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Cleaning and Sharpening Garden Tools

cleaning-and sharpening garden tools
  1. Clean cutting tools
  2. Clean the tool handles
  3. Clean tools with shaft or spring
  4. Maintain your lawn mower
  5. Store your tools

Garden tools are expensive, especially if you choose good quality gardening tools. Taking care of them and maintaining them will allow you to make the most of your initial investment by extending their lifetime.
The maintenance of a garden tool obviously depends on its function and its use. It is strongly advised to take the time needed for cleaning and sharpening garden tools after each use. Here is how to properly clean and maintain your garden tools .

1.Clean cutting tools

Cutting tools include: pruning shears, pruning shears, shears …

After each use

  • Clean the blade of the tool with a cloth dampened with alcohol for:
  • Remove any sap or resin before it solidifies;
  • Disinfect and prevent the spread of disease.
  • Simply use soapy water, then wipe thoroughly with a cloth.


  • Check the condition of the blades of your cutting tools. It’s generally worth making time for sharpening garden tools where necessary, to retain their cutting edge.
  • To do this, after cleaning, disassemble the tool that allows it (like most secateurs).
    • Place the tool in a vice.
    • Sharpen the blade with a sharpening stone (rifle) respecting the angle of the bevel and from the inside to the outside.
    • Avoid the grinding wheel, because it quickly removes too much material.
    • Reassemble the tool.
    • Grease it lightly.

2.Clean the tool handles


  • Check the fastening nails of the stick, tighten them or change them if necessary.
  • Sand the wooden handles of your tools for ease of use, using fine sandpaper.
  • Rub them with a cloth lightly soaked with linseed oil.

3.Clean tools with shaft or spring


  • Lubricate the spindle or spring of the tool with a few drops of lubricating oil, to make it easier to use and to reduce friction.
  • Observe the condition of the spring and change it if there is a weak tension.

4.Maintain your lawnmower

After each use:

  • Remove the compressed grass under the crankcase and at the wheels.

Before winter:

  • Wash the crankcase with a water jet, and if necessary, use a brush.
  • Sharpen your lawnmower’s blade by a builder, it’s much more careful.
  • If it is fuel powered engine:
    • Empty the fuel tank.
    • Refer to the manufacturer’s manual and perform the recommended maintenance.
    • Remember to perform a drain, replace the air filter, or spark plug if necessary.
    • Store in a dry, well-ventilated place.

5.Store your tools

  • Store your tools in a sheltered, dry place.
  • Hang them by placing the metal part upwards, this will prevent a buildup of moisture and prevent the rust from coming.
  • Store the cutting tools with care, the hurtful part against the wall.
  • Do not forget safety, do not let the children approach it.

If you’re looking for new or replacement garden tools, take a look at our wide range of tools for the garden here.

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Plastic Garden Storage Boxes – Buyers Guide

plastic garden storage

Plastic Garden Storage

There are numerous tools that facilitate your work in the garden. From the water hose to watering cans and other implements, this might leave you pressed for space. Your need for space may not require a large garden shed; and in light of this, a plastic garden storage box could be the best answer. The benefits of going this direction are countless. To begin with, a garden storage box made of plastic is highly versatile. It can be used to store all your gardening tools, lawn chairs and even your kids’ outdoor toys. This article delves deep into the benefits. Furthermore, it provides a buying guide geared to helping you get the right product in a sea of options.

