Monday, August 6, 2012

Two Geezers and a Shed!


The garden shed in its original place was too far from the house to be useful.
When we purchased our house back in 2004, it came with an 8 x 10 foot garden shed about 180 feet behind the house, which is about half way down to the lake. In this position, it was too far from the house and garage to store garden tools and it was too far from the lake to be used as storage for boating equipment. We’ve used it to store tomato cages and some little-used tools like a posthole digger. We had not removed the stuff left over from the previous owner—gallons of partially used paint, a pickup truck toolbox, PVC pipe leftover from various projects, a non-working pump, and other junk.

Clearing out the new space for the shed. we took out the vines,
shrubs and a couple of small trees.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I figured out a new location for the shed that would bring it much closer to the garage. The shed is built on wooden skids and my husband looked up the weight of metal sheds this size (between 300 and 400 pounds), so we figured that we should be able to move it.  But first we had to clear out the shrubs and small trees from the new location and some low branches that would be in the way during the transit. That took a couple of days.

We took the paint to the hazardous waste dump. Then we emptied the shed and put the stuff we didn’t have any use for out on the curb on a Saturday. Not an hour later a guy trolling the neighborhood, put all the stuff, including the big truck toolbox, in his truck--all while he was talking on his cell phone.

Jacking up the front of the shed to place PVC pipe
under the skids.
On the day of the move, my husband dug a hole under the front center of the shed so there would be enough space to put one piece of 2x6 under  the automotive floor jack. The lumber provided a solid bed in the sandy soil for the jack.  Once the front of the shed was jacked up, we slipped three lengths of PVC pipe cross-wise under the skids. 
Threading the braided rope through the holes in the skids.
Now front of the shed was up on pipes, which allowed the skids to slide with less friction. We removed the jack and it was time to start towing. We threaded a heavy, braided rope through the holes in the skids. We were underway--albeit very slowly!

Making our way slowly to the shed's final destination.
As the shed moved along on the pipes, I drove the van while my husband carried the pipes to the front of the shed so the front would not dip to the soil level. It was a slow trek until the shed was adjacent to its final destination.

Now we were ready to pull the back of the shed into
place. The van pulled from the other side of the trees.
At this point, we tied the rope to the back of the shed and pulled it back into place. We knew that the new spot was fairly level, but it turned out to be perfectly level. Cool!


Lifting the back of the shed to place the heavy cement
blocks under the skids.
While the the skids were at ground level before, we wanted more clearance to provide better airflow under the shed. We loaded the heavy blocks, which were used as footings, from the original spot into a wheelbarrow, took them to the new location. To put them in place, we got out the jack again to lift the front of the shed and then the back. By the time we finished putting the blocks in place and rechecking the level, it had taken more than three hours for the actual move. And we call it a day!

Perfectly level!
In the next few days we had several follow-up jobs.
1) We smoothed out the old shed location and we’ll let Mother Nature take it over, unless invasives like Chinese tallow trees, taro or wedelia move in.  I’ll remove those.
2) We put a cinderblock step in place and four stepping-stones and then spread arborist’s woodchips in the area.
3) We transferred the tools from the garage and the pots from the garden bench area.
4) We also decided to move the potting bench area away from garage wall. Time will tell if this works out.
5) I had also started to build a compost pile near the new shed site, but I decided that it was a little too close to the shed, so I moved it. Before I remulched the area in front of the shed, I removed much of the old mulch that had turned into soil, which I added this to the new compost pile as well.

We cleaned the shed inside and out.
The pots can now be stored out of the weather AND out of the garage.
The trays and tubs will keep the floor clean and keep the tools in place.
Between the compost pile and the mulched area is a natural growth of a couple of cinnamon ferns.  We avoided walking in their small swale during the clearing and the move, but most of their fronds were broken during this project.  I’ve given them some extra water and some compost and I'm happy to see that new fronds are growing. Having a fern garden there will dress up the area.  Before, they were hidden away behind vines and other vegetation.

The new potting bench area is next to the shed. Between where I took this photo and the potting bench are a couple of naturally growing cinnamon ferns next to the three tree trunks--their fronds were broken off during all the clearing and other activities in this area, but new fronds have already started growing. They'll add a nice touch.
It’s been about two weeks since all this was completed and so far it has been quite functional, as we’ve moved on to other garden projects and it has made a big difference in the garage—both in neatness and space.

Just behind the garage, the shed has now become useful.  Yay!!
I’ve seen some photos of and articles about frilly sheds with lacy daybeds, shelves of books, icy drinks and white mosquito netting tied artfully around the doorway. Not this shed—this is a working gardener’s handy storage place and finally it's useful.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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