× Back to Top Big Picture Parts and Accessories Constructing the Base Constructing the Decking Constructing the Bar Frame and Counter Building a Shed Bar Shelf Building a Bar Counter Flap

How to Build a Garden Bar: The Ultimate Shed Bar

They say that staying in is the new going out. But who wants to sit at home watching reruns, soaps and reality shows? It’s time to take your social life into your own hands and create something that would make you want to stay in. And, while you’re at it, give all your mates a reason to stop by for a quick pint.


Yes, we are of course talking about building a home bar.


When coming up with man cave ideas this is often number one on the wish list. And, before you rule it out, building a house bar isn’t an impossible project. Here at SGS Engineering, we believe that anyone can accomplish this and if you don’t believe us, check out the video below.

With the help of a shed kit, lumber and the right tools for the job, you could be the proud owner of a garden bar in about two days. Read on to find out how it’s done and fall shed over heels over your own backyard boozer.

The Big Picture: What This Guide Will Cover

Right. We’re going to show you how we built our garden bar, consisting of a shed, decking and bar area complete with shelf and bar flap. But first, bear in mind that this guide is intended as inspiration for you to start your own home bar project, because our particular pub shed was created especially for the space we had available. All in all, this guide should give you plenty of ideas and a good grasp of how to build a:

How to Build a Garden Bar: Parts and Accessories List

We could go into a detailed rundown of everything we used to build our custom shed bar. But the important thing to remember when building your own is that word: ‘custom’. In other words, we’ll explain what we used, but you might want to add little extras or use other materials if you think they’ll work better. So, once you have sourced your shed, you will have to trim all the timber for the decking and bar itself to fit. So, with that in mind, the most important materials, power tools and accessories you will need for your shed pub are:

Timber

Wooden Beams

As you will see later, there are two approaches when it comes to building a base for your outdoor garden bar. We were happy with a wooden frame, rather than a foundation, and to construct this we used solid timber bearers of three meters in length. Also known as ‘garden decking joists’, these should be treated to protect against damp. We used nine of them to construct our base and then used additional lengths, each cut to size, to build the bar frame and the decking railing posts.

Spindles and Railings

We used a handrail and base rail which we cut down to fit the length of our railing. The spindles added a decorative – and supportive – touch to the railing and were 900 mm in length.

Decking Boards

These timber boards are not only for the decking, but to be used as cladding for the front of the shed bar counter. Needless to say, they should be strong and sturdy. We chose lengths in the four-meter range (4.2 m to be exact), cutting them down to size when necessary.

Plywood

We used 25 mm plywood sheets for the top of the shed bar counter. These sheets are particularly tough, while also being smooth enough to make for the perfect finish.

Shed Kit

We selected a reverse apex shed. This means that the entrance is on the side of the shed as opposed to the front, which is where it is usually situated. This gave us the ability to create a large area beside the shed on which to build the decking for our pub garden. It also allowed us to use the window opening of the shed to extend the bar counter outside. We believe that the shed we bought was the perfect size for a city garden bar, and it had the following dimensions:

Power Tools

Chop Saw

Although we used a number of tools in our project, we found that our chop saw – these can also be called mitre saws – made life much easier for us. We could have cut everything by hand, but this beauty made the job much quicker and we highly suggest that you hire one for your project. But a word of warning: to protect yourself from flying dust, wood chips and debris you will need an eye mask, gloves, along with thick clothing.

Combi Drill

Another tool we couldn’t have done without when building our shed bar was the combi drill, with both a hammer action and driver function. We used drills powered by lithium-ion batteries, which gave us plenty of torque without needing to be recharged very often.

Angle Grinder

Although not essential, our angle grinder came in useful when it came to creating a nice, tidy finish for the interior of our wooden garden bar.

Miscellaneous Tools

Handsaw

A handsaw is for pieces of timber which are too large to fit under the chop saw. By using ours we were able to trim our plywood bar counter to create an indoor bar and outdoor bar area. It also doubled as a handy ruler.

Nail Gun

The type we chose was a brad nailer, rather than a pin nailer, allowing us to use nails up to the 2” range. Just the thing to put together that essential of home bar furniture: the railing.

