A garden shed can serve as a storage place for garden tools as well as a place of rest and relaxation. Depending on your taste and budget, a garden shed can be built in almost any garden. If you are thinking of building a garden shed and thus giving your garden that certain something, you should take a closer look at it in advance. In many cases, the dream quickly turns into a nightmare. The following guide + bonus at the end of the article should serve as a source of information and help to identify certain mistakes early or not to make them at all.
1. Thinking of the building permit?
You create your garden house according to your own wishes and ideas. An unwanted neighbor walks past the garden and files a complaint because he suspects that the building was done without a building permit. He is probably right. Next, the responsible authority comes up to you and requests the demolition of the garden house. The work done and the money invested are then gone. This is not only annoying, but in most cases it also makes the house blessing go wrong.
Solution: Before you start building a garden shed, you should find out about the local regulations. In Germany, almost nothing works without an approval process. In this case, this means that you need a building permit to build something in your garden, namely a garden house. Since this field is processed differently from state to state, no general solution can be offered here. While you can build up to 50m² in one federal state without a permit, other federal states require an application for a permit even with 30m³ of excavated soil.
The responsible office, where you can get all the important information, is the building office. Here you get important information such as the minimum distance to the neighboring property and so on.
A building permit is usually not required, but if it does, there is usually nothing to prevent it, you just have to apply for it. Here, however, comes the next point that has to be considered. A building permit application must normally be submitted by a sufficiently qualified author. For example, a qualified author is an architect. So you are well advised to go to an architect of your choice and have the required applications filled out by him. He knows his way around and can give you tips in advance. You can find out more about the local requirements from your building authority.
2. Wrong foundation chosen.
The building application has been approved and you put your garden shed on the green lawn. After two or three winters and a few autumn storms, there is only a heap of wood left over from the house.
There is no need to mention that this is very annoying. The cause of the premature decay is usually the missing or incorrectly built foundation on which the garden house stands. Hardly any garden owner is also a specialist in the manufacture of foundations and knows that the foundation is one of the most important things in the garden house.
A suitable foundation is a prerequisite for success.
Solution: If you want to build the foundation yourself, in addition to the garden house, you should inform yourself about the different types so as not to be disappointed afterwards. The foundation on which the garden house should stand is the most important thing because it is the basis for the house. Depending on the later use, different options for the foundation come into question. If you only want to keep the rake, spade and other tools, it is enough to straighten the soil and compact it a bit. However, it is advisable to dig out the size of the planned foundation and fill the hole with gravel, even with this type of use. Then concrete slabs are placed on this gravel bed, on which the house can finally stand. This type of foundation is also called slab foundation. The advantage is the quick and easy production.
If the garden house is larger than a tool shed and the floor is very soft, you should think about a foundation plate. To do this, fill the excavated hole with concrete and add so-called test mats that prevent the concrete from tearing. These are mats that were welded together from individual iron bars like a grid. The loads that the house brings with it are very well distributed over the entire foundation.
If the loads are to be diverted via the walls, strip foundations are used. As the name suggests, the concrete is poured into strips under the later walls. The point foundation should be mentioned as the last form of foundation. Here, the concrete is placed selectively. Later, the stamps that stabilize the garden house are placed on these foundation points.
3. Wood is not just wood!
The foundation is ready, the house has been set up. After a while you can see how the boards that make up the house start to tear and the house begins to live an unsightly life of its own. The problem was probably the neglect of wood properties.
The solution: pay attention to the quality of the wood used BEFORE buying!
In addition to the countless positive properties of wood, e.g. Elasticity, resilience, sustainability there are also a few peculiarities that must be observed. Wood swells and wood shrinks. The urge of the wood to constantly adapt to the air humidity that surrounds it forces it to absorb or release moisture permanently.
It follows that the volume of the wood is constantly changing. A board can be narrower on a dry day than on a damp, foggy day. During long periods of drought, cracks in the wood can occur. Usually, these cracks close again in a humid climate. These cracks are permitted in the standard according to DIN 4047 if they do not affect the statics and durability. When buying the wood, you should therefore note that you buy higher quality wood so that you do not have to live with too large changes in the wood afterwards.
The quality of the wood plays an important role in the construction of the garden house.
But what is high quality wood? The wood that Gartenhaus GmbH uses for garden houses comes exclusively from sustainably managed forest areas in the far north of Europe. Overall, the climate is cooler there, the winters are very cold. In this cold, the trees grow more slowly, which results in better wood quality compared to the faster growing wood from warmer latitudes. The high-quality Nordic spruce wood, which we use exclusively for our products, is also used a lot in sauna construction. It is mechanically stable, very easy to work with and has a longer shelf life than ordinary spruce wood – just the thing for long-lasting garden houses.
4. Do not just build, but also preserve it!
After the garden house stands and was built with good wood, after a while the beautiful wood changes to a gray, unsightly material.
The solution: care! A simple word, which is not always so easy to implement. Mosses and algae settle on moist areas. Dust combined with rain brings dirt stains with it. Wood needs maintenance and that at regular intervals. The care is done by first removing surface dirt. That means cobwebs, dust, bird droppings and so on must be removed first. Old, inferior paint should also be cleaned with an orbital sander. Once you have completed this preparatory work, the next step is to paint the selected color. When choosing the color, make sure that the breathing of the wood is not impaired. There are special open-pore colors for this.
