This may be a long post, but for the new homesteader I think worth the read.
One of the most important things to consider when looking at your homestead is where you will put your buildings. It can really make all the difference in the world on how much extra work can be avoided by having things handy. Some of the things to consider might by water, power, contents etc. You might not want your shed that stores gas and oil near your garden, as small spills are inevitable. Where water is concerned, shed placement can really make a huge difference. If you cannot get well or city water to your garden, then using a smartly placed shed with a water catchment/storage system could help irrigate your garden and furnish a washing sink with on site gravity fed water. The same idea can be used for animal shelters to provide water to remote locations or just be a part of a self watering system. Using a few 55 gallon barrels or a large 300 gallon IBC Tote, some gutters, and plumbing can create huge water reservoirs just about anywhere. I’ll post some picture of our setup later, but a Google search for rain water irrigation system should provide you with countless examples.
We purchased several storage sheds prior to moving to our land and had them delivered here via flatbed. I was lucky enough to get a really good deal that included a 8×12 and an 8×16 wooden shed and a 16 foot roll up insulated trailer. I decided to place the two wooden sheds near each other behind the house and attached a lean-to roof off of one side to park small equipment out of the rain. Having the two sheds next to each other with about 8 feet of space will allow me to put a tin roof between them and use that area to store fire wood. I use the smaller shed to store garden tools and animal feed and the other to store paint,supplies and camping gear etc. I ran power to the large shed mainly so I can add a deep freeze, but the lighting helps. It also allows me a place 200 feet from the house to tap into power. Very useful.
I use the 16 foot trailer as tool and shop supply storage. We are pretty remote, but having the roll up door lock securely and it’s location close to the house helps alleviate worries about putting my generator and other expensive tools in there. By the time a would be thief got the locks off our furry security would be there asking questions anyway. I placed it near the drive to be convenient to work on equipment. I hope to one day have a big shop there, but for now it is in the right location…and that means a lot. Here is the clearing:
It seems like common sense to place sheds where they will be most useful, but sometimes it is not always practical. Once fencing and planting has started it may much more difficult if not impossible to move a pre-fabbed building in. I did place the buildings thinking about where the fence will go, where the garden will be, and ultimately where the garden paths could meet up. You want to make sure, especially if your working with several acres, that the building are close enough to get used, but are also accessible to a garden tractor, dump trailer,wheel barrow or whatever you will be using in the area.
Unfortunately the best location for the sheds was facing west. This attracts the most heat all day long and forced me to think about another aspect of buildings; planting shade trees. In the winter the sun will help keep things from freezing but in the summer it causes major problems, including sweating to death trying to get the garden rake. Planting deciduous fruit trees that will have leaves that will cast much need shade in the summer, but drop leaves and allow winter heat in fit the bill. Now the hard part…..what fruit?