Garden Sheds: The Complete Guide For 2023
The shed at the back of the garden is more than just a place filled with tools and riddled with spiders. It is a symbol, a domestic oasis with an infinite number of possibilities and brimming with potential. It can be a source of personal refuge in the form of an office, a lawnmower shed, a playroom, or the place that houses your most prized power tools.
What is it about garden sheds that we all love? Can your creativity and productivity really be boosted with time spent in your shed? Garden sheds are more than just plain storage sheds or garden storage.
What Is A Garden Shed?
A garden shed is typically a single-story indoor closure commonly found in the corner of your backyard. Sheds vary in size, style, material, construction, and function to meet differing needs. Each variation has its own unique properties and pros and cons, which can sometimes be hard to navigate. However, with the popularity of garden sheds increasing, an abundance of helpful advice will turn the plethora of choices out there into an advantage.
Though outdoor storage sheds have been typically used just for housing your lesser-used items and garden tools in the past, garden sheds today are also being used for separate working spaces or peaceful escapes. They can become a defining element in your garden rather than being hidden away in a far corner and can add interest and intrigue to your property.
Benefits Of A Garden Shed
There are numerous advantages to owning a garden shed. Maintaining a beautiful and well-trimmed garden takes patience, skill, and tools. While you can toss these tools to the corner of your garden, a garden shed will keep them protected, and best utilize your space. Speaking of the outdoors and benefits, we have another article on the benefits of backyard chickens.
The benefit of a garden shed just used for storage is immense and helpful in many ways.
Organized Gardening Tools
Your gardening tools no longer need to be lying around on the ground. Instead, they can hang on hooks, sit on shelves, and be organized in whatever way you please. For example, you will never lose your favorite shovel or forget where you put that particular nail size if you have a designated place to put everything.
Quicker Access To Needed Tools
A garden shed also gives you quick and easy access. You know exactly where everything is, and it’s easy to reach for. In addition, having everything displayed in front of you is more efficient than a pile on the ground or needing to retrieve your tools for your garden from the garage.
Improve Garden Aesthetics
Not only will a garden shed improve your gardening efficiency, but they can also bring beauty to your property. Decorating your garden shed with flowers and painting it a beautiful color can add interest and intrigue to your space. It will also help with improving the appearance of clutter. You could even paint the side of it in chalkboard paint for your kids to have a new fun outdoor art spot.
Free Up Space
A garden shed will also free up space in your garden and other living spaces. For example, you may be placing your tools in the garden, the garage, or on the porch. In addition, introducing a place to store all these items will free up space for other activities.
Increases Property Value
Having an additional outbuilding will add value to your property. An extra structure in the garden will give your house the edge over other properties in the area. A garden shed will be an attractive bonus that people may appreciate, and extra space is sometimes a top priority for some buyers.
Additionally, a garden shed can be used for more than just tools and gardening equipment. You can use your shed as a living space; plus, your shed can even change functions over time and grow with your family and needs.
Garden Shed Uses
There are many different functions a garden shed can have.
The most obvious use is a garden shed to store your garden supplies and tools. They will be kept protected from the elements and ready for immediate use.
Your shed can be used for your DIY projects. Your shed can house your machinery, tools, and materials, whether you are woodworking, lathing metal, or using it as an area to clean your tools. A dedicated shed comes without the worry of ruining a living space with your projects. Instead, you can build a sturdy working table into the plans of the construction of your shed and easily organize everything you need.
A potting shed gives a great environment to your smaller plants and seeds. You can use your shed as a place to cultivate life and plan your garden for the seasons. It can be a perfect place to store several sizes of potting for your growing plants and store your garden’s harvests.
Creating an outdoor space for your children to play can be great fun for the kids and also a way to keep them occupied as well. It encourages them to be outdoors and can be filled with toys, kids’ furniture, and books. To make it more fun, you can paint it bright colors, allow it to be a place where your children can draw on the walls, or use chalkboard paint to make it even more fun. If you would like to read more about playhouses, feel free to take a look at our outdoor playhouse comparison guide.
