It you have several bulky items that you want to keep close to your yard, consider purchasing an outdoor storage shed. An outdoor storage shed is ideal for housing a lawn mower, rakes, garden hoses, sprinklers, shovels, fertilizers, and other garden tools. These small sheds are built to withstand the elements and to provide non-climate-controlled storage inside.
A small storage shed can keep valuable tools safe.
One of the things to keep in mind when planning for a shed is that many communities have regulations pertaining to sheds. These requirements concern such details as where a shed can and can't be located, its size, and possibly its appearance.
As you plan for a shed, think in terms of aesthetics as well as function. Sheds can be purchased in natural woods, such as cedar, which is rot-resistant (although it does require maintenance). Some materials, such as steel, are prone to rust, while aluminum is far more durable. Likewise, if you choose to purchase a shed with vinyl siding, make sure that you invest in a high-quality product so that the siding will not warp over time.
Before purchasing a shed, you'll need to answer the following questions:
What elements and other conditions will your shed be exposed to?
What will you be storing in your shed?
Do the contents of your shed need to be kept in a water-free environment?
Does the shed need to be temperature controlled?
Will the shed require electricity?
Based on what you need to store, how large must the shed be?
Where on your property will the shed be installed?
Storage sheds are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and orientations: horizontal or vertical, top or front-loading, with lifting or sliding roofs. They are generally simple to assemble and require little or no maintenance. The greatest challenge they might pose (like your garage) is the challenge of keeping the items within them organized. It can be tempting, with any space that is rarely seen, to let clutter accumulate and chaos reign. If you know that you tend to toss random items into your closets inside the house, you might want to avoid purchasing a shed, as it could present further temptations to you. To find out more about specific shed options, see Appendix A at the back of this book.
Sheds can be placed on several different types of foundations. A shed can be placed on a 3- to 4-inch bed of crushed stone. If the site is soft or you want protection from frost, use a pier foundation with pressure-treated columns on concrete footings. Sheds can also be placed on concrete or stone patios.
Because your shed is a semi-permanent structure, you'll want to take care when choosing a location for it. It must be level, and you want to be sure that the ground around the shed drains properly so that you do not flood your shed. Also, keep in mind that any door on a shed should have adequate clearance for storing your largest items, such as a lawn mower.
Organizing the Interior of Your Shed
In addition to your lawn mower, leaf blower, long-handled gardening equipment, bicycles, and other large items, you'll find that a shed is also ideal for storing smaller items such as gardening tools. Place these smaller items on shelves or in a place where they're easily accessible — make sure, for example, that you won't have to move your lawn mower every time you want to retrieve a garden tool. Keep the items you'll only use once a month in the back of the shed, where they won't be as easily accessible. As you arrange items in your shed, continually ask yourself how often you'll need access to each item and organize the space accordingly.
To make the most of your storage shed, you can install a pegboard or hooks along the walls. This will let you store things so that they are easy to spot and retrieve and easy to replace. Keep storage as hassle free as possible and you will be less inclined to avoid putting things in their proper locations.
Because the shed provides extra storage, be vigilant about what you place in there. You may find yourself tempted to place items in there that you will never use again, such as broken tools and cracked flower pots. Throw out things that break immediately so that you won't have the extra burden of trying to sort through them later on. Also, you'll want to be able to see all of the things in your shed so that you don't end up rushing out to the store to replace something you already own.
Caring for Your Tools
Your garden tools are costly and can rust and warp over time if they're not cared for properly. Take care to clean these tools before the winter. You can do this by running each tool under water and drying it completely, or passing the tool through a bucket of sand. You can also keep rust at bay by applying linseed oil to the tools.
Your lawn mower also needs attention at the end of summer and before winter sets in. You'll want to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the blades.
Terra cotta pots are also prone to mold. In order to prevent mold, be sure to give them a good cleaning before winter. After you've removed their contents, scrub the pots and then soak them overnight in a solution that is ﬁ cup bleach to a gallon of water to wipe-out mold. Be sure to rinse and dry them completely before you store them. Also, mold hates sunlight. After you've had a chance to soak and dry them, leave the empty pots in a hot, sunny corner of your deck or patio as an extra precautionary measure.
Martha Stewart suggests that you can cleverly recycle sturdy old rake heads by hanging them high on a wall of your home or storage shed. From the rake head, you can hang a variety of small garden tools. She also says that you can neatly store your hose by purchasing a large metal bucket, drilling holes in the bottom of it, and attaching this item to the side of your home — you can stash your sprinkler or different hose heads inside of the bucket.