Solar Shed
Talk about versatile. The Phoenix Solar Shed is part greenhouse/part storage building, and it's designed with enough flexibility to fit comfortably into any yard. The saltbox-style shed from Handy Home Products comes as an easy-to-assemble kit. All wood parts are precut, and even the nails and screws are included; you supply the paint and roof shingles. A floor-frame kit (about $200), which contains precut joists and plywood subfloor, is sold separately. The basic Phoenix Solar Shed (about $1,500) is an 8x10-foot building with an all-glass roof on one slope. You can easily enlarge the building in 4-foot sections with a shed-extender kit. For example, to increase the glass area, order the glass-roof extender; for more storage space, add a solid-roof extender. We added one solid-roof extender to create a 10x12-foot shed. This flexibility lets you create just the right amount of interior sunlight and shade, while keeping the shed within your budget and space requirements. Construction details. The numbered parts go together like a giant puzzle. The assembly will also go quicker if you erect the shed on a level spot. Our shed was built on top of a pair of pressure-treated 4x4s laid on a level bed of compacted gravel. If you live in a cold-weather region, you might be required to dig down to the frost line and pour concrete footings or piers. The floor frame was assembled first and fastened to the 4x4s; then the plywood subfloor was nailed down. Next, the exterior walls were nailed together on the ground and raised up on the floor. The roof trusses were also assembled on the ground, then lifted into place on top of the walls. The oriented-strand-board (OSB) roof sheathing went down next, followed by four 20x70-inch roof windows. The aluminum-frame windows fit neatly between rafters for a no-fuss installation.

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