Keter Midi Store Garden Storage

Benefits of plastic garden storage boxes

  1. Affordable and highly functional – With just a little over 50 pounds, you will find a good plastic garden storage box. To this end, you do not have to worry about constructing a shed which can cost a fortune. In addition, a box will provide you with the ideal or precise space to meet your needs. In a way, it is a customized option to acquire space without breaking the bank. As hinted to above, these boxes are also highly versatile. From storing your yard implements to toys, you can also store animal feeds, wood logs and even car accessories as you desire. They are almost like and extension of your house. These highly functional items are therefore value for money.
  2. Ability to withstand harsh elements – Plastic garden storage boxes are mainly designed to be used outdoors in your garden. You do not have to worry about the elements because they are sturdy enough to withstand rain, heavy winds and snow. Even though the boxes are relatively lightweight, the items or contents you store therein will ensure that winds cannot pick the box up.
  3. No maintenance necessary – These plastic boxes for garden storage do not require any maintenance. First, they are not affected by insects or bacteria unlike boxes made out of wood. There is also no rust with plastic; and manufacturers of these plastic boxes have utilized excellent technologies to make sure that the boxes are sturdy enough to require no maintenance whatsoever. A good example is the fact that the plastic boxes will not be deformed by ultraviolet radiation. Technology has made it possible to leave these boxes in direct sunlight without having to worry at all.
  4. Highly secure – Plastic garden storage boxes are secure. This is because they come with the option of padlock support. With a good padlock, you will be happy to keep away thieves or simply keep your kids away from the box. Some people do not have security concerns owing to perimeter lighting or good house alarm systems. Either way, you have the option to further secure your box as you desire.
  5. Easy to install – These plastic boxes are easy to install; in fact, you only require a couple of minutes to set them up. By snapping the box together, you will not need additional tools or special knowledge to do it yourself. Comparing this to a wooden shed, plastic boxes will save you a lot of time and heartache.
  6. They are portable – Because the plastic boxes come with handles, you can move them around your garden as you like. This will give you the freedom to customize your garden to your convenience. There are many other benefits that come with these items.

Keter Manor Gareden Storage Shed

Considerations when buying plastic garden storage boxes

There are several things to consider before you buy these items. After all, you want a box that answers your space needs accurately and conveniently. Because there are endless options in the market, knowing how to buy will help you avoid common pitfalls.

  1. Size of the box is critical – Plastic garden storage boxes come in a wide array of sizes. From small horizontal boxes to tall double-door boxes; you have to know the amount of space you need. Determining the space you need is the key to getting the ideal box size. Some boxes hold up to 500 liters while others have over 150 cm of space. Look at different capacities while shopping and take time to estimate or calculate what will work for you best. Making assumptions is not advised; know how much space you are getting.
  2. Consider the features of the storage box – Plastic garden storage boxes come with a variety of different features. Some boxes have lockable doors while others do not. Others do not have UV light protection features. Some boxes will have lids that double-up as a garden bench. Portability in some plastic boxes will be made possible by wheels while others simply have handles. This goes to show that the features fitted in different boxes will serve you in a variety of ways. The more features you get, the higher the price may be. If you are looking for simple and functional boxes; know which features work for you.
  3. Look at brand reputation – The garden storage box brands available are many and can be overwhelming. To this end, considering the reputation of these brands will help you choose a brand that gives you the best product possible. Reading reviews to see what others say about the various brands is the key to choosing the best.
  4. Consider the price – It does not hurt to look for a good deal. To do this, compare different prices in the market and see what you find. Because there are many plastic garden storage box brands, you can be sure to get a good deal; you really do not have to leave your pocket empty. However, due diligence is the key to finding excellent prices and even discounts.


If you have never considered plastic garden storage boxes, you are definitely missing out. These items enable you to eliminate clutter in your home. The boxes are also very durable and come in attractive shapes and colors as well. There is no doubt that this is an ideal answer to your garden space needs. Take a look at our wide range of garden storage products, available from different companies; you will not be disappointed.

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House Plants – Tips to Look After Them in Winter

House Plants tips to look after them in Winter

Keeping your house plants healthy during the winter is not always easy due to lack of light, depending on the heat to be managed and their growing having slowed down. Here are some tips to achieve this.

1- Watering
They should be applied proportionally to the amount of ambient heat conditioning the evapotranspiration.

However, as with fertilisers, reduce them in winter because plants grow little. Always bring warm water and especially not limestone for acid-loving plants such as azaleas . Some mineral waters are too unbalanced, or even poor in some useful elements.
Plants grown in pure heather soil dry up very quickly. It is better to dip their root ball at least once a week in water until no air bubbles surface. So the earth will be ideally soaked to saturation point. Leave it to dry before replacing it in a flowerpot.

2- Water reservoir
They will be more effective if you let dry out somewhat the substrate between refills.

3- Watering
If the heating of your house causes dry air, do not hesitate to mist warm water on the foliage if they are not hairy. In this case, this could lead to cryptogamic diseases .

