Single Door Pent Shed
The last shed that we had was inherited from the previous owners and it was a tired old thing with a broken window. Even after painting it, the rotten wood just looked awful and it was leaking from the roof. Rather than spending money on felting the roof, we decided to buy a grand spanking new one and we decided to buy it from ScrewFix ... which is our new favourite DIY shop. We just love the prices and we bought online so we did not even need to leave the house! We need a shed to store our various garden tools and deckchairs in and we would struggle to house them without one. We have a garage where we keep our expensive garden things such as the strimmer and the lawn mower but the deckchairs and watering can, for example are things we need easy access to in the garden.
I looked at many different sheds before picking this one and I think the main reason I bought it was the shape and because it had a nice little window. I spend a lot of time in the garden and therefore I am in and out of the shed, I thought a window would make the shed lighter so I could find what I was looking for much easier. The shape was important as we only have a small paved area where the shed can stand, we wanted it to be wider than it was long so it would fit more comfortably. We settled on the Shire Shiplap Single Door Pent.
==Price and availability==
We paid £269.99 inclusive of VAT for the shed and we had it delivered from free as it is unavailable to pick up from store. Not a bad thing as I am not sure we would be able to get it home ourselves! We bought the shed online from ScrewFix who are stocking a wide range of sheds and garden buildings at the minute.
The shed comes in sections and on the whole it is easy to put together. You definitely need two people though as it is involves a lot of lifting. The trouble we found though, is that the paving where we wanted to stand the shed it not straight. It is slightly dipped but we needed the shed to be perfectly straight. Because of this, we had to buy some wooden planks to put under one side to even out the shed. This worked fine but it set us back quick a bit in terms of time. The assembly instructions are very straight forward but full of the right information that you may need to put this all together. In regards to positioning you can have the shed against a wall or fence, or you can have it stood alone in the garden.
The footprint of the shed is 1814 x 1214 mm and it stands at its tallest point 1906mm.
The wood has been treated and the sides are tongue and groove. The shed has a large door uses pad blot security and a large window. You can have the window at the left or right of the door and you can decide this when you are building the shed. The window is large and it can be opened which is good as the shed gets really hot in the summer. The wood is made from high grade pine and spruce and it is already treated so that if you wanted, you could set it up and not do anything with it. The shed has a solid floor which is sturdy and the roof is thick and covered in a high grade felt. After building the shed, we walked around it and checked that all sections were knitted together and there was not any chance of it leaking. Making sure it was dry was a main priority as we did not want our garden furniture to go rusty or be damaged.
The shed looks good and immediately after building it, we decided that it was a really sound investment. The shed looked a little bit too new at first but we soon put our own touch on it. I was impressed with the smoothness and grade of the wood. It smelled so alpine and fresh inside the shed and the wood contained no imperfections or holes. It looked like a high quality shed and the fine details such as the opening window, the way the roof had a groove running around the side and how dense the wood actually was all helped create the image of a great looking shed.
The size of the shed is brilliant and if you wanted you could easily get a couple of full sized mountain bikes. I put up some hooks inside the shed to hang various tools on and it is full or pots, buckets and garden tools at the minute with two big deck chairs also taking up some room. You can easily stand inside the shed and it is a great place to store things.
We decided that the shed looked too new though and it did not fit with our shabby chic garden look so we decided to paint it. We wanted to be use a product that would protect and care for the wood and also make the shed look a little more like it fitted in. We knew that caring for the shed is important so we bought some creosote and mixed five parts of it with 1 part engine oil. This makes a really good preservative and it was recommended by my dad. The oil protects the wood and keeps it lubricated so it does not become brittle and it also helps to waterproof the wood. Creosote is brown though so if you want a brown shed this is good but if you want a different colour you will have to invest in some good quality paint. Prior to painting, as the wood is so new you need a primer or you will have to apply a lot of coats of paint. Our shed is looking like it could do with a touch up so in the next month we will probably look at giving it another coat.
This is a great shed. I like the fact that it has a window as it means would be burglars can see that we do not keep any high value items in here and it also means I can have some air and light in the shed. The size is perfect as it is big enough to store away all my garden things but it does not take up loads of room. The shed has a good solid waterproof roof with high quality felting and overall we are really pleased with the shed. It is now looking better too since adding a layer or creosote solution.
