An EMPIRE of sheds

Way back in 2008 we dismantled the incumbent concrete shed, disposed of the iffy looking corregated roof and did some serious carpentry to transform it into a much larger summer house, with french doors and a pitched roof with a porch. Obviously all the stuff that had been in the shed had to be put elsewhere, so we bought two cheap DIY shack sheds and piled everything up in there.

A couple of years later we converted our attached garage into a playroom for the kids, so all the stuff from the garage found it’s way into our summer house. We’ve only just managed to clear it our for use.


Beast Sheds are currently running a competition until the end of April to win a £499 shed. I already have three, what could I possibly want with a fourth? Well…..

It’s long been an idea of mine to have a modest secret underground base that would befit a villain in a cut price Bond film. It’s easier to manage than you might think, because think I have, in some considerable detail. The whole premise starts with the purchase of a 20ft shipping container. These can be bought for about £1,000 second hand. There are certain things we want to do to our shipping container when it arrives. Firstly we’re going to buy something technical- some Weholite HDPE structured wall large diameter twin wall pipe (1.35m diameter) and a junction for it. Then we’re going to angle grind a hole in the roof of the container at one of the corners and fit the junction to the hole. Secondly we’re going to erect a timber frame inside the container, sacrificing about 6 inches all the way around in space. We’re then going to pack this space with insulation and nail marine plyboard over it to properly insulate and line the container. Thirdly we’re going to do some wiring to bring electricity and light to the box, as well as ensuring it’s earthed properly. We’ll wall mount armoured cable in watertight trunking just to be on the safe side. When all of this has been done we’re going to weld the door shut from the outside to make it even more watertight.

Then you have the hard graft: dig a large hole, around 10 feet deep, 22ft long and 16ft wide, dispose of the soil either in a flurry of skips or in a more The Great Escape fashion and you’ll be able to see where I’m going with this. Don’t dispose of all of it at this point, we’ve intentionally made sure our hole is a bit bigger than the container in case we need to do any fiddling externally.

So what you have now is a dirty great big hole in your garden. Rather than just plonking your container in this hole, we’re going to do things a bit more professionally because we’ve thought about this a bit. First things first, we’re going to put concrete bases in each corner for the corner feet of our container to rest on. Then we’re going to put a foot of gravel, up to about two thirds of the height of the plinths, in the hole to aid drainage. This will probably be a couple of tons but wont cost more than £100 from Wickes. At this point we’ll get the chap with the large crane to lower our cargo container into our hole, making sure it’s resting on our concrete plinths. Then we’ll put some Gabion baskets around the sides. These are the wired baskets that you see on cliff defences or roadsides. They’re basically a big wire basket you fill with stones. We’ll build these up to the height of our container. These will stop the lateral pressure of the soil buckling the container.

We’re on the home straight now. Attach your plastic piping to the junction and back fill your hole. There should be a foot of soil on top of the container, which isn’t too heavy for it to cope with. Run a drain pipe down the side of your vertical shaft, bringing the armoured electricity supply in and a pipe for the air conditioning out.

Around your vertical pipe, build a concrete base large enough for your 5ft x 4ft shed, making sure the base isn’t extending over your buried container. Lets keep the weight of the base off your container eh? You should position the shed in such a way that you can avoid cutting too much of the frame when you cut a hole in the bottom to access your secret underground bunker. Build the shed, then make sure you put either a pivoting cover or trap door to hide your entrance to your secret underground bunker. A telescopic ladder can aid entry and exit.

The shed will look great and give you some additional storage. In our case, we really miss having a potting shed, so the shed would double as a potting shed as well as access to our secret underground bunker.

Obviously this is just at the cunning plan stage, I’ve not looked into any of the building regs required for such an undertaking, only the practicalities of actually doing the project. But if I win a shed, I’d be one step further along my masterplan…