Eventually, place the pots on a bowl filled with gravel and filled with a water base that will maintain a healthy humidity. Alternatively, smooth-leaved plants will enjoy a shower in the tub once a month to clean their leaf area.

Replant your plant in a larger pot (without taking too large)

4- Mealybugs
Whether they are carapace or mealy, the resistant scales will be exterminated (asphyxiated) using a cotton soaked in alcohol.

5- Containing
No matter the material of the pots (terracotta, plastic, metal …) as long as they are provided with a drainage hole to avoid asphyxiation of the roots.

Also avoid repotting a plant in a pot too large. Count only one or two larger sizes.

6- Air currents
More than in any other season, your tropical plants will be sensitive to the slightest current of cold air or, worse, icy. Move them accordingly.

7- Fertilizers
In winter, plants do not grow much, their growth will resume with the lengthening of days, mid-March. In fact, do not fatten them and limit the intake of soluble fertilizers.

Move indoor plants closer to winter windows

8- Light
Approach the plants from the windows; They will benefit from an extra light. If necessary , place them on the ground so that they appreciate the slightest ray of sunshine, unless the tiled floor is too cold, which can block their growth. Place a mirror nearby to reflect the rays and give them more light.

9- Regular cleaning
Systematically remove diseased or damaged parts of your plants. You will give them an extra vigor.

10- Radiator
Keep your plants somewhat away from sources of heat, thus avoiding hot strokes and therefore excessive dehydration.

11- Soil
A quality substrate, both rich and porous, supple is recommended. It will be rather acid (containing then ” heather soil “) for azaleas , ferns for example.

Why not take a look at our wide range of house plants to brighten up any room.

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Sofa Buyers Guide – How to Buy The Best Sofa

buy the best sofa

Sofa Buyers Guide – How to Buy The Best Sofa

A sofa can be a part of the family for a long time, so in this sofa buyers guide, we’ve brought together some useful hints and tips to help guide you in how to buy the best sofa.

There’s no doubt that a sofa can be a big investment, and even if you only plan on keeping it for a few years,  sofas often make their way to other rooms in the house, or are even passed to other family members or friends. With this longevity in mind, it’s worth taking your time when you’re choosing which sofa to buy.

buy the best sofa

Sofa Quality

Quality sofas should feel good and solid. A simple test is to just sit down on a sofa and assess if there’s if it feels solid. It shouldn’t feel flimsy, even if you sit down heavily. Next, lift the sofa by one of it’s corners and try to wobble and shake it. If it feels light or wobbly, chances are its not a quality construction.

Sofa Structure

Look for a frame made from a hardwood. A strong frame is essential and a sturdy frame means a long-lasting sofa. Soft wood is low-cost and may warp or wobble after a few years. Although more expensive, hardwood is more durable. Try to avoid buying frames made of particleboard, plastic, or metal as these can warp and crack.

Many sofas have sinuous “serpentine” springs, which are pre-assembled sets of snaking wire. They’re nicely supportive, but they can press on the frame or sag over time if the metal isn’t heavy gauge. Look for eight-way hand-tied springs, as these are often an indicator of quality furniture. They’re comfy but expensive and some experts feel they’re no better than serpentines. To complicate this though, S-shaped springs can provide almost as much comfort. Feel the springs through the fabric and see if they are close together and firm. Sofas that have no springs and just use webbing or mesh, can be less comfortable and flimsy.

Top Tip: Sit down hard on a corner or outside edge of the sofa and listen for squeaks and creaks. These suggest that springs are incorrectly positioned or hitting the frame.

It’s also worth trying to avoid legs that are simply connected to the frame, ideally they should be an integral part of the sofa frame.

Quality of Joinery is important. Look for sofas that have joints that have double dowels, and are fitted with corner blocks joined with glue and screws. If the frame is connected with joints connected by wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (check the tag as it may indicate that the corner blocks are glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets you can be sure it’s a good quality, solid frame. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but you should never buy a sofa that is just held together by staples, nails, or glue. If in doubt, ask your salesperson for written manufacturer information regarding the joinery used to construct the frame.

Top Tip: If you want to test frame strength, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By around 10cm of height or even before, the other front leg should also lift. If it’s still on the floor, the frame has too much flex and less strength.

