Landscaping Projects

How to Lay a Shed Base With Paving Slabs

Sheds are fantastic for storing all your garden tools, equipment, and seeds. If you keep the inside clean and tidy, you can even use your shed for extra storage space for your belongings. But your shed won’t last very long, if it doesn’t have a proper base to stand on.

So, if you:

  • Have recently purchased a shed and want to know what kind of base it should sit on;
  • Have a slightly uneven lawn with a small slope and wonder whether that is a problem;
  • Got advice from builders that you should lay paving slabs as a base for your shed and not just leave it on the ground;
  • Are looking for easy and affordable options.

Read along, and learn how to lay a shed base with paving slabs. It will be worth it in the long run.

Having a base for your shed is not an option – it’s mandatory. Your wooden shed should always have some sort of base, and the reason is simple – if you place it on the ground just like that, it will rot over time and become unstable. Several materials make a good shed base, but paving slabs have proven to be the most effective, long-lasting, and simple to lay. That said, let’s begin with…

Where to build your shed base

Before you begin, think about the right spot for your new shed. It’s not important where it looks best, but rather where and how it’s most practical. With that in mind, consider the following rules:

  • You need access from all sides for maintenance. If it’s too close, or worse, touching the fence or house wall, that side will likely fall into decadence over time.
  • The shed needs to be far from vegetation and trees. Their roots can eventually destroy the slab base and enter the shed from below.
  • No utility lines – if there is a utility line underneath the shed base, you’ll need to remove it, if repairs to the mains are necessary. Have a utility company mark out where the utility lines are situated in your garden, and avoid those spots.
  • Slope and drainage – if you have a slope, even a slight one, put the shed at the top. By doing this, you ensure that rainwater will not collect at the base of the shed.
  • Sunlight and shading – some people like their shed to be in the sunlight, while others prefer the shade. Think about it, and make your pick..
  • Type of soil – locate a spot in your garden where the soil is neither too hard nor too soft. Hard ground is difficult to prepare, whereas soft soil can lead to some slabs sinking or moving from their initial place.
  • If you want there to be water and electricity in your shed, you need to consider this as well.

Where you place your new outbuilding is also important when it comes to its safety. Want to find out more? Check out our guide on improving shed security!

The tools that you’ll need for the job

Before you start working on the project, you’ll need to equip yourself with the following tools: 

  • Enough paving slabs
  • Measuring tape
  • String line
  • Edging knife
  • Shovel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spirit level
  • Try square
  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Wood stakes
  • Plate compactor
  • Jointing compound
  • Slab spacers

How to lay a shed base with paving slabs

Now, when you have all the materials and prep work taken care of, it’s time to get down to business.

  1. Measure and mark the area in the garden – get your tape measure and mark out the place for your shed base. Make the measurements about 5 cm larger than the actual perimeter of your shed. Remember to include a small space for gaps between paving stones. Hammer the stakes into the ground and run a string between them. Check the corners with a try-square to make sure they’re at a 90° angle to each other.
  1. Choose your slabs – choose your slabs before starting any work in the garden. The best and easiest approach is to use square, single-size slabs. If you have to cut a slab to make it fit, check our post on how to cut paving slabs.
  2. Clear any vegetation from the area – remove any rocks, along with plants and weeds, within the marked area. Afterwards, use your edging knife to make cuts along the string line. Make them as straight as possible and check the corners with the try square after cutting. You can now remove the wooden stakes. Next, excavate the ground at about 65mm depth. If your garden slopes, you will have to dig more dirt out from the higher side until the surface is levelled. 

Extra soil – The soil you’ve dug out will bulk. You’ll have to get rid of it by either hiring green waste removal or using it in another area in your garden.

  1. Lay a base foundation – fill the base with either 21A or 21B gravel to achieve the best results. These materials have smaller bits of gravel dust and stone, which will fill the air gaps between the crushed stone pieces -this will allow for a sturdier base. Lay the material until it becomes 10-15 cm thick, then smoothen the surface with a plate contractor. Make sure this new surface is level and flat.
  2. Lay paving slabs – start from one corner and hammer each slab with your rubber mallet. Do it one roll at a time. Make sure that all your slabs are as even as possible. Remember that part about leaving small gaps between the paving stones? Now is the time to do it, with slab spacers.

On another note, it’s highly recommended the slabs are just above the ground level, so rainwater can drip on top of the soil and not the slabs.

  1. Leave the area for 48 hours – the gravel base needs time to set properly before you finish the project. It’s important to keep the area dry. Cover it with tarpaulin to protect it from potential rain. 
  2. Point the slabs – remove the spacers and fill the gaps between the slabs with joint grout. Wait 24 hours and then you build your shed on top.

Hire a professional to help you!

If you find this task difficult to carry out, lack the proper tools, or just don’t have the time, consider hiring a professional for the job. Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped landscapers. They will build a proper base from paving slabs and assemble your shed, should you require it. All in all, you still get the new shed you wanted, but without the wasted time and nerves that come along with it.

Don’t wait any longer and book our services today! The landscaping solution is easy to schedule, budget-friendly, and you can make an appointment for a day and time that suits you best. 

Takeaways

  • Place your shed base at a strategic place in your garden and not just at a random spot;
  • Before you start any of the project work, choose your slabs. Square, single-size slabs are easier to install;
  • If your garden has a slight slope or unevenness, you have to level it out before laying the slabs;
  • Lay your slabs in rows, making sure each piece is levelled with the next;
  • Give your gravel base 48 hours before pointing the slabs;
  • Wait 24 hours after pointing the slabs before you begin building your deck.

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Is this your first time laying a base for a shed? How did it go? Let us know if we missed something by leaving a comment!

Image source: Shutterstock / Lilly Trott

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