As I type this, Britain is currently sweating under the longest heatwave since 1976. Whilst this is great news for suntans (our lily-white flesh has turned the lovely hue of milky tea), the poor plants we’ve got ‘growing’ on the allotment are suffering big-time. Parts of our plot would give the Atacama Desert a run for its money – desiccated slugs lay strewn across our brassica bed whilst couch grass tumbleweeds lazily roll over the scorched soil. Our council-supplied mains water trough is situated a few yards away from our plot, so the evening watering regime isn’t too much of a hardship, but there is the chance of the supply being cut should the heatwave continue and a hosepipe ban enforced.
Fortunately, we have a contingency plan in place, in the form of a shed guttering/water butt combo. We’ve got a full butt ready and waiting, should the council pull the plug on our supply, and have shed guttering in place to keep it topped up should it ever decide to rain.
Got a shed, but no guttering? Here’s how to do it….
The instructions below are for installing shed 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’x4’, standard issue allotment shed, you’ll need to take a trip to your local 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
Select your butt
Go for the biggest water butt you can lay your hands on. Ours happens to be a slimline 100 litre capacity butt that came complete with base, tap assembly and a down-pipe diverter for installing directly to an existing drain pipe.
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 butt, we cut a hole in the top with a Stanley knife.
Get it straight
Water – of course – 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.
13 steps to fitting the guttering to your shed and installing a water butt
Step 1: For a 6’x4’ 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: Fix the downpipe bracket to the gutter end nearest your butt. This might require a bit of force, so try and flex the guttering so it 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)
Step 5: Cut your 6ft pipe in half, 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 attached.
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 the knife and attach this to your pipework.
Step 12: You’ll most likely 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 midsection 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!
Test your butt
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. Before leaving your butt, fill it up with a few buckets of water. This will stop it blowing away should the weather turn gusty.
You should now have some perfect shed guttering ready to collect rainwater for your thirsty plants! Have you fitted guttering to your shed? What other tips for you have for making the most of your shed? Leave us a comment with your ideas.