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I am soon to be moving into a new house with a blank canvas of a garden. I enjoy woodworking and have been looking at buying a workshop shed, approximately 12ft x 10ft, to go in the garden so I don't make as much of a mess in the garden.

I know that the best option for a shed foundation would be to have a sturdy patio laid and put the shed on top of that. However, I haven't yet been able to see the garden fully in order to create a ground plan for how I may want a patio to be shaped in order to hold a shed and any other garden furniture.

Would it be possible/advisable to place a large workshop shed atop of a plastic shed base that is filled in with gravel, and then building a patio around this in future? See below for example diagram.

I have seen that many sheds on the internet that are built atop a patio require ramps to get wheeled tools in and out. Would going the plastic base route allow me to sink the shed the ramp height down such that it's level with the ground/patio around? This is where the gravel would act as a 'French drain'?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Shed diagram

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    Best is a matter of opinion and thus not a good question for this site. Concrete or mortared stone full basement 6 -7 feet into the ground and 1-2 feet above ground strikes me as far better than your choices if looking for "best" foundation, ignoring cost, for instance. Nice root cellar potential for garden produce storage, too.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 14 '21 at 14:12
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    And the two totally different answers we've got so far show exactly why there is no "best" answer to a "best" question.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 14 '21 at 22:09
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A concrete foundation is the "best". But short of that, I would consider deck blocks:

Deck block

The basic concept is you prepare the ground (which may include gravel to keep down weeds/grass, etc.) and just put the deck blocks on the ground and build a deck on top. You level it by putting 4x4s cut to size into some/all blocks as needed. There are height limits when used for a real deck, but that doesn't apply here as you want to keep the height down anyway to avoid (or minimize) a ramp. The result is surprisingly sturdy and done right should have no problem supporting a shed on top.

While there is some cost, it will likely be quite a bit less than pouring a concrete foundation, and while permanent enough in use, allows you to dismantle, move, etc. without having to break up concrete.

I would make the deck with very little excess around 3 sides but in the front have a few feet of space for safe entry/exit/staging area, and if a step or two is a problem then build a ramp from the ground to the deck.

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I likely have a "cheapest" option, best for me. I have a very sandy soil, very little freeze thaw ( guess no more than 2 in.), but 50 in. of rain. I raked weeds out of the soil, leveled it and set down a "foundation" perimeter of cinder blocks, no concrete. Laid treated 2 X 4 on the cinder block and built an 8' X 14' shed; (one foot of overhang at each end so the roof is 16' long). I laid a dry floor of house brick and filled the cinder block holes with urethane foam. No problems for over 20 years. No anchors but built-in shelves hold two aquariums so there is 600# of weight in addition to the shed itself. I must admit, I never even considered if I needed a permit until recently; It has electric and water so permit could be a problem.

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