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the diary of a shed

The Diary of a Shed – a reader’s account of their shed build in Tarn et Garonne

We found it online, it looked ideal, a fairly attractive (well, it is a shed), anthracite coloured, 3 x 4m metal shed with a nice tall door able to take our ride-on.  What could possibly go wrong!

Let me set the scene.  I have built a few things before and my other half is an engineer who loves Meccano so you would think we had the right attributes.  The instructions claimed 2 people in 2 to 3 days so, having had the concrete plinth made, we sat back and waited the six weeks for delivery.  Our first clue came when it arrived, the box was surprisingly small.  Excited at the prospect of emptying our barn (to kick start the renovations) into said shed, we found the instructions and the four base pieces of metal. This was the moment of a rude awakening.   The shed was larger than the one we ordered!   Two weeks later and an addition to depth and width on the platform and we were finally ready to begin.

The next clue that this wasn’t going to be quite as easy or straightforward as we had thought was that there were over 770 screws – and that was just one type!  With packets and screws all numbered and panels galore identified and spread out on the lawn, we set to it.

1000s of screws needed to be sorted

Again, we hit a hurdle, the screws that were intended to go through the frame into the concrete were miniscule – the instructions were turning into destructions.  A trip to the hardware shop later and we tried again.  All went well until the first panel was placed in position.  We checked and checked the paper booklet of carefully drawn, but terribly inaccurate, schematics and, for sure, that panel went there but the holes didn’t line up.  New holes were drilled and the first corner was in place.


the diary of a shed and its frustrations

All went well with the next three corners until, out of the blue, the wind got up to 40kph.  Imagine the scene, four flapping corners of metal with a frame like a dinosaur straining at the leash and we knew we were in trouble.  Various poles, string and pieces of wood were quickly attached to secure them whilst we hurriedly added more frame parts to try to help it make it through the night.  We left it as best we could, expecting to find parts all over the garden in the morning.

Surprise!  Somehow, and against all odds, it had survived and we were now set to go build the frame for the roof.  If anyone has worked with metal and screws they will know that getting them square and screwed in tightly is a game in itself – various shoves and tugs were involved in fitting the upper frame, even with a square to check the angles, it just didn’t want to follow its own plans and we are talking over a thousand screws to worry about!  Methodology took over with the parts dept (me) passing, and the fitting dept (my other half) telling me what to hold when necessary and what was needed next.

The wind certainly did blow

What it didn’t mention in the destructions was that there was no way you were going to reach the ridge panels (purlins) unless you were 2.5m tall with arms like a chimpanzee.  Ladders, wood and balancing were not mentioned but were most definitely required!

Day four, yes four, saw the doors going on and, lo and behold, right at the beginning we were instructed to add the runners.  We had done so, absolutely as shown on the diagram and, why were we surprised, in reality one of them had to be the other way round.   This entailed more shoving, some rude words and a fair bit of dismantling before the doors could be positioned.

Building the doors was something that the designers had obviously become bored with and the very few instructions left out the need to position certain parts a certain way.  It wasn’t obvious but engineering skills came to the fore and, with yet more screws found in the garage to replace the ones provided that were, again too small, we were ready to fit.


Next came the window which, unlike the one shown online, is cream and stands out like the moon in a dark sky.   It will be treated to a coat of paint at some stage but, for now, it will have to do.

The shed was built and after another day or so, is now filled to within an inch of its life.  Let’s just hope that the screws in the base hold if there is another storm!


Plus the panels and the parts - quite a project