You can turn your garden shed into a space where you either showcase your art, spend all day painting, drawing, and sculpting, or simply a place to store your artwork.
Library Or Reading Room
Turning your garden shed into a library or reading room is also a great idea. Away from the noise of the main living space, you can find peace in your garden space. It is also a great space to store books that you may not have room for and want to keep.
You can easily decorate your shed with comfy furniture and add cushions and blankets to make it the perfect reading space.
Bar Or Pool House
Your shed can easily be turned into a bar during warmer months. Stock your shelves with your favorite drinks and add garden furniture to enjoy the sun while sipping away. Additionally, your shed can serve as a pool house, also storing pool accessories and acting as an easy relaxation place during pool parties.
Game Or Entertainment Room
A shed can be a perfect entertainment room. All you need is a screen and gaming console, sofas or comfy bean bags, a mini-fridge, and a sound system. It can be the perfect place for movie nights or bingeing your favorite TV series. But, of course, your children will also love entertaining their friends.
Turning your shed into a home gym can take minimal effort. Your own gym gives you the privacy and peace you need to get into that workout zone and also feel comfortable working out. You can use it as a yoga studio or buy the more expensive gym machines. It wholly depends on your needs.
There is nothing more luxurious or relaxing than having a home spa. Add a hot tub, candles, and incense, and you have the perfect spot to unwind alone or with company.
A home office in your garden could give you the peace and quiet needed to motivate you to be the most creative and productive that you can be. The space can be decorated however you like, and a light-filled shed can lift your spirits and fight the procrastination and distractions your home may usually give you.
If you would like to read more about shed ideas and uses, take a look at our “22 Inventive and Creative Shed Ideas & Uses” article.
Garden Shed Types
There are a number of different garden shed types to suit your needs.
These types of garden storage sheds generally come as flat-packed kits. The material choices are either plastic, wood, or metal and require basic assembly. The parts are cut and partly assembled and come in many different sizes and styles.
The advantages to this type are that they are easy to assemble, and the cost of the shed with delivery is lower than in comparison to pre-built types.
The disadvantage of this type is that it does require basic DIY knowledge, and it takes time to build yourself. If you don’t feel confident in doing it yourself, you will need to spend the extra money to hire someone else to assemble.
Pre-built sheds are the option with the least hassle and effort. Already-built storage sheds benefit from being consistent in quality and are produced by experts.
The advantage of pre-built sheds is that they can be used as soon as they are delivered, and there is no building needed on your part. Your only job is to decorate and fill your shed.
The disadvantage to this type of outdoor storage shed is that fewer companies offer this option, and transportation costs can be high. Depending on the size of your shed and the distance it needs to travel, the cost can be substantial, and your backyard will need to be able to be easily accessible for the shed to be placed.
DIY sheds are also a popular option. Building a shed from scratch yourself gives you complete control over the dimensions, style, and shape of your shed. As a result, you are able to design your own structure that stands out from the norm and offers you exactly what you need.
The main advantage of this type is complete control. You choose everything, including the type of material you use, and it could end up a cheaper option if you’re good with your hands. You can create a shed that echoes your house and blends in seamlessly with your backyard, including the little touches that standard shed designs leave out.
The disadvantages are that it takes a lot of effort and skill to be able to build your own shed, and you will need to have all of the tools necessary already. In addition, designing a shed takes skill, especially if you want to include things like lights, power sockets, or even a water connection.
What Type Of Garden Shed Is Best?
The type of garden shed best for you depends on your budget and needs. Each type has its pros and cons that may depend on what you will use your shed for. With plenty of choices out there, pre-built options or DIY will definitely give you the most versatility. We also have a 3D design tool to help build your own personalized perfect shed on their website.
Garden Shed Styles
The Ranch style is one of the more popular style choices when it comes to garden sheds. Its A-frame structure is a classic look that will look good in any space.
