The Workshop

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When we moved here we inherited a couple of typical, dilapidated garden sheds; You know the kind of thing — low ceiling height, flimsy , drafty, damp, peeling roof felt and about as style-free as possible. I guess if a shed is simply a dumping ground for miscellaneous junk then the typical DIY store affair is adequate. But to me a shed isn’t just a shed – it’s part of the garden and should be as carefully considered as any other part of the garden design. It should be a thing of lasting value, both aesthetically and practically.

Anyway, our sheds needed replacing and relocating, which presented me with the irresistable opportunity to design and build yet another garden building! (See the Woodshed, Greenhouse and Cabin too).

Purpose of the Workshop

The ‘shed’ I designed contains three internal rooms to serve a range of functions:

  • A garden office room in the central section looks out over the garden and contains garden furniture and ample cupboards. It is used as an informal office and project room, but can quickly be configured as a garden room for evening meals or as a sitting area during a garden party, or as a den for teen sleep-overs.
  • A potting shed at the north end is used to store garden tools close to the vegetable garden, but also houses a freezer and open shelves for storing garden produce.
  • A woodwork shed at the south end contains basic woodworking tools for the kind of DIY projects I do around the garden and home.

The external styling is based on a local vernacular with black clapboards with contrasting white windows and doors. Similar features can be seen on many local country buildings e.g. on the Goodwood estate. The colours harmonise with the other garden buildings (The Greenhouse and Cabin)

The design includes plenty of eco-features, including a green roof, local grown timber for the cladding and sheepswool insulation. This is one of the most structuraly ambitious DIY projects I have undertaken. You can read more about it below:

Further Reading

Workshop design & construction

Design Considerations
Creating the Base
Walls and Rafters
The Green Roof
External Cladding

The Workshop: 1 2 3 4 5 6 |  Design »

7 thoughts on “The Workshop”

  1. An amazing building just built one myself, and wish I had seen your blog. It details a few areas which I could have improved on, especially on the roof. One small thing, you mention planning, and having a flat pent roof vs the pitched. I do disagree that the pent roof has more of an impact, if you slope the pent roof the other way in your diagram. i.e. have the lower end up against the fence, this does minimize the impact on the neighbors, it also add height for your doors and allows rain to drain to the rear. However lovely building and very well done, really like the cladding and black finish.

  2. Very nice build, and amazingly a very similar design/structure to what I am planning (in my head) for my new shed/wood store in 2016. Mine will be half workshop and half wood store. Thanks for the details around the cladding, as I will be doing something similar. And I’m glad you used the corrugated boards at the back, as this is what I was also thinking to do to save time and money. If it’s ok with you, I will use you work as a bit of a template for my project. Thanks again for publishing your self-build project, as it’s given me confidence that something that I would like to do can work!

  3. hi having read you complte post i wanted to ask how have the corrugated boards held up over time any water ingress or sagging? also can i ask what type of breathable membrane did you use and what did you use for the inside of the building?

    • Hi Wing It, thanks for dropping by. The corrugated boards have held up well. They have twisted a little where they overlap as I placed the fixings about 6inches in from the edge. It’s cosmetic only but being at the back it doesn’t show. The building has remained totally waterproof – Not a hint of damp :). The membrane was Tyvek (I think) – but any standard breathable modern roofing membrane will do. For the interior walls I used 9mm MDF. The problem with sheet coverings are the joints between boards look ugly, so I routed vertical v grooves to create the impression of wide tongue and grove boards, the joint between boards is routed to look like another V grove, effectively disguising the sheet material. Hope that helps. Any other questions just ask.

  4. Hi Keir,

    It’s been a long time since you wrote all this, but since your pages helped me a lot design and build my small summerhouse, I wanted to thank you for posting all this information and more importantly: photos!

    I wish I could share some of photos of mine directly in here, but here’s one of many I posted on my instagram account during the build:

    I now have all the garden design and landscaping to do. More back breaking work, but I sure am going to check your other pages for inspiration!

    All the best
    Matt, Farnham, Surrey.


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