Sofa Comfort

Next on the agenda are cushions. Most likely they will have a core of polyurethane foam, and bear in mind that the denser and heavier the foam, the longer it will last.

In lower cost furniture, cushions tend to be filled with just the polyurethane foam core. In higher quality furniture the core is wrapped with a batting. Top quality cushions can be a poly-down mix, which have down mixed with the batting. Also look out for spring-down cushions, which feature a core of springs surrounded by foam and feathers.

buy the best sofa

Sofa Style

This is really personal choice, but if you’re stuck for ideas here are some pointers. Look for a sofa that complements the style of your home. For more traditional interiors, look for a sofa with rolled arms, a contoured back, skirting or tufted cushions.

If you have a contemporary home, when you buy the best sofa it may tend to have cleaner lines, fewer flourishes and understated upholstery and colour.

Sofa Fabric

Since sofas are a big investment, you be aiming for one that will look fashionable as long as possible. With that in mind, it is a good idea to look for a neutral colour fabric. COlour and pattern can be added with throws and cushions, and will be easier and cheaper to change, especially if you redecorate.

One caveat to this though is if you have kids. In this case, a neutral sofa can be more prone to visible marks and stains, so you may want to consider a darker colour or a sofa with a subtle pattern.

Generally speaking, synthetic fabrics can be more durable, hold their colour well and are easier to clean. Tightly woven fabrics and fabrics that are heavy will stand up to wear and tear better, as will leather.

Whichever fabric you consider, ask the store for a sample or cutting that you can take home to think about before you buy. You may even be allowed to borrow a cushion from the sofa you’re interested in buying. You can see the material under the light in your intended room, and see how it compliments other pieces of furniture.

buy the best sofa

Sofa Size

Room size is important, and you should consider the proportions of the room and determine what height, length and depth of sofa would compliment the available space. One great tip if you’re uncertain, is to mock up a footprint or outline (using the exact measurements of a sofa you’re considering) on the floor using masking tape. Even better is ‘building’ a sofa out of empty boxes. This will give a very realistic feeling of how the sofa will fill the space.

Seating space is a consideration too, and if you plan to spend a lot of time lying on the sofa or snoozing on it, make sure it has enough space between the arms to stretch out properly. Take into account the width of the arms, not just the overall width of the sofa.

Think about the number of people you want to seat. The gap between the main sofa cushions can be less comfortable, so if you get a sofa with two cushions,  aim for just two people to use it. To seat more people, find a sofa with three cushions or a single long cushion (this is called a “bench” cushion).

Top Tip: If you have a small space, one option is to  buy a sofa with low or no arms. This can make your room seem larger.

The Back of The Sofa

Typically, there are two types of backs. Firstly there is a pillow back, which has removable cushions or pillows along the rear of the sofa. Secondly, there is a tight back, which has upholstery tailored to the shape of the back of the sofa.

Pillow-back sofas are often more comfortable look softer, but unless you fluff them regularly, the cushions will mostly look slightly uneven. If this sort of detail will bother you, you may prefer buying a sofa with a tight back.

Also think about the depth of the seat and the angle between the seat and the back , as this will affect how comfortable you feel on the sofa. This is really down to personal preference,  but you as a simple guide, if there’s a sofa or armchair you find comfortable, measure the distance from the inside of your knee to the spot where your lower back touches the back of the sofa. Aim to buy a sofa that has similar dimensions.

buy the best sofa


Buy the best quality sofa that you can afford. Your sofa will then serve you well over many years. Plus, it’s usually cheaper to reupholster a good sofa than to buy a new one of similar quality. We hope you found this sofa buyers guide useful, and that our top tips will help you buy the best sofa for your needs. Why not take a look at our superb collection of sofas and take advantage of our fantastic prices and special offers.

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Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Prepare Your Garden for Winter

It’s approaching that time of year again, where the colour in your garden is fading and many of your vegetable crops have already peaked (of course some vegetables do very well over Winter). Rather than being a time to slow down through Autumn, this can actually be an incredibly busy time as you prepare your garden for Winter.

Forget Spring Cleaning, How About Autumn Cleaning?

First up, is clearing away all the old vegetation that’s built up from Summer. Clearing away all the clutter, such as fallen leaves, can be a good idea, especially if there’s been a few dry days and the leaves are crisp and easy to sweep, rather than a soggy mess.

