It happens slowly, after all it’s just a walk behind lawn mower, but it takes a really long time to mow the lawn that way and who wants to mow for hours, so a lawn tractor makes sense, right? And what about those snow tires for the wife’s car? You have to put them somewhere when the roads are clear. Of course when the snow gets deep you need a snow blower and if you park it next to the mower and tractor it won’t be in the way. Of course there are a few things like rakes and shovels, too, but this handy cart will keep those off to the side, you won’t even notice them. And so it goes. My garage space was steadily disappearing as one thing after another laid claim to previously open territory, turning the garage into a sort of disorganized storage locker, so I decided to build a shed and reclaim what was once a pretty roomy work area.
You can buy all sorts of pre-built sheds, but I wasn’t happy with the way they looked and how they were made so I hired some help to stick build something that would last. It’s 10X16, sitting on a concrete slab with a man door in the front and a garage door on the end. The walls are 8 foot high inside and I still have to add some hooks and hangers for the garden tools but in the meantime those are stored on the rolling cart I was using in the garage. Overall, the shed is sturdy, watertight and just what I needed.
When the basic shed was finally finished, I ran a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit from the house, burying it in the ground with 12/2 underground feeder cable inside underground conduit, I know, belt and suspenders, but I’m that kinda guy. I installed 5 outlets and two 4 foot LED lights, which is plenty, but simply saying I buried the cable doesn’t tell the whole story. The ground around our house is more stone than dirt and the trenching shovel hit a big rock pretty much every time I dug in, so I needed a pick to break everything up and dislodge the stone. I would have rented a trenching machine, but we have a couple of underground gas lines in the same area so I went the manual route. Sixty feet from wall to wall, the last 8 feet under a flagstone walkway and it took 3 and 1/2 days of really hard and steady work from beginning to lights on, and this was my first reality check. In the last 20 or 30 years, I’ve gotten older. I can still dig and run wiring, but it takes a couple of days afterwards to get back up to speed. Note to self, add recovery time to any project when estimating how long it will take. The endless energy of youth is in somewhat shorter supply.
For those of you contemplating a shed, build one bigger than you think you need. They fill up fast, mine is holding a lot right now, much of what’s in that picture at the beginning of this article, and when winter comes, it will be packed. There’s deck furniture which will need a home plus a 10X12 gazebo that screws to the deck that isn’t designed to withstand winters in our area that will be disassembled and stored inside. Yes, the shed could have, and perhaps, should have, been bigger. Moving day was great, marching things out of the garage and putting them in the shed had me smiling all the while, though I quickly saw how small a 10X16 shed really is.
When everything was moved and I sat down in the garage to survey my new and more spacious surroundings, I was really pleased, but at the same time, feeling nostalgic. I was listening to the 60s on 6 on Sirius radio, experiencing vivid flashbacks and wondering what I would have done with space like this when I was in my teens instead of working on my Mustang out in the cold. How many men of a certain age experience similar thoughts when they sit in their garage? Quite a few I’d bet, and it underscores how fast time passes and why waiting for all of those things we think we need before starting those big projects just makes it far more likely we’ll never begin. Don’t wait, just get to it wherever you are with whatever you have. If those other things come along later, fine, if not, you’re on your way anyway.
I’ve already put this recovered space to good use, taking on a few projects since the shed was done and we’ll get into that next.