isolated cubic meter foundations for each pier. The metal ventilation ducting will be later chopped to the right height and filled with concrete to form the piers. The wheels will run along 40mm angle iron and are good quality load bearing wheels with proper bearings because the roof will weigh well over half a tonne.
They help put in place some long lengths of shiplap and the first of 4 flaps becomes operational. Note that the mount is deliberately off-centre because it allows greater travel for the scope before it collides with the concrete pier. A gravel base, expansion joints, a slight curve, and a slope to manage a transition from the driveway to the height desired at the stairs.


This central walkway leads up to and around the front of the house where a new masonry planter box was formed.
The path continues, descending 8' along the side of the house, where it finally meets three adjoining, rounded, patios behind the house - one patio set for a hot tub. Made off-site and carefully cured indoors in a temperature-controlled environment, with locally available dye pigment, with a fine polish. Slowly cured off-site for four weeks, made of white portland, with metal reinforcing inside.
After a good cleaning, a first coat of a light colour is applied everywhere, using an acid-stain. Forming a set of custom-sized blocks, for insertion into a wall, in this case using both white cement and white sand. We removed 30 square feet of concrete floor, dug deeper, and with wire mesh and rebar, set a new floor.
Wet cloth dropsheets during the first two days slowed the initial cure period for a stronger floor.
We used the rough side of cement board as a base for some of the parging, while some was mounted on galvanized wire lathe. In our storage shed buyers guide we discuss site preparation but I am going to go a little more in depth here. For over 18 years we have been recommending this type of site preparation and within the past 2 years more and more towns and municipalities have begun to catch on and recommend this type of base to those applying for shed permits. The water will wash the finer particles through the stone allowing the crushed rock to settle.
The crushed stone will compact well enough to support the building while still allowing for drainage.
Over time they are going to deteriorate and cause the stone and shed to settle and fall out of level. Seems like if you dig a 3 inch hole and fill it with rock, you have a 3 inch deep pool full of rocks, whereas without the hole the water could run down a slope and away from the building. Further, it keeps weeds and grass from growing around the shed which will cause the siding to deteriorate over time. Should landscape cloth (the type that is placed under mulch) be under the gravel to inhibit the growth of weeds around the shed?
This allows the floor to breathe whereas putting the joists directly on the stone will limit airflow. I decided to build a common shed with a roll off roof which has been done many times before within the astronomy community. Overall I wanted the shed to be as solid as possible without any flexing in the floor and for it to last many many years.
The first was by far the most difficult and included all the digging and ground work as well as all the initial site measurements and leveling. The bell shaped base is a Bigfoot Systems BF36 and the Sonotube is 14" (which is recommended with a 10" pier), both of which I had to specially order from a local lumberyard. The third black tube is for a water spicket on the back of the shed which will be tied into the irrigation system. Then laid down a plastic ground cover used on greenhouse floors which I purchased from LittleGreenhouse that allows water and moisture to pass but will help to block weeds from growing. This pier was designed by myself but it was built by a fellow local astronomer Jim Brenek who has been a tool maker for much of his life.
I wanted to make the beams strong enough so that I could be open to various types of roof designs.
Because the load will only be snowfall using 2x4's should not be a problem for the small 4ft span.All of the walls are finally finished and the roof panels are secured. I opted to go with a custom built wedge because the reviews of the Meade models mentioned some issues with vibrations when using stacked scopes.
With that said,starting at the highest corner wrap the string around the bottom of the stake and run it to the lowest stake.
Drill holes through the timbers every 4 feet and rebar the timbers into place using the 4? lengths of rebar.


Eventually, they may push the stone and therefore the shed up causing it to be out of level so keep that in mind.
The second phase was the actual building of the shed walls, roof, doors and installing the necessary ventilation which would make it somewhat functional for astronomy but not quite ready for astro-photography. Later after the L-bolts where set and the concrete had cured it was discovered that this pier company sent me the wrong wooden template (for an 8" pier and not the 10" pier). I did not dig the entire trench to the house, only started it so I could finish the base of the shed.
The cuts for the pier in the center boards will be completed once the metal pier is in place.
This gave it more of a post and beam look which I liked in other similar designs I have seen.
I also wanted to have the option of easily removing the beams and leaving the outer skin of the shed intact. When the observatory is compleated this might be irrelevent because it will all be tied into the house security system as well as some of my own systems.
I also had trouble finding larger 3rd party wedges or I was not impressed with the designs. For instance if you are creating a elevated stone pad for a 10?x16? shed you would first add 2? to the length and width then add the four sides together. For larger bases you may want to add “dead men” which are timbers which run perpendicular to the outer timbers to help keep the from moving however since the outer timbers are set in the ground the dead men are not entirely necessary.
The final phase included the wiring of electric, data, security some automation and the final the installation of the scope.
This was also a convenient way to get rid of a bunch of rocks I had collected while digging. To remove the beams all I would need to do is cut the angle iron track with a Sawzall and remove four carriage bolts. This plastic roofing in its current configuration is rated to hold around 50lbs sqft which should be fine for my area.
At this point all exterior construction is finally finshed and most of the exterior has been primed and sealed for the winter. I did not rent any equipment to save some cash but also doubt that a common earth auger could have helped anyway. I recommend purchasing your own L-bolts from McMaster Carr which I list part numbers in my pier design. The walls are also taller than most observatories, but after much thought I believe it to be necessary to help block local light pollution. At the lowest point measure from the string to the ground and add 4″ to this distance. I also wanted the observatory to remain as much like a traditional shed as possible in case we sell the house. Since this is the lowest area of the site this is where you will be excavating the least digging down only 4 inches. I did run into alot of warping wood and hope that once the weight of the roof is applied some lag bolts will put things back in line. At the highest point of the site you will be digging down until you have excavated enough to create a flat surface to receive the stone. As luck would have it the tops of the blocks were exactly level.Left over from a previous stenciled driveway project 12 years ago, I had a roll of mock herringbone stencil. The concrete was a little faster than we were so I now have a few areas with a distressed brick look. It adds to the rustic character.Two weeks later I had a truck load of lumber delivered and picked up some heavy timbers at a nearby saw mill.



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Author: admin | 24.04.2014 | Category: Simple Shed Plans


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