Spirit Level

This item was utilised at every stage of the project and the type we relied on featured vertical as well as horizontal vials. You wouldn’t want a wonky garden bar shed, would you? A spirit level is essential.

Measuring Tape

Like the spirit level, our measuring tape was another essential and should feature a blade locking mechanism and hook at the beginning of the tape.

Hinges

Although not a tool, as such, these are used for creating a bar flap – should you decide that your home bar needs one. If you don’t require a door for your shed, you could use the hinges supplied with your shed kit.

Screws and Nails

This category consists of those unsung metal fasteners which will hold the entire pub shed together. Along with the nails we fired from our brad nailer, we used screws of the following sizes to build our garden bar:

Phone a Friend

Much like how you shouldn't drink alone, the same rule applies to building a home garden bar. A partner can make a huge difference on this bar shed project, and with a buddy, you can divide tasks such as sawing and drilling, and have someone to hold sheets of timber in place. Plus, you'll be able to drink to the completion of your garden bar together. Cheers!

How to Build a Garden Bar: Constructing the Base

Constructing the Base: Overview

A base is vital not only to provide support for your bar shed, but also to stop it from flooding or succumbing to the elements. There are two approaches to creating one, with the first being to build a permanent base and the second to create a wooden frame.

Building a Permanent Base for your Garden Bar

After digging your foundations, we suggest 75 mm of concrete laid on top of 75 mm of hardcore (crushed rock, gravel or other material with low absorbency and high strength). You could also lay slabs on 50 mm of sharp sand (also called builders' sand). The advantage of this type of base for your home bar is that it is incredibly sturdy, but the disadvantage is that it cannot be moved.

Building a Wooden Frame Base for your Garden Bar

As we weren't sure if we wanted our home bar in place forever, we chose to construct a wooden frame on which to rest the pub shed and decking. This still gives us the advantage of sturdiness and keeps everything off the ground, but does not impact heavily on the earth below. This is a good option if you might want to clear the space in your garden one day.

Step 1: Measure the Area

With your measuring tape stake out the area where you want to build your bar shed, making sure that you leave room for the decking to extend at least one metre in front of the entrance. It's also a good idea to ensure that you have enough room around your space for access.

Step 2: Prepare the Timber

Using a chop saw, cut your timber bearers to fit the space you have measured out for your outdoor garden bar and decking. Make sure that you have enough pieces for the outer frame and at least four inner joists. And after this put your pieces into place on the ground as a guide prior to fixing them together.

Step 3: Assemble the Base

First assemble the outer frame (aka, the sills), drilling all the holes you need before inserting the screws. Next, insert the inner joists lengthways, making sure to space them evenly. At this stage it is vitally important to ensure that your construction is level, so don't be afraid to break out that spirit level at every opportunity to check.

Step 4: Add the Supports

Once we were happy with the structure of our base, we cut lengths of timber to 30 cm and hammered them into the ground as supports for the frame.

How to Build a Garden Bar: Constructing the Base

Constructing the Base: Overview

A base is vital not only to provide support for your bar shed, but also to stop it from flooding or succumbing to the elements. There are two approaches to creating one, with the first being to build a permanent base and the second to create a wooden frame.

Step 1: Lay Down the Floor

Place the floor of the shed on your base, checking with your spirit level to make sure that every part of it is level. Ensure that there is enough space for the decking of your garden bar - the pub garden area - and that this space will fit your decking boards snugly when laid side-by-side.

Step 2: Erect the Walls

Using a chop saw, cut your timber bearers to fit the space you have measured out for your outdoor garden bar and decking. Make sure that you have enough pieces for the outer frame and at least four inner joists. And after this put your pieces into place on the ground as a guide prior to fixing them together.

Line up the edges of the pre-made walls, ensuring that they match.

Fix the corners with 50 mm screws and make sure that the walls overlap the base to create a runoff for water.

A buddy is highly recommended to help with this crucial phase in the construction of your shed bar, because one person may need to hold walls in place while the other drills and fixes.

Step 3: Insert the Ridge Bar

Place the ridge bar between the two gables, ensuring that the top corners of the bar sit flush with the top points of the gables. Here you need to use L-brackets which should be fixed with the 20 mm (or similar) screws supplied with your shed.

