• Jeremy Horning

HOW TO LEVEL GROUND FOR A SHED

Updated: Apr 29


The first step to getting a flat area for your shed is to have a levelled shed foundation. You can get away with uneven ground, but your shed frame must be on a level surface. If you're planning on constructing a shed on a slope, make sure that the ground level is flat, so the shed can be stable. However, a levelled foundation is truly needed for your shed before getting started.


Why Is It Important To Level The Ground Before Building A Shed?

For the sustainability of sheds, you require a level surface. It may seem like a lot at first, but in the end, you’ll be grateful you did.

Without leveling the ground beneath your shed, it won’t last very long, and you certainly don’t want all your difficult efforts wasted over a choice you could prevent.

Do You Need To Perfectly Level A Shed Base?

Yes, you need to. The base of your shed has to be on even ground, so it doesn’t shift out of place when someone walks in or when there’s heavy wind.

To make your shed base perfectly level, get a landscaping fabric and 2by4 lumber and place it flat beneath the footing of the shed. Gently arrange the walls, place them at the top of the pieces, and screw them; ensure everything is done perfectly before building a shed.

For sheds that come with a pre-assembled door frame, you might not need to create all of these, but if it does, assemble the frame before arranging the walls. To extend the life span of your shed to many years, you can add a weed membrane.

What Are The Different Ways To Level The Ground For A Shed?

Leveling the floor for a shed building comes with different site preparations; you need to figure out what works best for you in terms of budget, durability and ease of installation. Let’s look at a few ways to can have an excavated area for sheds;

Slab

Pouring a slab is one of the most difficult but guaranteed ways of leveling a shed foundation. It can be quite a complicated process because you’ll need to excavate the area, lay a gravel base, assemble wooden planks, and pour and smoothen the concrete.

You’ll need to wait for at least a week for the concrete to be completely dried before placing your shed on it. It doesn’t take much to build up a solid base from the ground without slope; you just need to measure the soil and determine how much slab needs to be put in.

Gravel

Gravel shed foundation has to be one of the most straightforward ways of leveling a shed floor. Get your measuring tape and measure out the shed’s dimensions you wish to use, and excavate the area about 7inches deep.

Depending on your choice, you can decide to outline the area using plastic or wood edge resistance. Pour the gravel into the shed area and make it smooth using a hand tamper. Try varying the top layer to get to the level; place aboard through the area with the level on it and drag it across the gravel so you can have level ground.

Put a wooden beam on the gravel and level it. The surface of the beam gives the shed foundation a gravel level base. Note that how much gravel you’ll put depends on the depth and slope of the shed’s area.

Concrete Blocks

You can also make use of concrete blocks to level your shed floor. Measure out the graded area and ensure it’s leveled to a large extent. Dig out a portion at the front of the shed if you’re dealing with an overly steep slope.

Use thick concrete blocks to get all sides of the shed to the same height. Maneuver the dirt using a shovel, and make sure that the top is level and there are no low areas. Place a longboard on the concrete blocks with a level on it to ensure the foundation is leveled on all sides.

Piers

Leveling shed bases with piers is perfect for dealing with a steep surface. The best part is that it comes in a variety of heights and with it has a metal bracket to support a floor joist. First, measure out the dimensions of the slope, and after completing that, you can calculate what height of pier will be correct to use.

Keep filling and adjusting the gravel until you get to the point where the top of the piers are leveled on all sides. Put the joists and check if the shed site is perfectly straight and leveled.

What Is The Easiest Way To Level Ground For A Shed?

Not everyone loves the stress that comes with having a level ground, and if you don’t agree to the options we have listed above, you can always follow the easy pact, which is using a laser level.

It’s one of a kind, and you don’t need any technical skills to understand how to operate it. A laser level will give a detailed reading on the direction where you should start your digging, making it easy to build a shed foundation.

You can buy this at any hardware store, plus it doesn’t cost an arm and leg. If you want to always get an accurate reading, we advise you to purchase a high end one, like the ones used in construction sites with a rating of +/- 1/8.

What Are The Tools And Equipment You Will Need?

When building a foundation for small or larger sheds on uneven ground, you’ll need a few tools to get it right:

  • Shovel

  • Pea gravel

  • Wooden planks

  • Spray paint (optional)

  • Measuring tape

  • Level

  • String

  • Mallet

Step-By-Step Instructions

Before you start building a shed foundation on your property, ensure that you have met all the zoning requirements of your state and all preparation and instructions have been followed, or you’re at risk of breaking the law. Let’s move on:

Plan and Prepare Everything

Planning and preparation involve selecting the best location to build a shed. When choosing a location for building a shed, you need to consider certain factors like sun exposure, accessibility to water, and aesthetics. Do you intend to build a retaining wall? Will you need space in the shed to park your vehicle? Answering these questions will be helpful in choosing the right spot for your shed.

