Our brand new shed is now fully upstanding, rising magnificently from the re-emerging nettle beds at the back of our allotment. Not only is it courting jealous glances from our allotment neighbours, its freshly felted roof is proving to be the ideal launchpad from which pigeons can launch their daring brassica raids on nearby plots.
We have, however, one final job to complete before we can hold an opening ceremony (after which we can start filling it with junk). We shall be installing guttering and a water butt – the advantages of this are twofold: to stop rain dripping off the roof and soaking the back of the shed, thus increasing the likelihood of premature rot; and to conserve precious rainwater with which to water our allotment veg. Having a handy water butt in situ will also save our poor old legs a walk to the nearest shared water trough. Admittedly, the closest water source to us is a 40 second round trip, but that’s 40 seconds extra weeding time in the bag, right?
The instructions below are for installing guttering on a pent shed… things get slightly more complicated (and expensive) if you’ve got an apex roof, where you’ll need to install guttering on three sides for maximum water channeling efficiency.
Parts you’ll need
For a 6×4, standard issue allotment shed, you’ll need to slide on down to your nearest hardware store and purchase the following items:
A) 1 x 6ft+ section of guttering
B) 1 x 6ft length of pipe
C) 1 x downpipe junction
D) 3 x fascia brackets
E) 1 x downpipe bracket
F) 2 x 112.5 degree offset bend joints
G) 1 x guttering end cap (not essential, but looks neater)
H) 1 x water butt
Pick your butt
We got our water butt from Aldi. He’s a handsome green chap – slim-line and stylish (at least as stylish as a water butt can be), with the capacity for 100 litres of finest rainwater. Ours came complete with base, tap assembly and a down-pipe diverter for those wishing to install directly to an existing drainpipe.
For allotment purposes, it’s best to pipe directly from the guttering to maximize rain-collecting efficiency, so to connect our guttering assembly onto our newly purchased butt, we enlisted a little help from ‘Uncle Stanley*’.
Get it straight
As any fule knows, water flows downhill, so the first thing you’ll need to find out is how level your shed is. A cock-eyed and crooked shed will determine the severity of which to angle your guttering, so whip out your spirit level and draw a straight line along the proposed guttering route.
The thirteen steps to gutter heaven
Step 1: For a 6×4 shed, position one bracket in the middle, and the other two roughly 20cm from each end. Working from the end furthest to your water butt, ensure each bracket is positioned at least 5mm lower than the previous one.
Step 2: Click your guttering into place, making sure it’s seated properly in the fascia brackets.
Step 3: Affix the downpipe bracket to the gutter end nearest your butt. This might require a bit of force, so try and flex the guttering so in engages properly in the downpipe clips.
Step 4: At this point, you’ll want to make sure your water butt is in position so you can see how much to trim your pipes, so drag it over and mount it on the stand (or fashion a stand out of bricks if your water butt didn’t come equipped)
Step 5: Cut in half your 6ft pipe, then insert one half into the down-pipe junction, ensuring the down-pipe sits flush against the side of your shed.
Step 6: Taking into account the amount of piping needed to reach your butt, mark off the correct length with a pencil, remove the pipe and trim to size.
Step 7: Refit the pipe, then attach one of the offset bend joins.
Step 8: Take the other cut pipe length and attach it to the join you’ve just affixed.
Step 9: Measure, remove and trim as required.
Step 10: Push on the remaining bend join.
Step 11: Shove the pipe into the hole cut by ‘Uncle Stanley’ and attach this to your pipework.
Step 12: You’ll undoubtedly need to jiggle the pipes around a bit, to get them to seat properly. Remove, trim and reassemble if necessary.
Step 13: Finally, fix the mid section of your piping to the side of your shed with a pipe bracket to strengthen the construction, protecting it from strong winds and clumsy, rake-wielding gardeners.
Ta-da! Now stand back and admire your plastic masterpiece. Give it a test by pouring water onto your shed roof.
If your pipes hold true and your butt starts to fill – success! If you’re now standing in wet jeans, go back to step 1 and PAY ATTENTION.
The butt stops here
Before leaving your butt, fill it up with a few buckets of water. This will stop it blowing away should the weather turn gusty, and save you from being the laughing stock of the allotment as your empty butt tumbles across the plot like a horticultural katamari.
*Uncle Stanley the Stanley knife
Note: the butt was sent to us by Aldi for review. It’s a good ‘un