High barn sheds are perfect for those who need to store as much as possible. Lofts are a standard feature of sheds of this type and offer two levels of storage at the same square footage of other shed styles. It is also a highly customizable style, with the entry being able to be built on the middle or sides, and the exterior can be any color or material.
The Low Barn style is suitable for those who need the extra garden storage but are shopping on a budget. This is a simple style similar to the high barn but doesn’t boast the option of a second level. Featured below, the low barn is an affordable style that will cover your basic garden storage needs and can be customizable in the same way the high barn variation can be.
Here’s some of our in-stock low barn inventory.
If you would like to see more of our in-stock sheds, view our inventory page to browse our full selection of sheds and more!
This is a classic design derived from New England-style homes. These sheds have a lower back wall than the front to accommodate their roof style. This means there is lower headroom in the back of the shed than the front but offers an interesting shape to add to your backyard. This style also commonly includes double doors to fit your bigger items easily.
Modern Garden Sheds
Modern garden sheds offer the ability to showcase a unique and unusual structural shape in your outdoor space. These designs often offer glass as part of the design. Modern sheds commonly have glass double doors and transom windows above the door to let in sunlight. This style of shed is popular among those who turn their storage sheds into offices or living spaces.
Garden Shed Siding Options
Just like with shed styles, there are many choices when it comes to shed siding options.
Plastic, resin, or vinyl sheds are becoming more and more popular and are typically very light, meaning they are easier to assemble and very easy to maneuver around your outdoor space. However, this material usually needs floor anchors to ensure they don’t move around in harsh weather and are level on the ground.
The advantage of plastic material is that it is durable and easy to assemble. Rather than needing to drill or use power tools, plastic pieces are generally made to snap into place. Moreover, they are rot and rust-free and easy to maintain.
The disadvantage to plastic, resin, or vinyl sheds is that there are limited styles and shapes, and they are hard to customize. They are also not environmentally friendly, can be flimsy, and are not breathable, meaning that the temperature inside will change with the weather.
If you would like to learn more about vinyl and plastic sheds, check out our “Vinyl-Sided Storage Sheds vs. Plastic Sheds” article or our Vinyl Sheds page.
Wooden sheds come in many different shapes and sizes and have the freedom to be customized. They are usually made from softwoods such as pine or spruce. Other wood types can be more resistant to rot, with the most resistant being cedar which is generally the more expensive option at twice the price of softwood variations.
The advantages of this shed type are that they can be easily customized and personalized. Sizes can be altered, accessories can be added, and the exterior can be painted and decorated. Additionally, they can be easily assembled if you have DIY knowledge, they are easy to repair, and wood is a good insulator. Finally, those using it as a working shed rather than a storage shed will be kept warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather.
The disadvantages are that your shed will need to be treated every year to ward off rot which can be pricey, or you can pay extra for a shed that has been pressure treated. In addition, a wooden shed needs as much maintenance as a house. They are also typically less secure and therefore more vulnerable to thieves.
Furthermore, there are extra options for the appearance of the exterior of your shed. For example, your wooden shed can be T1-11 stained, adorned with log siding for a classic cabin feel, or decorated in cedar shakes for a rustic look. You can see firsthand examples of this shed type on our Wooden Sheds page.
Engineered wood has the same pros and cons as the regular wooden option, but treatments such as LP SmartSide® offer technology that provides superior protection against the elements. It can result in a smoother and cleaner, more elegant look that also adds strength to the wood. In addition, it helps protect your wooden shed from impacts, termites, humidity, freeze and thaw cycles, and fungal decay.
This type of wood is a more expensive option but can save you money, time, and effort in the future. See our Painted Sheds page for more examples of sheds with engineered wood siding.
Metal options can differ significantly in quality and price. This is because they are made from either steel or galvanized aluminium in different strengths and thicknesses.
