The Complete Gravel Shed Foundation Guide

You may think that when you finally find the perfect shed for your home, you are finished! Finding and purchasing the best shed is actually only the first half of completing your journey. The next step is getting a good foundation for your shed to spend years sitting on. We recommend gravel for your shed pad. Here is a complete guide to what makes gravel one of the best shed foundation options for your new backyard structure. 

Can You Put A Shed On Gravel?

Yes! A gravel shed base is one of the best options when it comes to shed foundations. You can see the top four reasons why below. 

Why Put Gravel Under A Shed?

Here are the top 4 reasons you should consider choosing a gravel foundation for your shed

  1. Great Drainage – Gravel shed foundations make it much easier for water to escape into the ground compared to a concrete slab. Water will then move away from your shed and the runners it sits on. 
  2. Support – A gravel shed foundation helps to distribute the weight of your shed to more points of the frame rather than just a few. Shed blocks, for instance, create more wear on distinct points of your shed. If you go with shed blocks, you will need to store heavy tools, equipment, or machinery in specific locations. 
  3. Less Labor – Installing a gravel shed foundation is easy enough that you can do it yourself! If you choose a shed contractor to do it for you, it will be less labor than needing a concrete truck.
  4. Long-Lasting – Gravel is a durable and long-lasting option for your shed foundation. Let’s put it this way…tough stones don’t just deteriorate; they can take thousands of years to erode. 

So now that you have seen that gravel has a lot of pros when it comes to acting as a shed base let’s take a look at how it is actually created. 

How To Build A Gravel Shed Foundation DIY

To build a gravel base for sheds…follow these steps. 

  • Select Your Site – It will be important to select a site that is as level as possible. This will help with drainage and staying away from the loose ground. Ensure you are familiar with your local ordinances and underground power lines!
  • Grab Shed Site Prep Supplies – Depending on your level of experience, you can use all or a variety of the following tools: Tape measure, level, drill, sledgehammer, safety gear, wheelbarrow, shovel, staple gun, screw gun, screws, circular saw, and a rake. All of these can come into play as you build your DIY gravel shed foundation, depending on how you construct it.
  • Grab Site Prep Materials – Once you have the tools, grab all the supplies needed for your project. This really just includes crushed stone. This stone will generally be ¾” crushed stone which is great for compacting and drainage. 
  • Mark Corners – Now it begins! Mark the four spots where the corners of your site prep will reach. Keep in mind that each side should be one foot longer. There will be one foot of crushed stone all around your shed. If you measure from corner to corner, you can tell if your mark is square!
  • Calculate Slope – To determine the slope, you can bring out your level! Whether that is a laser level, straightedge, or string. Check the height difference from corner to corner, with one corner being your constant. 
  • Excavate – Now it’s time to start digging! When you know where your door will be placed, you can mark that side as needing to be ground level (if you are on a slope). Regardless, you can begin at the lowest side and dig anywhere from 2”- 4”. Move that topsoil away, and don’t forget about it because we are going to use it later!
  • Add Weed Barrier – Now, you can spread your weed barrier over the inside of your shed foundation. Staple this tarp to the wood all around the sides while making sure it lays flat on the ground. 
  • Add Gravel – Time to back the truck in! Dump the stone into the shed foundation perimeter and begin spreading it around with your rake. Make sure there is at least 4”-6” of stone spread evenly across the space.

If you need help building a shed for your foundation, try our 3D shed builder online!

Gravel Shed Pad vs Gravel Shed Foundation vs Gravel Shed Base vs Gravel Shed Floor

You may see articles that use these terms interchangeably or hear them floating around as discussions of site preparation happen. For the most part, all of these terms can be used interchangeably. Remember, when it comes to “gravel shed floor,” it doesn’t mean that there will be no floor that is a part of the shed. It refers to the foundation.

Gravel Shed Foundation On A Slope

As discussed briefly above, sometimes it is impossible to avoid having your gravel shed foundation on a slope. If that is the case, make sure to measure your pressure-treated lumber carefully and build the downhill side up higher. Imagine rolling a mower or a cart out of your shed. You will want to ensure the door side is level with the ground. 

How Deep Should A Gravel Base Be For A Shed?

