Friday, June 29, 2018


They say there's no rest for the wicked, which would seem to indicate that I'm the antichrist.

It was time to reclaim the driveway.

Fortunately, I wasn't too banged up from the Niagara Ultra 50k, so we were able to make use of the one non-booked weekend we had available before a Canada Day camping trip to get some things done that had been hanging fire.

That big tote bag? Full of gravel to make a shed foundation, and had been sitting on our driveway - meaning we had to park halfway down it - since June 5th. It also meant I got a lovely facewash from the low-hanging maple tree branch ever time I entered or exited the passenger side of the car...which is a LOT.

So, after dropping said car off at the shop on Saturday morning for some very expensive service (noone likes being surprised by a $400+ brake job on top of the $450 they already expected to spend on other work), we donned our work gloves and picked up our shovels and went the heck at it.

Gravel bag - meet wheelbarrow.
You'll be seeing a lot of each other today.

This is how the shed hole had looked since we dug it on May 27th.
5 x 66lb bags of pea gravel and 17 bricks holding down the landscaping cloth.

Fortunately, Tanker is the best help ever. Despite the pissing rain that started almost the same time we did, he never complained - just shoveled and carted loads to the backyard steadily, even distributing them around as much of the perimeter of the shed hole (that we dug all the way back on May 27th) as he could to make it all easier to rake level.

This guy <3

Halfway done, more or less.
The bricks were part of the garden around the old shed, and we figured they'd act as decent filler.

A little less than two hours later, I was dragging the tote bag with the last half-ish wheelbarrow load into the backyard and dumping it in the hole. It had gone much more quickly and easier than we had feared after seeing how much work it had been to dig the hole in the first place.

No more brick visible!

We get our driveway back!

Unfortunately, the full yard of clear stone wasn't quite enough to get things as full and level as we'd like, so we had to borrow our neighbour's pickup truck to make a run to a certain orange big box store for 10 more bags of pea gravel to top it all off.

Tanker on slashing open bags of gravel: "Side to side, nice and easy - just like slitting a throat"
I'm sure glad he likes me..

A bunch more raking and some work with a level slotted into a long piece of wood to get things as smooth as possible, and we finally had our base.

That should drain nicely.

Then it was time to top it all off with the sixteen 24" x 24" patio stones we'd picked up from some generous friends-who-are-family back on June 2nd. Tanker had done some damage to his back sporting them all out of our friends' backyard, into a borrowed pickup truck, then into our backyard 4 weeks prior - he's been working with my chiropractor for the last couple of weeks to sort it out. So, I took full advantage of him being distracted by helping our neighbour doing some automotive work in his driveway; 16 x 85lb deadlift later, we had our shed foundation!

It's not a shed hole anymore!

By best estimate, we moved 2,700lbs of clear stone, 660lbs of pea gravel, plus 1,360lbs of patio stones into the shed hole on Saturday for a total of 4,720lbs of material. That, my friends, is a solid day's work...but only took us around 3 hours. Fortunately the rain and overcast kept it from getting too warm, so it was easier going than the hot, sunny days on which we took down the old shed and dug the hole.

Surprisingly enough, I still had the wherewithal to go for a short trail run afterward.

In the soupy, foggy air.

Even more surprising, we both felt good enough the next morning to get to work on the shed itself - it had been sitting in two huge boxes on a big skid in our backyard since April 27th, while all of the stuff that had been in the old shed languished under a tarp up against the fence at the side of the house. Time to reclaim our backyard!

Which started by making an even bigger mess of it.

After some pre-assembly of the gables and doors, we laid the flooring on top of our shed foundation. We'd read that it was highly important to have it dead level in order to facilitate the proper assembly of the shed walls, so we did our best to get it all even.

Eeh, not bad for a couple of punks working in the rain.

With the floor down it was time to start slotting in the walls and snapping in the corner pieces. It could have been a little easier, but we managed with the assistance of the block of wood included for this very purpose (!) in the shed kit we'd bought and some persuasion with a rubber mallet.

Coming along

Wood block, persuader, and a silly Tanker.

With the walls all up, it was time to install the included shelving - the full-length shelf across the back actually provided some stability to the walls.

We could see why some of the reviews of this shed said not to build it on a windy day.

The corner shelves helped stabilize the front sections by the doors, too.

Then it was time to add the doors and front gable.

This is seriously starting to look like a shed.

Then the roof and rear gable went on.

You cannot imagine how many screws go into this thing.

Of course the sun came out as we were finally getting the roof on, the day heating up as we ended up working mostly inside the walls with no breeze.

The kit even includes 3 skylights to help illuminate the interior, along with the single window.

Tanker is the only person I know who could really make building a shed fun.

Skylights installed

The instructions said the shed would take 3 people about 4-6hrs to build. The two of us started just before 3pm, and even with a few breaks here and there to refill water bottles, have a snack, and pore over the instructions in between steps, we had it up by around 8:30pm.

It's a freakin' shed!
It even came with pegboards for hanging up shovels, rakes and the string trimmer.

As the sun set, we got all the stuff that had been patiently waiting under the tarp loaded into its new home, which was significantly cleaner and better organized than the old shed.

Though we still need to put in a bin for all the stuff in the wheelbarrow.

We finished up just before dark, quite pleased with our weekend of work and the final result. Despite our less-than-perfect foundation, it all went together with no awkward gaps and seems quite sturdy, as well as looking quite sharp.


We still have a bit of work to do - the kit came with some shims and instructions for where to insert them under the floor to level the doors properly, as they don't easily latch right now due to some unevenness in the foundation, so we'll get 'round to that at some point. We also need to dig out a bit in front of the doors; even with the extra bags of gravel and the patio stones on top, the foundation sits a little below ground level, so the bottom of the doors hit the dirt in front when they're swung open. 

Great - more digging and gravel work.

We'll also need to trim back the excess landscaping fabric, and I'm thinking about doing a brick border around the edge to tidy it up a bit, but those are all minor concerns. It's a shed, and it holds stuff! This is a project that's been weighing on our minds for 2 months now - since the destruction of the old shed during the ice storm - and we're delighted to have it done.

Now hopefully we never have to do it again.
Having just adulted pretty hard, we're both looking forward to spending our long weekend relaxing while we camp on Ontario's south coast. If you need me, I'll be trying to beat the predicted 40c+/100f+ heat by spending as much time as possible in a bikini, basking in the beautiful waters of Lake Erie.

Happy Canada Day!


  1. Congrats on building a shed together and staying married! XD

    1. Haha, thanks! Tanker and I actually work really well together; we can even ride a tandem bike! Just one of the many reasons I'm still head over heels for him <3


Go on, have at me!