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Mercia Tall Tower Children's Playhouse
This was another of my Daughter's Birthday presents, a fantastic tower playhouse. This is the kind of thing that I would have given my right arm for as a kid, and even now I am a little bit jealous! Luckily there is plenty of room for both of us inside it at a push (when I am allowed to grace it with my presence that is). I ... knew I wanted some kind of garden "building" for my daughter to play in, and looked at plastic playhouses which were grim, mini-yurts and Tipi's, and even a mini Gypsy caravan which unfortunately I just could not afford. After scouring and searching for a few weeks, my partner found this one and the choice was made.
As you can see from the picture it looks very enticing for a child, and the fact that it is raised on stilts and has a small ladder for access just adds to the fun. The "balcony" platform is large enough to put a planter with flowers, solar lights or a cushion, and the design means that it is perfect for dragon spotting...
We are intending to add some twisty, wonky driftwood around the outer railing to give it some more character. The space under the tower platform can be used for toy storage or as an additional den for kids to play in.
We got this a a massive discount, and having cleared my garden ready to fill with stuff for her (and a small corner for me where I can retreat and wibble when it all gets too noisy!), this not only looks gorgeous but will keep my Daughter entertained for years and years.
The playhouse came on a flat backed truck, in lots of large parts. The panels themselves were quite light to carry into the garden but the struts were all packed together and shrink wrapped - they weighed a lot. Luckily, the delivery guy was happy to move them all through the house into the back garden. We stuck them all upright against a fence and covered them in two large tarpaulins to protect them until we could get somebody to help us get it assembled.
CONSTRUCTION AND QUALITY:
The wood is pre-treated tongue and groove pine, with chunky pine legs, railings, steps and struts. Even though it is pre-treated, it will need weatherproofing or painting once assembled so that it will last as long as it should. If you think of it as a smallish shed on legs then you will get the idea, most sheds need protection. The panels are smooth and well finished on the outer surface, although the edges are a little bit rough in places. There are three good sized windows (and a flower shaped on in the front door) which are pine framed, and enclose Styrene not glass for safety reasons. This stuff is great and clear but will scratch over time so it needs to be looked after. If the Styrene becomes too damaged then it is easy to remove. It could easily be replaced with perspex sheet. The window framing is attached well on to the window but could be chiseled off if needed. We will be removing ours to paint the playhouse.
The door has a decorative flower with a clear styrene window so that a child can peep out. Of course this also lets in a bit more light to the main house when the door is closed. The roof is beautifully detailed with a wavey shaped edging to it. A small roll of roof felt is included as are the little pointy wooden finials which sit at the apex.
PREPARATION OF THE GARDEN:
You will need to prepare the ground for this playhouse. We used four paving slabs to ensure that the legs would not sink. The siting of it is also important as you will need space around it so that you can access parts of it to put it together and to maintain it. We sited ours with around 2 feet of clearance around it, and then shoved it slightly behind a large willow tree so that it is like a little "secret house".
You can either place the playhouse on soild concrete or buy paving slabs like I did, to ensure that the playhouse stays stable on the ground. This is easier to provide than a floor level playhouse/shed which will need a full concrete base.
You will need -
A spirit level for the base - unless you want a playhouse that is on the wonk.
Screwdrivers (a power one is best)
Panel pins and spanners, especially if you want to add features.
The manufacturers recommend two people as necessary for the safe assembly of this playhouse, but the handyman I got in managed on his own. Two people would certainly make the whole process quicker but I would think that anybody who could handle a drill and screwdriver could do it.
My handyman does not "do" instructions, and has also built a large intricate tree-house for his own kids, so was confident that he could do it without the leaflet. And he did... he started with the frame and legs which were sited on four paving slabs on the lawn. A spirit level ensured that everything was square, and then he put the sides together. All of the fixtures and fittings that you need are included and luckily they include a few extra bits in case you drop or lose any (we did).
The sides of the playhouse screw together into the reinforced side framing, and having an electric screwdriver makes short work of this. Everything is pre-jointed or cut for you, and the design is precision cut. Once you have the platform part up, the rest is really easy to assemble. The support batons on the sides are very sturdy and the ship lap wood is well fitted with no gaps. There are plenty of screws available to secure the house but we drilled and added a few more for durability.
