Weekend Project

Justin Newcombe's tips on outdoor DIY projects

Weekend project: Room to grow

By Justin Newcombe

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Justin Newcombe demonstrates how to grow your plants in style.

Justin Newcombe with his home-made propagation house. Photo / Richard Robinson
Justin Newcombe with his home-made propagation house. Photo / Richard Robinson

Take a piece of paper and draw a square on it using a pencil. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other, and there you have it, your very own drawing of timber framing with a diagonal brace. All you need now are two more of these and a modified version with a door and you're golden for your own garden shed.

I built this propagation house and plant shop for the Waterview Primary School Community Garden. It's really a glorified shed and is built the same way as my chook house.

If you want something that looks more contemporary, clad it with something mod and change the roof profile.

Conversely if you want something more rustic, clad it in drift wood and do a thatched roof. In the end it's the same process.

You don't need a lot in the way of tools to build a propagation house or shed. A basic carpentry kit including a hammer, skill saw, set square, pencil, string line, level and a couple of saw horses should just about do it.

I also found a drop saw really handy - if you revel in DIY I recommend you treat yourself to one of these.

I enjoy working with timber, and ladies you'll be pleased to know carpentry is a lot like sewing. Lots of measuring, cutting and fitting.

Yes, the materials are a little heavier and the tools a little more macho, (in a non-gender specific kind of way) but you'll be surprised at the similarities.

Step 1

Have some sort of design prepared. I did a quick drawing in my notebook. This helped me visualise the shed and work out the materials.

Step 2

Create a base. I built the propagation house on the timber surrounding my paving but you could pour a slab or build a timber floor on posts.

Step 3

On a flat surface, build a square at the right height and length for your wall. Mine are all 2m high and constructed using fence rails.

Step 4

Use a large set square to check that all corners are square.

Step 5

Cut a length of timber long enough to reach the outside corners of your frame diagonally. Trace the internal corner of the frame on to the brace and cut.

Step 6

Drive a peg into the ground in line with the outside edge of the wall. Erect the wall, check the level and brace from the peg to the wall. Repeat for the other side. Then do the rear wall. Paint.

Step 7

The front wall has a door so you will end up with two tall rectangles with a gap in the middle for the door. I braced both sides of the door, then made a door using a gate design.

Step 8

To make a pitched roof I nailed a peg in the middle of the front and back walls then ran a bearer in between. I cut braces on an angle to run them between the bearer and the walls, and fixed them at each end and in the middle. I nailed beading length ways along the roof cavity and used this to screw on a Laserlite roof.

Step 9

I clad the bottom half of the building with 20mm boxing and painted. I clad the top half with Laserlite.

* Plants for the propagation house supplied by plantwholesalers.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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