Wood protection glazes and colors protect the wood from UV radiation and moisture and prevent the penetration of fungi such as mold.
5. Not painted properly?
After a while, the windows and doors warped so that they are difficult to operate. After all, a subsequent purchase is inevitable.
Solution: “Care” is the magic word here too. Care is top priority for doors and windows. When painting, you have to make sure that you paint both the inside and the outside. If you ignore this, sooner or later an unpleasant effect will appear. The doors and windows warp.
6. botch on the roof
On a rainy day, you sit in the garden shed with coffee and find that drops of water come into the cup from above. A look up brings the sobering realization that the roof of the house is leaking.
Solution: Covering a roof requires a little preparation. Simply screw the roof boards together and hope that everything goes well, unfortunately does not work. In most cases, the roof of a garden shed is covered with cardboard shingles. These are reasonably priced, easy to work with and look good on top of that. A hot tip for roofing: EPDM roofing films – and your garden house stays permanently dry!
First you nail a sanded underlayer to the wooden roof. In the roofing business or hardware store, the role can be bought quite cheap. Once you have laid the sheets, so-called gutter hook-in plates are attached to the edges of the roof, which run horizontally. These aluminum sheets ensure that the rainwater does not run under the cardboard due to the capillary action, but drips along the sheet into the gutter or directly onto the floor. On the sides where the roof is pointed upwards, the so-called verges, you can attach verge plates, which you can also buy ready-made in a specialty shop. The next step is to start nailing the roofing shingles from bottom to top. Different manufacturers specify different processing guidelines here, but these are usually printed on the packaging. Finally, a ridge sheet is placed on the ridge of the roof.
7. Statics and weight not taken into account
For ecological and perhaps also aesthetic reasons, the decision was made to green the roof and it must now be found that the weight of the roof is too large for the garden shed.
Solution: As with most problems, this problem can only be prevented by dealing with the topic beforehand. Extensive green roofs weigh around 120kg / m², whereas intensive green roofs add up to around 400kg / m². Green roofs that are up to 20 cm high are referred to as “extensive” – for example herbs, mosses or low shrubs. Extensive greening is the easier-care type of greening and is therefore used more often. As a counterpart, there is the “intensive greening”, which allows structures up to 40 cm high. Shrubs, shrubs and even smaller trees are used here. The intensive greening only makes sense up to roof slopes of up to 3 °, since the water drains off too quickly on larger slopes.
8. No light comes on?
Birthday. One decides to use the beautiful summer weather and to have the birthday party in the garden house. You invite the guests and prepare everything. Shortly before the guests arrive, you notice that there is no music or lighting. And what’s worse: there is no power connection!
Solution: Powering the garden shed is not witchcraft, but you have to follow certain regulations to protect your health and the garden shed.
If you do not want to constantly use cable drums and extension cables, you should think about laying an underground cable. This underground cable is permanently laid from a fuse outlet of the house through the ground to the garden house and is brought to the fuses in a small distribution box.
The right lighting makes the garden shed seem even more cozy.
In any case, the advice of a qualified electrician must be obtained if you are not familiar with the standards of electrical engineering. Fires due to short circuits etc. or even health-endangering effects due to improper use of electricity are not uncommon and must be avoided at all costs. The small distribution box can now contain the various back-up fuses for lighting and sockets.
Alternatively, you can also supply yourself with ecological electricity using solar panels that are mounted on the roof. However, expert support should also be requested here.
9. Stayed dry
After the birthday party you want to put out the bonfire and realize that you have forgotten to think about a water supply in addition to the electricity.
Solution: Similar to the power supply, a water pipe can be easily laid through the ground to the garden shed. However, care must be taken to use a rustproof pipe suitable for drinking water. The pipe should be DVGW tested. You should also ensure that the installation is frost-proof. Therefore, lay the pipe at least 0.5 meters underground, as from this depth it is very unlikely that the pipe will freeze due to the floor temperature of an average of ten degrees Celsius. If you want to be on the safe side, check with a local civil engineering company about the minimum depth required in your area. Alternatively, the pipe can be wrapped with an insulating protective layer, but this is accompanied by an increase in the price.
In addition to the supply of drinking water, the collection of “process water” using a rain barrel should also be considered.
This ancient horticultural tradition finds many friends again for good reasons. Self-sufficiency with irrigation water saves considerable water fees, and it is more environmentally friendly than the use of pure drinking water, which is extracted from the landscape somewhere or processed in a complex manner. Rainwater is also good for plants because it is lime-free, softer and warmer than the cold water from the pipeline. In rainy days and weeks, water collects in the rain barrel for the hot, dry times – it would be a shame not to use this free source! And it’s always enough to extinguish a campfire!
10. Insurance? Garden shed? Does that fit together?
You come home from your annual vacation and find that the garden house has broken open and all the equipment has been stolen.
Insure garden shed Solution: insure garden shed correctly! Normally, if the garden house is on the same property as the house, it is also covered by household insurance. For security reasons, however, you should explicitly include it in the contract. The garden house itself, as well as the objects inside, is protected against damage from fire, hail, storm, tap water or burglary.
If the garden shed is located on a separate piece of land, insurance must be sought specifically for the garden shed. If you are a member of a garden association, the first point of contact is the association board. If you have built the garden house on a separate private property, thorough Internet research helps to find a suitable insurance. Different comparison calculators provide very good information about contributions and benefits from the various insurance providers.
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