If you have a greenhouse, its also worth clearing leaves and moss from glass and guttering. This will also help keep rainwater escape properly through a wet and windy Autumn and Winter. At the same time, it’s worth giving any greenhouse glass a clean up, as it’ll help let as much sunlight as possible work it’s magic over the shorter Winter days.

Since we’re on a cleaning frenzy, it can be worth taking this time to properly clean any seeding trays and empty plant pots, as they’ll then be nice and ready to use when Spring comes around.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Autumn is a good time to re-position plants and restructure your garden design and layout. It’s worth cutting faded perennials back to around 5cm above ground level. Don’t be too ruthless, as these plants will also provide shelter for overwintering insects. Once your borders and planting is all clean and tidy, it’s worth spreading a thick layer of compost, bark chips or well rotted manure.

If you have annual plants, now is the time to dig them up and throw them on the compost heap. While on the subject of compost, Autumn is a perfect time to clear out last year’s compost and use it around the garden to make room in compost bins for this season’s waste. Of course, if your compost isn’t quite ready to use, you can take this time to turn it, which should help improve decomposition. You can also just create a new compost heap, the more the better.

Cover Up Those Ponds

Decomposing leaves can block filters on pumps, and make pond water foul. Rather than having a big cleaning task to look forward too, it’s a better idea to catch leaves before they fall into your pond in the first place. Simply spread a fine meshed net across the pond and pin it down with stones. The leaves this mesh collects an be added straight to the compost heap or collected up later to make leaf mould.

Take Care of Your Lawn

If your lawn is looking a little ragged, this is a great time to give it some t.l.c. Remove any old grass clippings and moss using a rake, and as with your old annula plants, add these to the compost heap. If you have a lot of moss then it can be beneficial to use a moss killer first. If there are areas that receive a lot of wear such as paths, the soil can become very compact, so to help improve drainage in these areas, as well as aeration of the soil, make some holes with the prongs of a garden fork approximately every 10cm across this area. Make sure the holes are fairly deep.

Next, you may want to add an application of autumn lawn feed, which should help prepare your lawn for the coming Winter months.

Autumn is also a very good time to lay down some new turf, as this will give it plenty of time to become established before next Summer.

Put Some Evergreens in Your Garden

Evergreens can form an essential part of any garden, providing structure and all year round interest. Winter is the time when you will really appreciate your evergreens. Since the soil is still warm, Autumn is the perfect time to fill those gaps in your borders.

For a formal look, you may want to consider adding some box or yew topiary. Lonicera nitida, Bay and Holly can be trimmed into formal shapes and make very good evergreen hedges.

Lift Plants That Are Threatened By Frost

Another thing to consider as you prepare your garden for Winter, is making sure that you lift any species such as Cannas, Begonias and Dahlias before the frosts arrive. Cut back stems and carefully lift the tubers from the ground.

Clean the soil from these and store them in trays of dry compost or sand, with just the top of crown visible. The trays should be stored in a cool but frost free place over the Winter, until they can be re-planted next Spring.

In very mild areas it may also be possible to keep some of these species safe without actually lifting them. Just cover the crowns with a thick blanket of mulch.

Don’t Forget Your Garden Tools

Sharpen any tools that need it, and remove rust where possible. You may want to consider having your lawn mower serviced before you store it for the Winter, that way it’ll be ready to go straight away when it’s needed again.

Spades, forks and other garden tools will benefit from having a good wash, but make sure you dry them thoroughly and oil the metal parts to prevent rust appearing. Wooden handles can also be thoroughly cleaned and protected with linseed oil.

Prepare Your Garden For Winter


We hope these tips have given you some ideas to help you prepare your garden for Winter. If you need a few new garden tools to get the job done, why not take a look at our superb range of garden tools and lawn mowers.

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How to Buy the Best Shed

buy the best shed

How to Buy the Best Shed

Before you buy the best shed for your needs, it’s worth considering how it will be used and the space where it will be located. A garden shed plays an important role in the garden and can be an essential storage space for equipment, or even a work space.

