Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

Shed Site Preparation Continues

My trusty ax purchased in a hardware store in Banff  Alberta, Canada 1993 for $15.

For us working stiffs who have projects at home Labor Day Weekend is aptly named.  I spent the second and third day of my shed project in an epic struggle with the elements.  On Saturday the temperatures soared into the upper 90's.  I toiled for seven hours with shovel and ax stopping only once an hour to drink a pint of ice water.

Two big Silver Maple trees grow on each side about 15 feet from my shed site.  I knew the ground would be intertwined with root networks from these two big old trees each with trunk diameters of 3 feet.

.060" Aluminum corner brackets
I fabricated these brackets at work and picked up some 1/4" zinc plated bolts and fasteners at the hardware store.  These will keep the corners of the retaining wall perfectly mated.  My experiment with this arrangement is to test how the composite decking material stands up to burial in a very moist area.  The boards are made of recycled wood fiber (sawdust) encapsulated in recycled polyethylene, the plastic that gallon milk jugs are made of.

The decking material is termite and rot resistant and carries a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer (when used as decking of course).  I've got a feeling it will work fine for my application.

If you've never had the pleasure of digging roots your missing out on a real treat!

I used a chain saw to facilitate the removal of a big 5" monster root.

By 4:30 PM I had all the roots finally removed from the space and the dirt excavated to a uniform 5 or 6 inches of depth.  Luckily the clay layer begins about 6 inches down so I should be in good shape providing a study and solid base for my new shed.  The next step is to fill the hole with gravel.  I purchase  limestone locally and use my utility trailer to haul it home.  The trailer has a capacity of about 1200 pounds and I am estimating I may need two or three loads.


  1. Well done! I am always impressed by your forethought and material selection. And as one who grew up feeling like a child laborer, I empathize with your root removal too! Thanks for putting the wheelbarrow in the same photo as the roots for perspective.

  2. recumbent conspiracy theoristSeptember 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Thanks Nate, Yes hard work but I enjoy it. I had a neighbor who would spend all summer working on projects like this in his yard. I used to think he was nuts but now not so much.

    Yep those roots are tenacious buggers!