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Extent of clearing land for shed foundation

 
pollinator
Posts: 120
Location: Eastern Great Lakes lowlands, zone 4/5
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I'm going to buy a small shed (8'x14') for a vacant field. The area I would like to put it on is meadow I mow with a weed wacker, and behind that is Japanese honeysuckle thicket. I would actually prefer the shed to be nestled back into the existing thicket a bit but I imagine that will be a lot more work or expensive.

I plan to deliver a shed on skids to this spot, to sit on a 6" free-form gravel foundation. The ground is level so I think free-form gravel poured out is good.

My question is, what kind of site prep should I do on the meadow before pouring and leveling gravel? If I pour gravel on low-mowed grass, it would just grow up through the gravel, but will that be an issue since a building will be placed on top of it on skids in the near future?

I figure the building would 'solarize' weed control any regrowth. I am not sure how much of an issue it would be around the edges of the gravel foundation (there will be 1.5' extra gravel all around the building). I also wonder if it is as simple on top of Japanese Honeysuckle: cut it low, pour gravel over it, and let shade keep any regrowth from damaging the building. I figure it is not because honeysuckle grows so vigorously, so I imagine it could grow through the gravel and damage the floor. If I locate the gravel pad in the existing honeysuckle thicket I will cut tall stumps and then yank the stumps out of the ground with a truck, before doing whatever treatment I would do to grass if any, then pouring gravel for the shed. That would probably do it, but I may just opt for grass!
 
gardener
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If it were me.
I would put weed blocker fabric down on a low mowed field. Then cover it with gravel.
The Honeysuckel  should be cleared as it might try to grow from under the building.
 
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Hi. I totally agree with the weed suppressant membrane although I dislike having to use it myself,  but it is much more efficient than digging out the area.
What I really wanted to flag up is the use of a weed whacker. Having gone through that sweaty and noisy task myself,  I strongly recommend that you go over to scything. It is great! Faster, neater and easier.
Good luck with the shed.


 
pollinator
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Location: KY
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Maybe this would work? Just mow it as low as possible, pour the gravel, set it all up, then put whatever type of skirting you desire (solid type if you want to dark out the weeds) around the sides down to your pallets or all the way to the gravel...If you want some airflow underneath for whatever reason, just cut some squares on the sides and install vents. Metal or rot resistant wood would work. You can just hit it with a string trimmer pretty easily afterwards to maintain.
 
R Spencer
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Thanks for the replies!

Tyler I was thinking of something like that. But the gravel will be poured free-form so weeds will encroach on some of it. The question is how big a deal that is, and if it will slowly erode toward the shed enough to make it settle out of level, or if the gravel will hold underneath the shed since no weeds will come up straight underneath it (or they won't survive for long if they do).

I hear y'all on the weed control fabric and may go that route. I prefer to use only wood and reusable metal if possible, and so far so good. Weed control fabric wouldn't be too bad, but are there effective alternatives?

I'm thinking to yank out the roots of any Japanese Honeysuckle or European Buckthorn on site (there are less than 5 it seems like), mow/weedwack/aspiring-scythe herbaceous veg low, then spray the area with vinegar or scold it with hot water? I figure solarizing it could help too and I will do a little bit of that once I clear the site of veg, but I'd probably not get a full enough season of solarizing before installing the shed this autumn.
 
R Spencer
pollinator
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Hey folks, follow up Q: I ended up digging out a pad for the shed to make the subgrade level (~1% slope for drainage), compacted, and dig some trenches for drainage.

My next step is filling the pad with gravel and tamping that down, then getting the shed placed on it.

Two questions:
1) Do you think I need any kind of geotextile between the gravel and tamped subsoil? I hear mixed things. If so, can I use a compostable material like cardboard, discarded wool, or a mat of hay? The idea is to separate the gravel from the soil, so they do not mix and lead to settling.

2) Do you think I need to separate the shed from the gravel? Also heard mixed things. Shed is built on 4"x6" larch skids with larch or hemlock floor joists 16" on center. I plan to have 4-6" of gravel. I can get locust beams but they will not come uniform thickness and is too dry for me to adjust. I could also get some cinderblocks.

What do you think? Can gravel go straight on the pad, can the shed go straight on gravel, or what/why would you add in between to make this thing last?
 
pollinator
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You may be worrying too much.
Think about cardboard to cover the ground.
You just need to ensure water against the slip rails will not harm the rails.
If you have the correct durability with the skid rails, everything you propose is excellent.
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