The floor of the house and the roof are made from a solid sheet of compressed wood and before we attached this, we painted it with a fast drying protective coating. We painted each outer part with wood protector before we assembled it to ensure that rain would not have as much access to the joints. Due to the hot weather, the parts dried very quickly. Our final intention is to paint it up but we have not had time yet.
The walls of the house are tightly tongue and grooved and being made from shiplap, should not let water in easily. The shape of each panel is designed to draw rainwater away from the wood as quickly as possible which is obviously very important in a wooden building. Once the walls and platform are up, the next part is to attach the roof, which is then felted. The wavey edged trim is attached easily and makes the house look very sweet.
The final part of assembly is the ladder and the railings. Again this is not a difficult process as all pieces are accurately cut and finished. The ladder feels very sturdy once built and the balcony part is solid too.
All parts of this playhouse are guaranteed for 10 years.
* Raised platform playhouse
* Solid sheet roof and floor
* Tongue and groove cladding
* Balcony with ladder and safety rail
* Flower window in door with safety hinge.
* Wavey roof edging
* Three square framed windows
* Roof felt included (and all fixtures and fittings)
* Customisable design
* Supplied pre-treated with a water based timber treatment
* Dimensions: 200 (l) x 150 (w) x 262 (h) cm
* Suitable for ages 3 +
* Instructions included
BENEFITS OF A PLAYHOUSE:
One of the obvious benefits to having a playhouse for small children, is the fact that it encourages them to get outdoors and play. This has the added benefit of making them exhausted which in turn means that you get more sleep! Win/win I think. A tower type playhouse is great for all kinds of imaginative play, make believe, role playing and playing with friends. Playhouses like this one are unisex, can be painted or decorated how you wish, and last far longer than a plastic one. They also age beautifully, and look great in the garden, especially with plants growing up the railings.
The platform really does add an extra dimension of "fun" to an outdoor house, in that it becomes a great viewing platform as well as a place to hide. The underneath part makes a great den too, especially if you trellis it in sections. If your child is brave then they could sleep in this quite easily, in fact there is room for a few small kids to have a sleepover. An outdoor playhouse is a great way to get enough exercise and Vitamin D, and can be adapted as kids get older into a hangout space/den.
My daughter has this as well as a trampoline in the garden, both for her Birthday. She is sleeping very well at the moment due to the enormous amount of manic bouncing and exciting active play that she is doing. We have had picnics in the playhouse, have bat watched, have played hide and seek. She has gone in there to chill when tired from bouncing and she has taken toys in there to play with and "cook" with. We have some cunning plans for this playhouse to make it even more incredible... see the section below...
To make this playhouse even more magnificent, we intend to add bits to it and decorate it up. Being made from wood, it is easy to screw or nail on things like driftwood, flower boxes, hooks for a little hanging basket etc. If you were really brave you could add another playhouse on to the side with a platform. As the inside of the house is just bare space, we are planning on building a little raised "shelf" covering half of the floor space as my daughter would love an "upstairs". This is very easy to do because of the support batons inside the house. We are also planning on building a wooden wonky "chimney" so that it has a real magical cottage feel. My daughter has chosen cornflower blue and primrose yellow as the paint colours that she wants so that will happen as soon as possible. Once painted we will string up some solar lanterns from the wavey roof corners and twist fairy lights around the rails. We have two wooden mini-planters to attach to the house which we will fill with flowers for her.
It would be very easy to build little shelves/benches inside the house, or you can put a child sized table and chairs in. A little rug and some books makes the house very homely and cosy. If you wanted to be mega-creative then it would also be easy to fit a little skylight for more ventilation, or even a round porthole type window in the wall. Basically anything that can be tacked or screwed on can be used to enhance this playhouse.
Painting gives the house character and personalises it. You could get some matching curtains too (we are going for patchwork ones) to really finish it off. I cannot think of any child of either gender who would not love to have this playhouse in their garden.
This is still available online but you have to shop about. It seems to be an older design therefore you may be lucky like us and grab a deal. We paid £190 for it including delivery. ToysRus currently stock it at £379.99 which is still a great deal for a playhouse such as this. Playhouse prices really vary, and going by my pricing up and searching of them, I was amazed by the range in prices. Some go up to £800 for something very similar!