Step 4: Fix the Eaves Frames

Fix two eaves frames to the edge of each roof sheet using 30 mm screws or the screws supplied with the shed kit.

Step 5: Fix the Roof Sheets

Fix the roof sheets to the roof, ensuring that they match at the top and making sure to attach the sheets to the ridge bar. Here you will need 40 mm screws.

Step 6: Lay Down the Felt

Cut the felt supplied with your shed into sheets 2,490 mm long and lay them down on the roof ensuring that there is overhang on both sides. Next, lay down the supplied sheet of capping felt - which should be the remaining felt from the kit - over the centre of the apex.

Step 7: Add the Cover Trim and Fascia Boards

To finish off your shed structure (we know you want to get cracking with the garden bar itself) you should add the supplied cover trims to the front and back using 30 mm (or similar) screws. It is important to pre-drill these to prevent splitting. Then, attach the fascia boards to the roof over the felt and secure them with 40 mm screws.

Keep it Safe

You want your garden bar to have a nice neat finish, without any nasty surprises. That's why it's a good idea to trim any nails or screws that are sticking out inside the structure. Use an angle grinder for this task.

How to Build a Garden Bar: Constructing the Decking

A pub garden is just the thing if you plan on entertaining and the best way to have one of these is to build decking. This can be a great place for your guests to stand while you impress them with your pint pouring skills behind the counter.

Step 1: Ensure the Surface is Level

You can never use your spirit level too often. This time it's to ensure that the base hasn't been disrupted by the assembly of your shed and that you have a nice, even surface on which to lay down your decking.

Step 2: Measure, Cut and Place

Measure your decking boards and cut them to size.

Next, place them and fix them using 50 mm screws.

When building the shed you should have left enough space so that the boards fit without overlapping the base.

Step 3: Insert the Newel Posts

Cut a pair of metre-long sections from the wooden beams which you used to make the base of your garden bar. These will be the newel posts to support your deck's handrails, and you should attach them to the front of the base. For this you will need sturdy 5.0 x 100 mm screws - about three should do the job.

Step 4: Insert the Half-Newel Posts

Using your spirit level and measuring tape, cut down two lengths of the wooden beams so that they are level with the newel posts when resting on the decking. Fix these into the wall of the shed and into the decking below, again using 5.0 x 100 mm screws.

Step 5: Insert the Railings

Measure and cut your railings so that they fit between the newel posts. Fix the base rail first and then the handrail, both using 4.0 x 50 mm screws.

Step 6: Insert the Spindles

First, trim your spindles so that they fit into the space between railings. The next step can be tricky, because you will have to space out the spindles evenly. To achieve this, you should create spacers from a spare length of timber and lay these down between the spindles. At this point you will use the nail gun, fixing both the spacers and spindles into place. Start from the middle spindle and work your way out.

'Stick' Up for Yourself

If your nail gun or drill keeps splitting your spacers, you'll need to hammer them in by hand. If that doesn't work either, you could also fix them using wood glue. But remember: don't tell anyone we gave you this advice, because the right thing to do is go with nails or a screw.

How to Build a Garden Bar: Constructing the Bar Frame and Counter

Once you have your shed, decking and railing in place, it's time to turn your attention to the main build: the bar itself.


We ran through a list of garden bar ideas and ultimately chose a bar design with an L-shaped counter. Remember, this is a DIY bar which we're building, but you can replicate many of the steps below to make an indoor house bar. We found that taking a bit of extra time to set up lights in the man shed really helped make things easier and we suggest you do the same.

Step 1: Create a Frame for the Front of the Counter

Using your chop saw, cut down a wooden beam to the height you wish your bar to be (allowing space for the plywood counter), and fix this to the wall of your shed near the door. Remember to leave space for the cladding at the front of your bar. Prepare another beam to fit across your bar, minus the space you need for the entrance flap, and fix it to the floor of the shed and the first beam. Ideally, this should be the same length as the first beam, which will help with measuring your next two beams. We prepared beams of 1 meter in length and used 5.0 x 80 mm screws.

Next, create a third and fourth beam of the same length and place them to the top and side of the frame.