Another important factor to consider is drainage; you’ll want to build your shed foundation where it cannot be affected by moisture from the soil, which will damage it in the long run.

As we mentioned earlier, you need to be certain that your states’ building codes and HOA laws permit you to have a shed.

After all, it’s a waste of money and effort to build a shed only to have it dismantled because it was positioned too close to property line or other existing structures. To also make sure the spacing isn’t an issue, make the footprint of your shed base 25-30% larger than the shed.

Staking and Squaring

After choosing the corner to lay your shed foundation on, it’s time to stake and square the corners. Your shed pad will vary in size depending on what type of pad you’ll use.

  1. Start by placing the first stake in the first corner, and be sure that it’s straight to avoid errors in measurements. You can use a level if you feel the stake is positioned to one side.

  2. The next step is to pound in the second stake at 4 inches away from the first stake. Place the third stake at 3 inches away from the first, make sure it’s as square as possible, and attach a string around the third stake. Use your measuring tape, measure the space between the second and third stake, and ensure it’s at 5 inches. If all three stakes are in the right position, you should have a triangle shape that you can use for squaring the rest of your shed foundation.

  3. Install the corner stakes by using the triangle as a square. Adjust your string 15 inches away from the first stake without it fully touching the second, and put in another stake at the 15 inches mark. Repeat the same process on the other side but use 13 inches this time.

  4. Measure out 13 inches from one corner and 15 inches from the other to get the location of the next stake (fourth stake).

  5. Stretch a line tightly around all four stakes, and use your spray paint to mark the footprint of your shed base, so you can remove the lines before excavation steps.


Excavation

Now is the time to start the digging and excavating process. Before deciding on this method, be certain that you already know what’s underneath the ground, such as your utility wires.

If you aren’t certain, you can request for your utility company to come to help mark out the area before you are ready to remove any plants or debris. After this has been taken care of, you can proceed by removing the topsoil and weeds around the entire area that’s marked and even extend your digging a few inches away from the marked spot.

The essence of removing the topsoil is because it has a soft texture and can affect the quality of your foundation; plus, it’ll be too fragile to carry the weight of the shed.

Quick advice, don’t dispose of the excavated topsoil because it’s rich in nutrients and can be used for other ideas or projects in your garden.

That aside, keep digging until you get to a depth that’s about half a shovel’s head in length, and when you have, that’s a sign to stop.

After you have cleared the area of grass and trees, use a 2by4 plank to see if it’s leveled. If the plank is too long, you can make adjustments until it fits the graded area. Put the level on top of the plank and move it from one end of the excavation to the other. If you notice a higher area, you can excavate again while checking the level.

Install A Perimeter

This process is optional, and you can choose to avoid it, and it won’t cause any problems in your shed foundation. However, it’ll help you achieve a neat finishing.

  1. Begin the first course by cutting a 4by6 inches length and laying it in place; ensure it’s firmly installed on all edges. Join all four rows of the 4by6 with screws, and use a measuring tape to measure across the corners and square the frame.

  2. Drill holes for pins, and make sure to place two pins approximately 4″ away from there. Double-check to ensure that the 4by6 frame is not on uneven ground, and make the needed adjustments.

  3. For those who’ll love to get creative and use the 4by6 perimeter as a retaining wall, add extra courses until the wall is high enough. Cover up the outside edges around the 4by6 frame with soil.


Fill In The Shed Base


After you have overcome the hurdle of uneven ground and a level shed floor, it’s time to choose the type of shed base you’ll love.


You can opt for a gravel pad by stacking up the hole with about 4″ of pea gravel, but you’ll need a plank to make it smooth and a level for creating an even surface. Pea gravel is a bit expensive, that’s majorly because you’ll need a large amount.


However, if you want to purchase pea gravel in bulk, you might be able to get it at a cheaper rate. Check out the local stores around you or even retailers online, and you might just save yourself a few bucks.


Some homeowners prefer to lay landscape fabric before pouring the pea gravel into the hole. This is to prevent weeds from growing into the shed and help hold the overall foundation firmly by creating a layer between the gravel and dirt. We recommend this step, but it’s not typically required, so the choice is yours.


Alternatively, you can use a concrete pad, but it’s a more expensive option.

Conclusion


Generally, level ground is the first move to having a long-lasting shed floor. It doesn’t matter what location or position you place your shed; if the shed base isn’t fixed on an even floor, then be sure to have it fixed again.

Most homeowners already have a flat surface in their backyard, so it’s even a lot easier to develop a shed with a complete guide on how to level ground for a shed.

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