With the current growth in sales of wood burning stoves and boilers a wood store could be a very handy asset for a garden. The interest comes from two areas, cost and environmental.
Ecological and Financial Drivers
With gas and electricity prices soaring in recent years, a wood burning stove can provide spot heat in a lounge and for the room above. This is a good alternative to putting the central heating on for many houses, saving the full central heating for the coldest days. A wood stove with a back boiler can feed heat into the central heating and hot water system as well.
From the ecological point of view wood burning is considered a renewable source that is also carbon neutral. The carbon released into the air when wood is burnt is roughly equivalent to the carbon trapped by the tree as it was grown. There is also less pollution than with fossil fuels; as there’s virtually no sulphur dioxide and low levels of nitrous oxides so burning wood doesn’t promote acid rain.
But Where are You Going to Put All that Wood?
So far so good, until you get your first truck-load of wood delivered from your local supplier and realise that you don’t know what to do with it. And if it’s not seasoned, it needs somewhere to dry out for a couple of years, depending on the wood.
Step forward the garden wood store, which at its simplest can be a tarpaulin pegged over the wood pile and at the other end of the market can be a wooden barn-type construction costing over a thousand pounds. Or you can make a usable and attractive wood store yourself.
Roofs are Vital
The most vital part of a wood store is a roof as it’s important to keep the rain off the wood. Sides are less important, you can move the outer logs inside as you get through the stack. So a roof (of any material that comes to hand) supported on fours poles securely anchored in the ground will do fine.
Another simple wood store idea is to fix a roof to a wall somewhere at the back or side of the house, perhaps on a garage wall. This simple canopy will protect the wood from the worst of the rain. Go for an angle of at least 15 degrees on a wood store roof to make sure that rain and snow fall off properly.
If the wind tends to drive rain from a certain direction most of the time then you could put a side on to protect the wood there. In fact there’s nothing to stop you putting two sides and a back on a wood store and it will probably make it look better too. But you must leave gaps between the panels so that air can get in and around the wood to help the drying process.
Seasoned and Un-Seasoned Wood Storage
Living gaps between the panels of a wood store is most important if you have to season the wood, not just store it. With green wood you need to chop it and split it into logs before storing it so that each log dries out. Stack them roughly so that there are plenty of gaps around them.
If you are buying wood that you are certain is already properly seasoned then you can store it in a wood store that has proper sides, front and doors, like a small shed. There are plastic or metal wood stores available from large DIY stores and garden centres that will store seasoned wood very well.