Had I been clever enough and not creaky and falling to bits, this is the type of thing that I would have loved to build for her myself out of pallets and pine. Unfortunately this was not possible. Customising a bought one is the next best thing though, and my daughter is thrilled with her playhouse despite it not being fully finished yet.
I consider the ToysRus price to be excellent value for the quality and design. The price that we paid was just a bonus.
A gorgeous tower playhouse which will last for years and can be adapted/customised.
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Store More Lifetime Eight Shed
When we bought our home 9 years ago, we bought it from an older lady who was downsizing. She left us rather a lot of items in the house to help us out as it was our first home, from sets of wardrobes to a dining table, to the outdoor shed. We've been noticing that the outdoor storage shed/summer house was beginning to look the ... worst for wear. It was rotten at the back, and as it was sat quite hard against the fence there was not a lot we could do there. The final straw was the kids managed to break one of the windows while out there playing, so I was anxious to replace with something more suitable.
While shopping in costco one day, we noticed one of these sheds on display alongside a Keter branded one. I'd heard of Keter before, but not the Lifetime brand, so we didn't purchase in store while we researched further. After much umming and aaahing, we decided that the American Lifetime brand was more sturdy looking of the two brands, and we couldn't find it online any cheaper than what we saw in costco. Unfortunately by the time we made the decision, it went out of stock in store so we ended up buying online instead for £60 more at a cost of £749. Naturally, after making such a large purchase, the exact same model is for sale on amazon now for £649.
The shed was delivered in two exceptionally big boxes. The combined weight of the boxes (and the sheds total weight) is 147kg. Crazily, they were delivered by one man in a van, so I ended up having to lift these with him best I could (not much help at all) into the garage till we got round to building it.
We decided rather than try to move these boxes again, we would open them and lay the parts on the grass for assembly purposes. We found within the box there was an exceptional amount of polystyrene protecting the panels from banging into each other and getting damaged. I'm not particularly fond of polystyrene in packaging with its ethical issues, but it did protect all the pieces till we were ready to use them.
Firstly, we were placing this on the site of our old shed (once we demolished it) which did make assembly a bit easier. The shed comes with a booklet to aid assembly which can only be described as a novel. Each instruction is accompanied by lots of pictures, and they were needed at least at the start to get us going along the right lines for assembling the ship.
Firstly, it is recommended that 2 adults can assemble this in 2 hours. This is a severe underestimation. While I am useless at DIY, my husband is rather competent, and the two of us could not do this in less than 4-5 hours. This was with children underfoot, but not to the extent that they added 2-3 hours onto the time.
You need to make sure firstly that you have the right tools for the job. Ladders are essential, a decent drill is another one. A rubber mallet is also necessary.
Step one is make the base. We were lucky we were placing the 8 foot by 6 foot shed onto patio slabs that had already been laid rather than starting with making a base. Full instructions are given how to do this. Concrete is recommended although you can also build on top of wood.
We started with laying the floor of the shed. This reminded me of when we laid laminate flooring inside, as the 3 plastic pieces just slotted together in that same way - starting with one piece at a 45 degree angle to the next, my husband slotted the piece in, I stood on the piece on the floor so it was kept straight and didn't move.
When we saw how lightweight the floor was, we decided that we best anchor this to the floor. This is where the drill came in really handy. The instructions were not clear about where to do this, though we saw there were 6 circular points - 4 in the corners, and one in the middle of each side. We drilled through these into the concrete patio slabs. One negative here is there were no screws to anchor this in place. Luckily, my husband has some long screws and rawl plugs that were suited to the job.
Once this was in place, we started to slot the wall panels in. These were plastic panels a couple of feet wide and the height of the shed. There was a definite technique to putting these in. There were shaped holes along the sides, and you needed to line the bottom up with these, then slide the panel along into the narrow part of the slot to lock it in place. This part definitely needed two people as I needed to hold the first panel while my husband put in the second panel. They then needed lining up along the edges. The two edges were shaped a bit like teeth edges, and as they knitted together, the panels were then connected firmly together by screwing a steel reinforcement along the join. We had to repeat this about 12 times I think it was to get the walls built. We ran into a few problems lining these panels up as the concrete base was not entirely flat, so we needed to level off the floor by inserting wood spacers under it to raise it in certain places while we worked.