Some people tend to think of sheds as unsightly and try to hide them at the end of the garden where, over time, they aren’t maintained and they slowly erode and disintegrate.

buy the best shed

Work Out How You Will Use Your Shed

How you plan to use your shed may inform the design of your garden. If you are likely to use it frequently and need good access, you may need to consider your pathways and paving. You may also decide to position your shed in a more central position in the garden, or even close to the house. Having a shed at the side of a house can also give an uncluttered view of the rest of your garden.

If you plan on using your shed as a workplace, e.g. as a more traditional potting shed, you may want to consider the need for storage and also for a good sized work surface.

If you have a greenhouse, cold frame or fruit, vegetable or flower garden, having the shed close to these can be handy. Again, think about the paving and pathways under and around the shed. A solid, mud-free and anti-slip surface can make a huge difference if you are frequently in and out of the shed carrying plants, etc.

If you intend to just use your shed for storage, positioning and pathways can be a little simpler. A lawn mower, for example, might only be used once every few weeks, and bikes and other stored sports items may only be accessed occasionally.  You may want to include things like bike racks and shelving to maximise storage space. Likewise, stored barbecues or garden furniture may only be needed occasionally so pathways to the shed and proximity to your house is less important.

Shed Materials

Most sheds are usually built from a softwood. They are generally constructed from prefabricated panels that are simply screwed or bolted together. The roof is typically covered with a waterproof roofing felt, although some sheds may also be tiled or feature slate roofs. This may be an aesthetic choice to help the shed blend into the design of your house.

Roof designs can be an angled flat roof or a pitched inverted “V” shape. again, these two options will affect internal storage space as well as how the shed looks. You will need to consider rainwater run-off from the roof, and may want to include some guttering to collect and direct rainwater.

Visible or Hidden Shed

Whether your shed is a visible feature, or a hidden building will be based on your garden design and personal preference. Either way, there are various methods that can be employed to achieved your desired look.

There has been a trend for “green” roofs and covering a roof with low-maintenance plants not only benefits wildlife, increasing biodiversity in your garden, but it also helps keep your shed cooler in summer and warmer in winter. A green roof can help to  disguise the shed, and covering it in something that only grows shallow roots, such as turf, can be a great choice.

Staining your shed a dark colour will also help it blend into the background of your garden and be less prominent. You can also introduce some planting or trellis screens to help break up the shape of the shed and make it more hidden.

Featured Sheds

Rather than hide your shed away, you may decide to make it a feature of your garden. With such a wide range of sizes, shapes and colourful wood treatments available, you have lots of options to make your shed a visually stunning centerpiece to your garden.

Sheds don’t need to look like plain wooden boxes. There is also a huge range of summer houses on the market, which can also be used for storage, etc. If you plan on using your shed as a workspace or office, then this can be a great option, and with so many styles to choose from, you can use one of these as a really stunning feature in your garden.

There are also sheds that are designed with a truly contemporary look and feel, so if you want something with a modern twist then there are plenty of options available.

buy the best shed


Alternatives to Sheds

If you have limited space available, you may not need a full size shed. There are many smaller storage buildings available, and these are  usually large enough to take a good collection of garden tools, and can easily be disguised with  clever planting. Again, if painted with a dark colour, you can reduce it’s visual impact.

buy the best shed

Electricity in Your Shed

If you intend to use your shed for anything other than basic storage, it may be a good idea to install a mains electricity connection to your shed. This can provide you with light, heat and power for tools etc. Consider the routing of cables through the garden to the location of the shed. Pathways are a good route to follow, plus it means you’ll always know where the cables are, so you’re less likely to accidentally dig into them.

Shed Security

The security of a shed should be considered, especially if you are storing anything of value. There are a number of alarms made specifically for sheds and outbuildings, and sensors that link to your main house alarm can also be used.


A small shed may seem a cheaper option, but it’s worth looking at your storage needs. It can be more cost effective in the long run if you buy the best shed for your needs and choose a larger model in the first place, rather than have to replace it later.

Garden sheds are usually allowed without planning permission, but check with your local council if in doubt. There is usually information on your local council website, explaining regulations and allowed specifications for height, width, etc.

Having the correct base for your shed can prolong the timbers and make the shed more secure so always consider the cost of any base or foundation preparation that may be needed.


We hope you found this guide useful and that it will help you buy the best shed for your needs. Why not take a look at our fantastic range of sheds and storage, and summer houses.