A Shed of Awesome


Greetings. As you might be aware, I have reached middle age. Firstly that’s a reasonably big achievement, secondly it means sheds, power tools and receding hairlines.

There are a number of ways one can procure a man shed. A lot depends on three factors:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. How waterproof your stuff is.

The answer to most of these is not very much. This rules out bricks, blocks (they cost ~ £2 a block!) and [Structured insulated Panels]

What do I want my shed for?

I want to do the following things in my shed:

  • Play the drums
  • Do electronics
  • Read
  • play piano

This puts a two requirements on the shed:

  1. Relatively constant Temperature
  2. Moisture control

For a piano to not wander out of tune, it should ideally not be subjected to wild temperature swings of -1 to 25 degrees C in a day. This means both insulation and thermal mass. Having looked at the building regs, and some hippy literature (which is infuriating, no scientific method, or at least a lack of systematic measurements) I need to achieve a “U-value” of around 0.25. Which is a tiny bit tough.

But, that should mean I won’t need to heat or cool it, assuming its correctly designed to capture the sun properly.

Also 98% humidity all day everyday is going to cause things to rot. So lets not do that. We are going to need a damp proof membrane, and some weather wrap. Basically the rain and weather should stay on the outside.

Shed fabric, for the cash strapped gentleman.

There are two basic choices:

  • Wood
  • Mud

Yes, I said mud. Now I’m going to assume that you are familiar with wooden shed, posts in each corner, stuff in the middle, pitched roof to keep the rain out.

You might not be so familiar with mud building. They have a long and rich history in the UK: Sometimes known as clay lump in cornwall and the southwest its known as cobb. What ever its called its the same basic principle:

  • Mud
  • Binding Agent

Take these two ingredients, mix, then stack one on top of each other.

Binding Agents

There are a number of usable binding agents. They largely depend on what you have kaying about. Some people like horse shit and goat hair, other people love goat shit and straw. Some heathens only use straw.

However there is another binding agent, one that’s popular in both north and south America. Enter stage left, the Polypropylene weaved bag. Welcome to the world of Super Adobe.

Super Adobe Shed

Why? Because its cheap, simple and not very complicated. You get PP sacks, shove dirt in them, lay them like bricks and smack them with a big weight after each course is completed.
Simple, back breaking work.

A sheds Place in the world

Putting a shed in the right place is key to a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) Dumping it in the middle of the garden is going to cause many arguments. So putting it at the back of the garden out of the way is a good choice.

Shed location

Power & Networking

If I were a rich man, I could just get a 2KW solar array, dump it on the roof and join it to a battery array. Hook up an inverter and job’s a goodun.

But that costs many pound coins (4-10 thousand pound coins). Much more than the budget for the shed, and I’ve still got to insulate, furnish and make the whole thing secure and habitable.

So, two very long conduits, one for power, one for networking. According to UK building regs, you can’t have them in the same conduit, perhaps wisely.

So thats another challenge, how do I lay cable through 50 meters of 30mm pipe? Let along bury the fucker to the correct depth.


One cast iron conclusion is that I need (well, want) a shed. In bullet point form here is a list of demands:

  • it should be made from super adobe
  • It should be well insulated
  • It will have mains power
  • It will have Networking
  • It will have windows
  • It will be waterproof
  • It will be no higher than 2.5 meters about ground level.
  • It should be cheap

There are risks, The biggest of which is me running out of time. Its rapidly approaching winter, so that mean limited time in the evenings.