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Build an Eco-Friendly Shed With These Five Tips

Gardeners and homeowners who care about both their landscaping and the environment should build an eco-friendly shed in their backyard. Not only will they gain a great place to store tools, plant pots and other gardening implements, but they will do so without negatively impacting the world around them.

Follow these five easy steps to design and build an eco-friendly shed you can be proud of:

Steps on Building an Eco-Friendly Shed

1. Choose the Shed Location for Minimum Impact

Although most sheds are positioned at the far back edge of the yard, the ideal spot for an eco-friendly option should be chosen based on how much effect it has on the environment. This will depend largely on the size and layout of the property you own.

Consider things such as existing trees, shrubs and gardens, waterways or ponds and direction and strength of the sun. Removing anything established for a shed is not earth-friendly. Instead, choose an open and unobstructed place for the building.

2. Use Organic, Recycled, Low Carbon Materials

Recycled wood, metal, glass and other materials can be had if you know where to look for them. Ask around the neighbourhood or post on a local social media page to see if anyone needs their old shed, pallets or any other useful items removed.

If you use new materials to build your eco-friendly shed, buy those that are rated to be more environmentally conscious like steel. If you’re using steel, you can find the information and design inspiration you need on Sheds n Homes Gympie website. Avoid cement foundations because they are not carbon efficient. Vinyl shed bases are preferred. Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, stain and sealant should always be used as well.

3. Make the Shed Actively Help the Environment

Families who want an eco-friendly shed probably practice organic gardening and want to help the environment in other ways as well. They may not realise that the shed itself can provide benefits directly.

Consider installing solar panels on the shed roof. This is especially important and helpful if you want electric in the shed itself for a light, gardening tools or a radio to listen to while potting seedlings nearby.

Sheds can also help you collect rain water to use in your gardens as well. Install appropriate gutters that lead to a rain collection barrel.

4. Lay Down the Right Mulch to Reduce Weeds and Maintenance

While a cement slab does a very good job of keeping weeds from growing, that is not a great option for eco-friendly sheds. You do not want to spend your time, electricity or gas to use a weed-wacker every couple of days to keep the growth around the shed down however.

Use environmentally conscious mulch to keep weeds from growing and reduce maintenance needs in your back yard. The best option is always to use mulch types that are commonly found in the area you live in. This could mean pine straw, chopped up fallen branches, crushed scallop or oyster shells or corn husks.

If you do not have enough in-yard mulch options, eco-friendly types include industrial by-products like cocoa shells and chemical-free pulp or even shredded cotton.

5. Plant a Rooftop, Wall or Window Garden

Another example of having your earth-friendly shed do work for the environment instead of being a static part of it is to plant a rooftop, wall or window garden on the structure. Rooftop gardens (also called green roofs or living roofs) require a sturdy structure, waterproof lining and the right type of plants.

The best bets for shed roofs are various types of grasses and succulents such as low-growing sedum, such as Sedum Album, which is only about 4 inches tall, spreads easily and is very hardy.

Growing useful vines up the walls of the shed can not only make it look quite nice, but also provides more shade so it stays cooler. Consider pea plants or squashes that climb to realise a more delicious benefit.

Many homeowners and gardening enthusiasts need a shed in their backyard to hold materials, tools and other outdoor things. Choosing eco-friendly options for the shed such as reclaimed materials, solar panels and rain catchers and a green, living roof can fulfil all your needs while protecting the environment.

Last Updated on September 5, 2023

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About the author 

Jim Horton

Hi, I'm Jim; I work on a farm in Dunalley, Tasmania, and took over the reigns of Aussie Green Thumb in 2014 from James Middleton, who built this website over a few years to what it is today (thanks James!).

I'll be bringing in other passionate gardeners to share their stories, and would love to hear from you if you want to join the Aussie Green Thumb community!

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