This design is to replace the dilapidated shed at the Talbot gardens permaculture garden. The shed is at the back of the garden, underneath the cherry tree. It probably would have fallen over if it were not for a broken branch from the cherry tree, which has been propping it up. Likewise the branch probably would have snapped off if it were not snagged on the shed. The shed was totally rotten on the inside, including the roof walls and floor. So it had to be replaced. One thing we always wanted in this garden was a greenhouse, but we also need a shed, so this design looks to see if we can combine the two.

Choosing a methodology

This is a relatively simple design, hence choosing CEAP.

Working through the methodology

Collect site information

The specification was quite simple, we needed a new shed and we wanted to have a greenhouse. Anything else was useful but not essential. I interviewed my parents about what they wanted and added a few things I also wanted.


Interview with my parents, plus a few of my ideas

Main needs: Storage space; Greenhouse
Would also like: Teaching space; Outdoor cooking facilities; Seated area
Security: The shed has been broken into a few times, so do not keep any valuable things in the shed


Shed location

The shed is at the back of the garden below the cherry tree

09 Perma-shed Collect Base 


Existing shed

Here is a google sketchup image of the existing shed currently

09 Perma-shed Collect Original shed


And the real shed. Notice how the tree is supporting the shed

09 Perma-shed Implement 01 old shed


Evaluate the information

Input output elements analysis and ethics analysis

This simple mind map takes looks at the elements identified in survey and considers how the ethics of permaculture apply.

09 Perma-shed Evaluate-xm


Design web element analysis

The design web takes all the inputs (needs) and outputs (surpluses) of each element and tries to ensure all needs are met from within the system. The elements are in yellow boxes. If a need cannot be met by one of the existing elements, I have introduced a new element, which are in the green boxes. Similarly I also make sure all outputs (surpluses) are used in the system or are used in nearby systems. In this case some the new elements existed and some were new. The new elements are Solar PV, Garden, Compost and sun.

09 Perma-shed Evaluate elements


Apply permaculture principles

Apply principles and patterns to the analysis

Here I now go into details using permaculture principles and patterns to stimulate ideas for the design. Please note there are a few unanswered questions in the design.

09 Perma-shed Apply-xm


The final design

Having taken into account all the ideas raised in the above design process, this was the final result.

09 Perma-shed Apply-01 complete



Plan execution

The expected build

Needless to say where you are relying on recycled materials and friends to help with the  build, making a firm plan is very difficult. So at best, the following is a rough step by step guide to how I imagine it will be built. Having said that, as materials come in, we may need to change the design depending to make best use of the material.


Demolition time

Took a day to knock down the shed and week to clean up the mess. Here you can see a time lapse of it being taken apart.

09 Perma-shed Implement 03-dismantling-timelapse


The actual build

So far we have only managed to find 3 days to build the shed. So its a lot slower than expected, but at least it has a roof and 3 sides, plus a door.



Given that the build is not yet complete, it is difficult to make a proper evaluation. I will make an evaluation after it is complete.



The design process was once again very joyful and creative. Taking an old shed and rebuilding it with several functions in mind was a great challenge. The design took a few weeks to evolve, at which point I started making the sketchup design. We found most of the materials from skips and other places, though we did buy a decent marine ply and pond liner for the roof. More or less everything else was recycled. The original walls in case you were wondering have been reused in the back wall and side walls. The rotten wood went into a new hugel bed, and the rest are waiting to find a usage. The beehive was an unexpected addition to the design. I have an idea of making something similar to a Perone hive but nowhere near as tall, and mainly for bees rather than for honey. The solar PV will most likely be fitted to the greenhouse. I am looking at clear amorphous cells which will let light through as well as collecting solar power.