17th July
written by Dom

I know I’ve been banging on about making plans for the shed since forever, but I’ve finally got round to finishing "SHËD: Build your own DIY Garden Office for less than £2500". Find out more at gardenofficeplans.com

I started kicking around with the Google sketchup model that I started off with a couple of months ago, but figured that if it was going to be any use then it needed to:

  1. Be to scale
  2. Show the actual construction, rather than just the finished box

Unfortunately, sketchup isn’t a great way to build a model that actually shows the construction of this building. I kept getting about two thirds of the way through and running into the free version’s polygon limit. I committed myself to buying the Pro version only to find out that it would crash as I tried to build the various construction materials into different layers…

I had this idea that I wanted it to look like an “Ikea” plan, and loved Sketchup’s “sketchy” rendering, but the application itself wasn’t really up to the job. After various to-ings and fro-ings to architects and people with more powerful CAD packages (which I didn’t understand) I ended up with a series of fixed models which I could bring back into Sketchup in order to render – it’s less than ideal, as I’d like to offer you guys a model to download, so you can see how it all fits together… However getting the model right was stopping me from writing the plans, which is what people wanted…

In the end I discovered the concept of “Lean Publishing” – a method whereby I can self-publish my book and offer it for sale, while it’s still in its draft form. The book will (one day) be finished – to the point where I can put “THE END” at the end, but for now, it offers an illustrated set of walk-through instructions to build the shed you see on these pages. The plan is to build in feedback via a forum () so that readers/builders can ask questions or correct mistakes as they go along, making for a collaborative production and hopefully a better end product.

You can buy the book at http://leanpub.com/diygardenoffice Where you can also downlaod a “preview” version to check I’m offering what I say I am!

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  1. Fred in NH, USA


    Stumbled across your blog while surfing. From begiining to end it was entertaining and informative. Thank you so much for sharing the work you and your family put into this.

    Fred, NH – USA

  2. Dom

    Thanks so much Fred. It’s so lovely to see a genuine comment from a real person amongst the spam these things generate. Are you interested in putting a garden office together yourself? I’m interested to see how these things work over there – I’m assuming most folks have a slightly larger plot than my little back yard?

  3. Mark

    Just come across your book in the shedworking Email. Bought a download. Like yourself work in IT and need somewhere outside the house to work. Been looking for ages and determined to not pay 20k for an office. Need quite a big space as partner also working from home. Suppose I can just scale up your approach and sub divide into 2 offices and shed.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Dom

    Great to hear from you Mark, and thanks for buying the book. Please take the opportunity to register at the forum (http://gardenofficeplans.com/forum) – there you can introduce yourself further, and discuss your plans – I am working on a “shed calculator” to help calculate the materials required for alternative designs such as yours – it’s meant to be modular, so adding another office is a fairly simple affair.

  5. 27/06/2013

    We love garden offices, our first was just like you planned. A very interesting feature for those who want to build their own.

    To be safe, use an electricin.

  6. David

    Just bought the book and it is very entertaining as well as informative. I certainly feel I can do this by the way you explain it.
    One thing though, did you ever get round to an actual scale plan? I have a friend who has offered to help by pricing up a “cutting list” and he asked for a plan. He has access to demolished building materials like windows etc.
    Like other posters I’m also in IT and work from home, so does my wife so we’ll be also maximising the space and we have a shed and garage already.

  7. Dom

    The biggest problem with a scale plan is that every design is ever so slightly different. The floorplan in the book is to scale, as is the sketch up model – it was built in inches in the sketch up “world” (to the scale of my original design) but as I’m working electronically it’s impossible to say exactly what scale when you print sections out(!)

    Plus of course every 2nd hand patio door/roller shutter is slightly different, so being millimetre perfect is less useful than trying to find the most economical use of the materials to hand. (The walls are meant to use full 8×4 panels for example, with as little cutting as possible, same with the roof. Mainly because I’m lazy but also coz I can trust the straight edges that they come with better than my wonky sawing!

  8. David

    haha, I’m with you on the cutting, as luck would have it the two old sheds I’m replacing occupy exactly the same dimensions as this shed so minimal cutting is the order of the day. 🙂

    Do you have a download file for the sketch up render? Apologies for being lazy, just wondered if it was out there somewhere which would save me a bit of time or even if I could start with that and edit it a bit. I’m thinking of not putting in skylight as I can put a window on the rear wall too, however I wondered if it gives the space lighter more spacious feeling being able to look up at the sky. (I feel the need to wear a puffa jacket after that sentence.)

  9. David

    Found the link, apologies, should’ve looked more closely through the posts.

  10. Meryken

    Hi Dom

    I am in the middle of building your shed and I was wondering if you could tell me what type of roller shutter door you used? I am having some problems sourcing one which would be suitable. I don’t suppose you have a link to who you bought it from on ebay do you? Was it easy to install?

    Any help much appreciated

    Kind Regards


  11. Dom

    I just bought mine second hand off a chap in Staffs – I don’t have any preference, as a new one would be expensive – something like this though would do you : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Roller-Shutter-Door-/161426850108?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2595ca413c

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