Homeowners often wonder if they can place a garden shed on grass. They lack confidence in installing a shed due to concerns about potential damage to the lawn or sinking of the structure, which they have heard from others. In addition, setting up a shed requires a substantial amount of effort, and the only outcome of this effort is to have a place to store some tools. In this article, I’ll provide you with all the information that you need to know about placing a garden shed on grass.
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Can I put garden shed on grass?
Most experts agree that you shouldn’t put a garden shed on grass. The reason most people don’t recommend it is that placing a wooden shed directly on grass is likely to damage the shed over time. Placing a garden shed on grass could result in issues such as moisture damage, rust, rot, and even structural damage. It’s worth noting that doing so poses a risk to the shed and its contents.
Why is putting a garden shed on grass not recommended?
Well, garden sheds are normally made from metal, wood, or plastic. No matter which of these materials the shed is made of, if you put it on the grass directly, it will incur damage. You should always put your garden shed on a base and avoid putting it directly on the grass for the following reasons:
The ground will shift
When the ground is wet, it becomes slippery; this turns out to be a major concern if the shed is placed directly on the ground. The shed’s weight will certainly press down on the ground. Well, this is fine if the weather is good. But in the case of adverse weather, this could turn out to be an issue.
If the soil in your garden or lawn is not compacted before you install the shed, it will start shifting with the first rain. The air pockets underneath the grass tend to give way due to the weight of the shed, making it lean. Over time, the rain will also cause considerable damage to your shed.
As it rains, water mixes with the soil and fills in the air pockets, creating mud. Then, the mud shifts, and the pressure of the shed makes it slide. Eventually, the shed will sink into the mud.
The shed deteriorates over time
If your garden shed is made from metal or wood, it’s a bad idea to leave it exposed directly to the ground. It’s mainly because the bottom part of the shed will be exposed to moisture constantly. The grass and ground tend to retain as much moisture as they can. So, the retained moisture in the ground, coupled with the weight of the shed, is likely to leave the bottom part of the shed wet for long periods. Let’s take a look at how this will affect the various types of wooden and metal sheds below.
Plastic sheds: It’s actually a better idea to have a plastic shed in your garden because plastic is waterproof. However, plastic sheds are more prone to damage from the sun and sinking than moisture.
The weight of the plastic shed will make the ground shift, and the shed sink. Eventually, this will damage the shed’s structural integrity. The sun will weaken plastic over time. Moreover, plastic will start to become brittle and crack when exposed to rain constantly. However, this may take a few years.
Metal sheds: Metal sheds are susceptible to rusting, especially the bottom part. The constant moisture in the ground is the reason the metal rusts over time. Obviously, the rust will oxidize the metal, and the pieces will break off. Consequently, the metal shed itself will lean and shift, and its structural integrity will be compromised.
Wooden sheds: Wooden sheds are typically made from wood that has been pressure treated. /Pressure-treated lumber,-treated wood is likely to last a long time, as pesticides are added to it. These not only keep wood-eating bugs away but also protect the wood from contact with mold, moisture, and rot. While this appears like a dream material, it only works if the wood isn’t exposed to wet conditions on a constant basis.
As time passes, the wood will start to get moldy and rot. Moreover, wet conditions cause the wood to expand and bend. You’ll finally end up with a shed that appears more like a leaning tower than a garden shed.
What kind of base is required for a shed?
Now that we’ve established that putting your shed on the grass directly is not a good idea, you may want to know the best and most common options for your new shed foundation. Well, there are a variety of shed foundation options, however, I’ve discussed some of the most common options here.
Concrete bases are the most expensive base choices. While concrete bases are durable, reliable, and long-lasting, they don’t have adequate drainage. So, in many cases, they’re not worth the money.
If you’re looking for a practical and inexpensive way to create a base for your shed and safeguard it from wet conditions, a skid foundation is a good bet. A skid foundation uses 4×4 wooden beams, lumber or skids that are pressure treated. Skids not only protect the shed by elevating it off the ground but also make it easily transportable. The downside of skid foundations is that they are likely prone to sinking and so experts suggest a more permanent structure for best results.
Plastic paver systems
Using a plastic paver system is an amazing way to restructure your garden. Plastic paver systems cover all the advantages of a skid foundation but in a better way. A plastic cover base combined with loose gravel encourages ideal drainage and makes sure there isn’t excess moisture to rot your shed’s wooden structure.
Lumbar frame with metal bracings
This is a little better than a lumbar base with a concrete base, as you can offer a lifted, level surface that protects from excess moisture. The metal bracing is highly durable and serves as a more adaptable structure, protecting the bottom of your shed from adverse weather conditions. Most often, the metal bracings are used along with a concrete slab, making it a great way to upgrade your present foundation system.
Adjustable screw piles
Adjustable screw piles are much like the metal bracing structure; however, they provide a little more adaptability when it comes to length. Each screw pile comes with adjustable lengths, making it an ideal option for sheds with an unlevelled ground surface.
Concrete pillars and beam foundation
If it’s an industrial shed, you can choose this system hands down. It provides maximum protection against the elements. This shed foundation is frost-proof and seems to be lifted at an elevated level to promote proper drainage and combat moisture. In fact, this is the most complex shed foundation system. You need the help of experts to incorporate this model appropriately in your garden.
A gravel foundation is a four-inch layer of gravel spread over the ground area where you want to put the shed. This layer serves as a solid, level foundation for your garden shed. Besides, it provides excellent drainage to keep the shed free from moisture and dry. Perhaps, a gravel foundation is an easy and economical foundation option you can have for your shed.
Mistakes to avoid when you build a shed
It doesn’t matter what size garden shed you pick or the foundation type you choose, you should avoid some mistakes.
- Improper leveling: Levelling the ground is one of the most significant steps when you install a shed. If the ground is in a flood-prone area or not perfectly level, you’ll have to face all kinds of issues with the floor and walls of your shed.
- Poor placement: When you install a shed, considering the placement is crucial. You should not place the shed on low-lying ground, prepare enough space around the shed, and ensure enough distance from property lines, if any.
So, can you put a garden shed on grass? Not really. While it may appear to be the easiest way, the excess moisture in the ground and improper drainage will cause the shed to rot. A stable shed base is required before you install the shed on the ground. You need to choose a stable base depending on the size of the shed and how durable you want it to be. A good shed foundation will certainly enhance the longevity of your shed. Besides, make sure you place the shed on level ground and that there is enough space around the shed. I hope this helps!