One of the issues of living in the city is storage. City dwellings are smaller, and storage is at a premium due to size and cost. For example, those winter tires that you own.. well you just can’t store them on the dryer when you aren’t using them. That pancake air compressor is really great for projects, but what do you do with it when you don’t have a project? And stuff for the holiday season is the most annoying as you are storing stuff for 48 weeks a year, but only using it for 4 weeks. I needed storage.
I also needed storage for working the land a bit. There are tools that I have found to be extremely useful for working the land, like a pick axe and shovel. But the moment you bring these into the city, the police keep asking you those annoying questions like “where did you put the body?” So, these tools need to stay out there. I needed storage.
Additionally, I am not going to be on a sabbatical forever, so I needed to get storage quickly. So, after evaluating my options, I ordered a shed for delivery. The simple reasons were:
- Construction quality is going to be better than what I could do myself
- Quickly delivered (5 days)
- Cost would be lower
Initially, I was thinking that I would get a larger shed that I would later convert into a cabin. Unfortunately, that idea got nixed due to cost and a determination that I probably would never get around to converting it into a cabin. So then I focused on what I really needed. Efficient storage.
When first looking at all the different types of shed options, I didn’t yet have my land. I evaluated both metal and wood structures, but determined that the metal structures didn’t look as good, were more expensive, and didn’t appear to be as well made. So, wood it was. Then the question was what type? There are plenty of different structures of all different sizes. And how much storage would I need. I knew I once fight everything I owned into my cargo trailer, so I eventually figured on something slightly larger than that. Again, focusing on storage and not making into a cabin, I removed some of the bells and whistles I really liked. Then another issue was the road; while I had smoothed out the road, the road had to be two foot wider than the structure I was going to buy. These requirements, plus the availability on the lot, led me to a simple cost effective structure at 10’x16′ (304 cm x 488 cm).
The local provider for these types of structures is Hillside Structures, who is a retailer for Backyard Outfitters. Over the course of several months, I checked out their lots and figured out what I wanted, and I met with a number of their staff who were easy to work with.
The structure I selected was a Lofted Barn with doors on the side. The decision to use a barn door over a traditional doorway is due to the fact that this is just going to be storage, and getting big stuff in and out would be key. The painted units looked better in my opinion, but one wasn’t readily available and time wasn’t on my side to wait for one to be constructed for me. However, the one I selected had engineered wood flooring, two windows, and some shelving.
The next part was getting some land leveled. While I had access to the skid steer to do the road repairs, I also roughly leveled out two different spots. One would be for parking, and the other for the trailer and storage. However, because the land is on a hill, getting level required quite a bit of cut and fill.
The spot on the left was the area leveled out for the shed, and the pictures on the right were areas carved out for level tents and camping spots in the future. However, getting anything roughly level with a skid steer was well beyond my capability at the time, and the gentle hills completely mess with your perception of what level should look like. Because of this, I needed to level by hand (spoiler alert, I still failed).
Working with hand tools and a wagon to move soil about 6 cubic foot at a time
was miserable a fantastic workout. Remember what I said about the gentle rolling hills messing with your perception of what is level? While I thought my laser level was out of calibration and so I tried to do it by eye level. That was a mistake. I didn’t get the pad exactly level and now the South side of the pad is slightly lower than the North side. Fortunately, I can correct this later with a jack and lift the structure up and put some stones or paver’s blocks under it to change it to level.
The other thing that needed to be prepared was the road. While the skid steer did most of the road repair, I spent the morning of delivery cutting back the vegetation along the road so the truck and barn could pass. However, for this to work a pole saw was required. This afforded itself another
exhausting and stressful endeavor cardio workout just before delivery.
At 1 PM, Al from Hillside Structures met me at the main road. I suggested that we head up the mountain and scout the road to make sure he could make it up with the large truck, trailer, and barn. He suggested that we head straight up and not worry about it. He was braver than me, but he also had a secret weapon that I had never seen on a trailer.
Whats in the pictures above, IS A SECRET SET OF WHEELS. At one point when going up the mountain, there is an incredibly tight turn. I thought he had got stuck at that curve, but it turns out, he was deploying a second set of wheels. The wheels in the middle of the trailer dropped, then moved the whole trailer directly behind the truck to straighten out the line and make the curve. The wheels under the trailer retracted, and he was back on his way up the mountain. AMAZING.
The rest of the way up the mountain was slow, deliberate, and steady up the mountain. The truck easily passed the cattle guards, but I was concerned about him navigating the waterbars, but he did great with that as well. There was some vegetation that still hit the barn on the way up, but that was because I didn’t realize how tall the entire thing was going to be on the trailer. But once we made it to the pasture, I suddenly felt much less stress. Al seemed pretty unphased.
The next step was to drop the barn into position. He simply pulled up to the pad, asked me where to position it, and put it down onto the ground. He then drove forward, and the trailer had the ability to shift left and right, which he used to shift the trailer right, and put it down exactly where I wanted it. Incredible execution!
Ta Daa! Great job!
So the she landed, and that is when we found that my leveling job was less than ideal. That said, it will be just fine for now as it is on a set of really robust skids. Until I can get my jack under it, it will stay like that and I will work with some stones or something to get it leveled out. Overall, I am extremely estactic to get this storage going!
Here is the shed in its final spot. And I am already filling it up as well!