Make Your Garden Shed Eco-Friendly...

Published: 24th November 2011
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In the last few years the environment has become one of the most issues for government and everyday people. Making small changes to your life can help improve the environment of the world and your local environment too. It can be difficult to find changes you can make to your lifestyle. Many of us already recycle on a daily basis and most of us have stopped using products like plastic bags. One place you can make inexpensive and simple changes is in your garden.

When installing a shed usually a concrete base is laid, a concrete base is solid, flat and level everything your need for a good base. Concrete can damage your garden, killing your lawn and becoming an eye sore in years to come. Instead of using concrete you can use an Eco-Base. An Eco-Base is a system of plastic tiles, made from recycled materials. The recycled tiles clip together to form a flat, solid base for your shed. The tiles support the garden shed and prevent water from damaging the bottom of the shed. The advantage of using an Eco-base is that it can be easily moved around and comes in many sizes.

Garden sheds can be made from vinyl, wood or metal. Metal and vinyl sheds are made with tested materials which are safe to use in a garden. If you choose a wooden shed always make sure you choose a shed which is FSC certified. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international organisation which monitors the World’s supply of wood. The FSC only certifies certain companies which source the wood for their products ethically and also sources it wood from areas which will be re-planted. Choosing an FSC certified shed can be more expensive, but you are ensuring you have a quality product which has been sourced from ethically sustained forests.

Your garden shed should be treated with a timber protector at least once a year. A timber treatment helps protect the timber from wood rot and water damage, it also is available in different colours so you can paint your shed. To be environmentally friendly you need to use a timber treatment which is non-toxic and safe for your garden plants and animals. Most big brand timber treatments are non-toxic, but always check the label, especially if you have pets.

Gardens require water, a lot of water if you have a luscious green garden. Most of us use water from the hose but a great way of saving some water is to collect rain water in your garden. A simple and inexpensive way of doing this is by attaching plastic guttering to your garden buildings. Greenhouses and garden sheds are perfect for collecting water and attaching guttering is simple, most just clip on. Once you’ve installed guttering you can then attach it to a water barrel, this will be where you collect your water. Attach a fine wire mesh over the end of your guttering to ensure no leaves or debris fall in and contaminate your water barrel.

If you really want to go the extra mile and give your shed a modern design element, then why not consider a living roof for your shed. A living roof is made from sedum, a flowering plant which is lighter than turf and is used on living roofs around the World. A living roof not only looks great but helps maintain and prolong the life of your roof. Living roof helps drain water away from the shed, helping prevent water damage, a living roof also helps encourage a local wildlife. Sedum provides an ideal environment for many local animals and bugs.

Living roofs also act as natural insulations, providing heat in the evening and keeps the shed cool in the summer. Sedum is the best natural insulation and is perfect if you want to use your shed a workshop. A sedum roof can be installed by a professional company or you can create your own sedum roof with a few basic DIY skills.

Before installing a living roof your shed will have to strengthened, this is very important because sedum will add a lot of weight to the roof. To strengthen you shed you will need to support the walls and roof using sheets of MDF and very strong timber or railway sleepers. Every shed will be different and will need to be supported in a different way. It can be helpful to employ a carpenter for half a day to ensure your shed will be strong enough to support the weight of a living roof.

After your shed has been adequately supported you need to ensure no moisture will get through to your roof panel or wall panels. To do this you will need to add a layer of waterproof membrane to your roof. There are many different types of membrane, but you will need a waterproof or damp proof membrane, available from most building merchants. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and lay the membrane on the roof.

Sedum is a common garden plant but has been manufactured into ready made meter² tiled. Sedum grows on a wire mesh, which is easily attaching using clips to sheds. Sedum needs a lot of water therefore you need to make sure there is adequate draining, the weight of standing water can break the roof of your shed. On an apex roof you need to make sure the water can escape easily, for a pent roof you can purchase simple drainage mats from most garden centres. Drainage mats have special tunnels which allow water to easily escape while still feeding the plant.

Making small changes to your home and garden will help change the environment. Small changes may not seem like a lot at the time but if everyone makes one small change it can soon help make a difference. Adding a sedum roof is simple and can become a fun weekend activity for all the family. It is so simple to do and will not only make your shed look great but will also help prolong its life. So why not try transforming your shed whether its brand new or a dilapidated shed at the bottom of the garden.

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