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Before you buy: Choosing garden sheds - North Country Sheds / Ottawa Citizen
Garden sheds have come a long way from the days of simple metal storage structures. Today’s sheds are multi-purpose, storing outdoor supplies, vehicles and even doubling as an indoor workshop.
If you’re in the market for something to store all your outdoor toys, Aaron MacDonald of North Country Sheds in Lanark County (northcountrysheds.com) shares his tips.
Start with size: It matters, MacDonald says. The size you need will depend on how you’ll use it. Will you simply store gardening supplies or will you house special equipment such as ATVs, Ski-doos or a classic car?
When deciding on size, make a list of all the items you want to store, taking into consideration lighting, roof height and ventilation if you’re planning to use your shed for more than storage, say, as a workshop, for example.
Exterior finish: There are many options, from basic metal to vinyl and rustic log cabin siding. Wood sheds can be painted to complement your house, although these do require more maintenance than vinyl. Metal sheds are the most basic option and come in galvanized steel or aluminum, but some maintenance is required to protect against rust. Metal sheds also dent the easiest.
North Country Sheds supplies vinyl, log siding or LP smart board (an engineered wood siding that resembles board and batten). About 10-per-cent cheaper than vinyl and with a 50-year warranty, LP smart board has become a popular option for homeowners looking for a long-lasting, durable shed, MacDonald says.
For those wanting a more rustic look, log siding is an option, albeit the most expensive. This thick siding gives the look of a log cabin.
Design: Many homeowners choose to match the design of the shed to the look of the house. In addition to colour, MacDonald advises homeowners to match the shape of their home’s roof to the roof of the shed for consistency. The most popular style in the Ottawa area is the “cottage”, which MacDonald says matches most roof peaks.
Preparing your yard: To give your shed a solid foundation, MacDonald recommends removing trees, shrubs and large stones out of the area where the shed will go and adding four to six inches of crushed stone, making sure to level it off.
The crushed stone helps to keep rain water that runs down the side of the shed away from its foundation. Crushed stone also allows for air flow and, unlike patio stones, you won’t get weeds or grass growing through.
And to help with moisture control, it’s a good idea to builde the shed up off the ground. (North Country builds theirs atop four-by-four pressure treated lumber.)
If you’re building your own shed using a kit without a wooden floor, you will also need to lay a concrete pad.
Research bylaws: Check zoning bylaws, which may limit the distance your shed can be from your house and property lines. In Ottawa, any shed over 108 square feet (10 by 10 feet) requires a permit.