How to prepare the ground for a shed

Written by penny porter Google
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How to prepare the ground for a shed
Don't let your shed lean; prepare a level surface for it. (shed image by michael langley from

Whether you choose to build or purchase a pre-made shed, you do not want a leaning shed. If the shed leans because it sits on unlevel ground, parts of the shed will suffer more strain and it may prematurely fall over or cave in. A leaning shed also looks sloppy and unplanned. Before you start building or have your shed set into place, prepare the ground properly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Stakes
  • Rubber mallet
  • Ribbon or string
  • Level
  • Shovel
  • Dirt tamper

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  1. 1

    Choose a site for your shed. Avoid areas above ground wires, plumbing and septic systems. You should also attempt to avoid placing the shed under overhead electrical lines. Obtain a building permit if necessary.

  2. 2

    Measure the width and length of the shed you purchased or plan to build. Use these dimensions to stake off a rectangle or square. Use a rubber mallet to assist you in placing the stakes.

  3. 3

    Tie a long section of ribbon or string around the stakes to mark off the shape of the shed. This will guide you while you dig out a level spot for the shed.

  4. 4

    Remove the sod, or the top 3 inches of soil, from inside the sectioned-off area. Take several readings with the level to determine the high and low spots.

  5. 5

    Remove additional soil from the high spots. Keep checking the site with the level, and stop digging once the area is level.

  6. 6

    Use a dirt tamper to pack down the dirt on the shed site. Check the area again for levelness and add or take away soil as necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider placing a pre-built shed in a location easily accessible to a delivery team.
  • Pour a concrete slab foundation for the shed. This is an optional step, but it creates a sturdy surface to prevent muddy shed floors during wet weather.
  • Consider laying a level sheet of concrete patio pavers or blocks to create a simple foundation for the shed.

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