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Green

How To Build Your Own Eco-Shed

Tuesday, December 03, 2013   by: Greener Ideal
shed roof

Photo by Stuart Heath

It can be a daunting task to build your own eco-shed alone, but it can be done. Using products that have been recycled can help create a garden shed that both interesting and earth-friendly. Additionally, many of these products can transform an existing structure into the ideal eco-shed.

In preparing to build your eco-shed, you should consider what kind of base it needs. Let’s face it: concrete is not all that eco-friendly. In fact, even in production, concrete creates a list of air pollutants including, dust, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide. Most of the time, concrete bases are also permanent.

In choosing a base that is less permanent, faster laid and more importantly makes a lighter environmental impact.

Secondly, but equally as important, is an eco-friendly roof. This is called a living or green roof that helps insulate what is inside it from extreme temperatures. It keeps objects warm in the winter, yet cool in the summer. One possible roofing choice could be sedum, which is tough, drought resistant and serves to support a healthy range of wildlife.

But first, start with the base. For the problem of weeds growing up through the shed’s bade, you can use a recycled weedblock (can be purchased from Easy Gardner) and is made from plastic bottles that have been recycled. There is special tiled flooring available and also creating an instant base using Hawklok, or tiles that interlock. These interlocked tiles are made from recyclable polypropylene and they can be added or taken up with extreme ease. There are kits for these tiles, with information on how to make sure there is good drainage. For cavities that could exist in the tiles, a recycled aggregate will help fill those.

The shed itself is a big factor in how eco-friendly your structure really is. Using second hand or recycled timber is one way to ensure you have a solid structure. You can refer to the website FreeCycle for more products that can be used. The site also can help you located an unused shed.

When preserving the timber, it is important to remember to keep it dry. Even if your shed should be sheltered by the roof, wood can often dry up and be in need of painting. There is a recommended product on the market called Protek Wood Protector that would work great in preserving the timber of your structure.

By adding a canopy, you can ensure that your eco-shed can fully handle the weight of a sedum roof. Green roofs are too heavy for normal sheds and the shed needs to be altered some to support that extra weight. That means that your main supports must be strong because a green roof can shift over time and possible break windows and other glass. A separate green roof canopy to place the shed under should solve this potential problem. By using FSC-approved timber posts, your structure can be sound because they are bolted into the ground.

A platform for the sedum is needed and heavy duty plywood can make it up. Local community wood-recycling depots collecting wasted wood will re-sell it at a much lower price than if you were to try to buy some plywood new.

Additional information about building your eco-shed:

  • Separate your timber roof from any water retention mat of the sedum to stop it from becoming wet or waterlogged;
  • Remember, a living roof made of sedum is lighter and also an attractive source of nectar for insects;
  • Sloping roofs need carpet tiles that are laid over water retention mats; flat roofs also need special drainage mats
  • Chicken wire is good to hold the sedum in place around the open edge of the roof
  • Use solar lights for security (because of its 30 superbright LEDs and strong battery life)
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