Moving to the roof, we had a fair few problems as firstly you needed to make some metal frames to support the plastic roof panels. Because this is an American product, my husband found that his spanner set was not quite the same measurements as the American produced bolts required, so a bodge job was required. In truth, this added time onto the build.
The first step in roof assembly was putting on two triangular sections on the front and back to create the Apex roof. This is what I really liked about the look of the shed, as it has a vent at the front and back which look like little round windows. These vents needed setting into the panels, but they were easy enough to attach.
The roof then comes in 5 sections. Two flat sections in a dark brown colour which have a tiled look to them. These are overlaid so that the shed remains waterproof. The final bit is a clear plastic triangle that goes at the highest point of the roof to let light into the shed.
The doors again were a little faffy - firstly, they have plastic windows on them which needed putting onto the doors. Secondly, once they were put on, we realised that there was a huge gap down the front, so again, we had to work out where the base was not level to get them to line up properly.
This shed is very aesthetically pleasing. I love the look of the tan coloured walls contrasted with the dark brown roof and brown features like the vents. I think it looks quite striking compared to the dull green of the shed that was there previously.
In terms of maintenance, there is a good advantage to having a plastic shed with steel reinforcement. Instead of having to paint this and perhaps refelt it at some stage, we have just ducked out of all of that maintenance DIY for the forseeable future.
We realised quickly that this is quite a lightweight shed and it needed anchoring. We get quite strong winds in our back garden, and they have been enough to blow over a tethered pvc greenhouse, and the kids large 10 foot trampoline, so I was a bit worried it would move in bad weather even if it were full of stuff.
The shed does not strike me as being the most secure shed. As we were assembling, I said to my husband that it wasn't any more sturdy than a little tykes childs shed. The panels are certainly not that thick, and anyone wanting to break in would not find the doors on this much of a challenge. Saying that, I think the same could be said for our old shed too. We only store the kids outdoor toys in the shed, so hopefully if anyone did look through the windows they would only see toys and be put off.
The steel reinforcement does go a long way to providing the support. I must admit to a moment of thinking what have I bought when we were in the middle of putting it up before the roof went on and the sides were just wobbling when I touched them. However, now it is fully built it does feel sturdier.
I think you need to be quite a competent DIY person to tackle this as a project, and it was quite heavy going holding it all in place when my husband was screwing all the panels together.
Instructions were passable, but we found that all of the bags of screws and the panels had been given letter codes, and unfortunately when it came to building, these codes did not always quite match up, so thankfully we could kind of work it out from the pictures. I say we - I mean my husband. We'd have been in real trouble if he interpreted it like I did.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the purchase. We could have purchased a similar sized wooden shed a bit cheaper, but this one looks good and hopefully will last a lot longer for us as we just don't get the time to get out in the garden painting and repairing things as often as we should. It suits our needs pretty well, though I am not going to give it 5 stars due to the difficulties we had building, such as no screws to anchor it, and american measurements with the bolts meaning our UK tools were not quite a match.
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Brand: Waltons / Product Type: Garden Shed
Manufacturer: Store More / Product Type: Plastic Shed
Shed / Brand: Keter
Brand: Garden Furniture Centre / Shed / Wheelie Bin Cover - Triple - Left Side
Brand: Others / Product Type: Metal Shed - This standard metal pent store comes in green/white with double sliding lockable doors and a lifting lid. It also has mid-wall bracing for extra rigidity and is rot, rodent and fire proof
Brand: Others / Product Type: Metal Shed - This metal pent building comes in green/white with double sliding lockable doors. It also has mid-wall bracing for extra ridigity and is rot, rodent and fire proof
Brand: Others / Product Type: Garden Shed
Brand: Keter / Product Type: Garden Shed - Size: (H)6ft1in x (W)2ft10in x (D) 2ft3in / Limited 5 year warranty
Brand: Others / Product Type: Garden Shed
Brand: Argos / Product Type: Garden Shed - Tongue and grooved machined timber wall cladding. Complete with roof, roofing felt, hinged door, acrylic glazed windows, floor and instructions.
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