We recommend approximately 5” in depth to be the minimum for your gravel shed foundation. This might surprise you, but once it is packed down, 5” of gravel will last years. 

Will Gravel Stop Weeds?

Gravel by itself will not stop weeds. Even if you tamper it down, you will be surprised to find that weeds will find a way. You will want to buy construction fabric or a weed barrier to put between the dirt and the gravel. This will eliminate the chance of weeds getting through and becoming frustrating to deal with in the years to come. 

Gravel Base Drainage

Drainage is an essential part of why we at Hometown Structures like gravel shed foundations so much. The crushed stone (sometimes called drainage stone) will be more permeable because of the individual pieces. The weed suppressor will also be permeable to water while still remaining tough on restricting rising weeds. 

Gravel Shed Foundation vs Concrete Shed Foundation

Gravel shed foundations will help ensure your shed does not rot or decay! It is tough for a concrete shed foundation to drain appropriately because there is nowhere for the water to go.

Best Gravel For Shed Base

There are different types of “gravel” you can use when it comes to your shed pad. A gravel shed foundation is not made up of what you would expect. It is a form of crushed stone talked about as; drainage stone, #57 gravel, washed stone, or clean stone. All of these are going to be referring to the same type of crushed stone, which is the best gravel for shed bases. 

Gravel Shed Ramp

When talking about a ramp for a gravel shed foundation, you have two choices. You can make a ramp out of gravel or simply find a sturdy ramp to put on top of your gravel shed base. To create a simple gravel shed ramp, check out the 3 ½ minute video below!

If you simply want a sturdy ramp for your shed, you can look into rubber ramps like this one!

Correctly Leveling Gravel For Shed Pad

To correctly level your gravel shed foundation, take your tamper and set it on one of the outside corners of the space. Begin walking in a clockwise direction along the outer perimeter. Once you have made a full round, take a step in and do the same thing. You can repeat this process until your full shed foundation is made up of compacted gravel!

Gravel Pads For Different Shed Sizes

While a simple 10×12 shed pad can be fairly straightforward to DIY, larger shed foundations may need to be done professionally. As you get into shed sizes like 16×18 and even larger…it will take a lot more work to finalize your shed base. 

If you are going to determine the ROI on your time invested…make sure you calculate your time, tools, and how much you will spend to get the job done compared to a company.

Can You Put A Metal Shed On Gravel?

Metal sheds can be placed on gravel, assuming they have a floor. Some metal sheds are created without one, so it would be wise to put a floor on your shed to make sure that the items inside create a weight that can hold it in place. You can construct the gravel shed pad in the same way!

How Much Gravel Do I Need For My Shed Base?

You can use this formula to find out how much gravel you need for your shed foundation. *Remember, we are calculating gravel in terms of cubic yards. 

(Length) x (Width) x (Depth) / 27 = X Cubic Yards of Gravel

If you have a 10×12 shed that is also 6” deep, your equation will look like this. 

(10) x (12) x (.5) / 27 = 2.22 Cubic Yards of Gravel

The reason the depth is written as .5 is that it is calculated in inches, not feet. So 6 inches would be ½ of 1 foot or .5. 

Cost Of Gravel Shed Foundations

Gravel shed foundations range in cost from $5 per square foot to $10 per square foot. The cost per square foot will generally decrease as the shed foundation size increases. So, the overall price will be high, but the cost per square foot will go down. Here are a few other factors that can play into the cost of a gravel shed base. 

  • Slope – If a lot needs to happen for your shed to be on a safe foundation because of a large hill, it will end up costing more. 
  • Obstruction Removal – If trees, rocks, shrubs, or old sheds need to be removed, the cost can increase through because of labor. 
  • Permits – Depending on your location, you may need to pay and wait for a permit if your backyard is not yet designated for a shed. 

Gravel Shed Foundations In MA

If you are in need of gravel shed foundation contractors in the New England area, we would love to help. We not only sell sheds and other backyard structures, but we are happy to provide gravel shed bases for you too! Give us a call or submit a contact form to let us know the foundation you are looking for. Gravel shed foundation installation seems like a mouthful to say, but if that is the most challenging part of the process, you are in good hands.