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Last edited 01 Aug 2019
A shed (in a domestic environmnet sometimes referred to as a ‘garden shed’) is typically a small, free-standing structure that is found in many suburban properties. It is often used for storing tools, lawn mowers and other garden-associated equipment. However, as a space away from the main house, it is frequently put to other uses such as a place for contemplation, for carrying out hobbies and for testing personal inventions.
Usually a wooden structure that is available from most DIY super stores and garden centres, a shed can be erected as a DIY project, generally without requiring planning permission. Dimensions are typically in the region of around 2m high (to the ridge), 1.8m wide and 2m deep. There is usually enough internal headroom for most adults to stand upright without touching the underside of the roof.
Sheds usually have no internal supporting structure – being made up of four, lightweight, pressure-treated shiplap wall panels that are fixed together to form the sides and which support the roof. A hinged door of simple barn-style construction allows entry and exit.
The roof can be made of timber purlins supporting chipboard, marine ply or multi-functional plate (MFP) boards – the latter made from wood residues (from wood processing) that are compressed with moisture-resistant melamine. Waterproofing is usually imparted by single-ply felt tacked around the roof edges or shingles.
The entire structure sometimes sits on an unreinforced concrete base. It may be possible to create a simple base by laying down concrete paving slabs although these may in time suffer from differential settlement.
The average shed has one single-glazed window.
 Other meanings
The word ‘shed’ is also used to describe large warehouse-type structures used for applications such as manufacturing, storage, wholesale/retail centres and so on. Construction typically comprises a steel portal frame covered with cladding such as insulated composite panels, crinkly tin, masonry and so on.
|The American architect Robert Venturi used the term ‘decorated shed’ to describe a contemporary building of purely utilitarian design but fronted with decoration or signs to give it more grandeur and to express its functions. Randy’s Donuts shop (pictured) in the US is a typical example.|
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