Finally, insert a support beam into the middle of the frame. Remember to keep using your spirit level to regularly check that everything is level.

You should now have a square frame for the front of your shed bar.

Step 2: Create a Frame for the Inside of the Shed Bar

Cut another wooden beam to fit on the floor against the side wall, this needs to measure from the beam of your front frame to the back wall, and fix it into place using 5.0 x 80 mm screws.

Prepare another beam to place on top of the first beam and this should be measured so that it reaches the same height as the wooden frame you prepared for the front.

You should now measure out and cut a wooden beam for the top of this frame and fix it into place.

Add a beam to the final side, forming a square frame that should be flush with the wall. Fix a middle beam into place, as you did for the step before, to help stabilise it.

Step 3: Add Cladding to Your Shed Bar

Cut down leftover decking to create attractive cladding for the front of your man cave bar that is both attractive and resistant to any scuffs.

This should be the height of your frame and fixed into place using your nail gun.

Nailed it! At this point, you should see that your garden bar is really starting to take shape.

Step 4: Prepare the Counter of your Shed Bar

If you've been relying on a chop saw until now, you'll have to put it aside and use a bit of elbow grease along with an old-fashioned saw to cut through the plywood for your shed bar counter.


Measure out two pieces, one of them being longer than the other, to create a classic L-shaped counter. Your measurements for this should be based on the frame you created.

Measure out and trim the bigger piece - cutting a square from it - so that the counter can extend beyond the window of the bar shed, giving you an indoor bar and outdoor garden bar area.

Step 5: Fix the Counter into Place

Fit the front section of your counter so that it extends out of the window, creating a serving ledge. For this you will need 5.0 x 80 mm screws.

Place the second section of the counter, trimming it if necessary to fit the length of the frame.

Step 6: Level the Counter

If your counter isn't completely level or feels a little flimsy, use a block beneath the seam as a makeshift support.

Use Quality Materials

When it comes to building your garden bar, it pays to use quality timber and screws for the frame and counter of the bar. This will provide a skeleton of support for your self-assembly shed which you have used to house your garden pub, making the entire structure much sturdier. Plus, you need to ensure that your bar counter can hold everything from a pint of bitter to a fully-laden toolbox.

How to Build a Garden Bar: Building a Shed Bar Shelf

This is an optional extra, although we like to think of it as an essential part of any good shed pub. It is easier to construct than a bar cabinet and is a piece of home bar furniture that has plenty of uses. Read on to find out how to put in your handy shed bar shelf.

Step 1: Insert the Supports

Measure out the back wall of your shed and cut two lengths of timber to fit (this could be leftovers from the base railing of your decking). Attach these lengths to the support braces of the shed using 4.0 x 40 mm screws or similar.

Step 2: Cut and Place the Shelf

Cut a length of plywood to fit the width of the back wall and then place it on your supports. Fix it using 5.0 x 80 mm screws or similar. You now have a shelf that you could use to display memorabilia, glasses and your next batch of bottled homebrew. Just the thing for any self-respecting home bar.

How to Build a Garden Bar: Building a Bar Counter Flap

Although it could be considered an optional extra, a flap will add a certain level of authenticity to your shed bar. Remember, this can also be added to any home bar or man cave bar.

Step 1: Create a Support

Measure and cut a piece of timber to fit against the support braces on the side of the shed where the flap will rest. The easiest way to work out what height to place this is by creating a guide made from leftover plywood. Fix this using 4 x 40 mm screws.

Step 2: Create and Place the Flap

First measure out your flap and cut your plywood to size using a handsaw.

Next, place the new plywood section onto the edge of your existing bar counter and affix it using 4 x 40 mm screws, or bigger if they will fit, sunk through the holes of your hinges.

Check that your flap works and then quickly tidy up. It's nearly time to crack open a few cold ones.

Completed: The Best Bar None

So, there you have it, everything you need to know to get your own shed garden bar constructed and ready to be kitted out. Be sure to check back soon as we'll be posting more useful guides on how to properly furnish your shed bar.



Also, remember that here at SGS we're passionate about DIY builds like this, so stay on our site if you want to read more. We have plenty of tips and enough help and advice to get you on the right track with just about any build.