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How to prepare the ground for a shed

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.

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

  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.

  7. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Penny Porter is a full-time professional writer and a contributor to "Kraze" magazine. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky.

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