The advantage to this material is that once assembled, it doesn’t need much maintenance apart from the occasional grease on door hinges. Moreover, they have budget options, are durable, won’t rot, and are better protection against thieves. The disadvantages of metal sheds are that cheap versions can often be flimsy. They are also not good at insulating, and the temperature inside will quickly rise during warmer months and will also accumulate condensation, making it a poor choice for home offices or working sheds. Moreover, they can be tricky to assemble, are not easily customizable, and will corrode and wear over time with use. Check out our Metal Sheds page for more examples.
Garden Roof Options
There are also many roof options available for your outdoor storage shed.
Metal roofing is a good option because it looks nice, is durable, and can easily be matched to metal siding. They commonly come in corrugated and standing seam styles.
Shingle roofing can provide your shed with extra longevity and add a textured and elegant appearance to your shed roof. They come in 3-tab and architectural styles.
Cedar shakes are similar to shingles but give your shed roof more of a rustic look. Both shakes and shingles are known for their natural resistance to the elements, their insulation quality, and their stability.
Popular Garden Shed Sizes
The purpose of your shed will be essential when considering what size to choose. Think about what you’ll be using your shed for and the size of the items that will need to fit inside. Be careful not to underestimate how much space you need; interior space disappears quickly.
How Are Garden Sheds Measured?
Sheds are measured along the exterior sides and so you will have less usable indoor floor space than the measurements suggest.
Shed Sizes And Shapes
The standard shed sizes are as follows.
There are also different shapes of sheds depending on the space you have available. Corner sheds are made to fit corners of gardens and are generally as small as a 3×3. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the 12×16 shed size.
Planning For Your Garden Shed
Planning for your shed is a critical step. Finding out the size needed is crucial and preparing the ground is the first step in a stable and safe shed.
Planning Your Garden Shed Layout
To figure out the optimal size of your shed, you can lay out a footprint of the perimeter using garden stakes. Then, arrange the items you’d like to fit inside the area, adjust the stakes to the desired size, and measure the area. It is recommended to give yourself more space than you think you will need and accommodate enough room for a door to easily open and close.
When planning your shed, it is also vital to research town limits, zoning, utility lines and make sure it will be placed out of the way of any future need for system maintenance access.
Designing Your Garden Shed With A 3D Design Tool
3D design tools are a great way to play around with different options. We allow you to experiment and customize your shed on our 3D Designer by giving you a visual of your shed and enabling you to view how different materials, styles, and colors look. There are many possible color combinations that you can easily test with this feature.
How To Prepare The Ground For A Garden Shed
Your shed will sit best on a solid and level surface that won’t shift with the weather or move under the structure’s weight.
A patio or deck can serve as a base for lighter sheds, but a reinforced concrete slab or concrete piers are recommended for larger sheds. Ground anchors aren’t usually needed on these surfaces, but the concrete slab must be frost protected in cold climates, and piers must sit below the frost line to avoid shifting and tilting.
Arrowhead-style anchors are also a sturdy choice. They are driven into the ground and are secured with a rod, and can resist a large amount of tension. Sheds sitting on crushed stone or bark instead of a flat surface can topple in extreme wind or floods and need these types of anchors at each corner.
Garden Shed Permits And Planning Permission
It is best to consult your local area’s limits and regulations while planning your shed. In addition, you may need permits and permission depending on the size and location of your shed.
Is Planning Permission Required For A Garden Shed?
It’s not always easy to determine what structures need planning permission, but it is best to check your local planning rules and regulations. You can check with your local authority, and they will be able to give you the best advice and information on what to do next.
Building separate structures in addition to your main home usually requires planning permission. Constructing an outbuilding often has a legal requirement to obtain a permit. It can generally be granted if it is for housing or ancillary buildings, including sheds if the floor area is less than about 164 square feet.
What Is The Biggest Garden Shed You Can Have Without Planning Permission?
You may not need planning permission in your area if your shed is 10 square meters or less or if your material is pre-fabricated. If the shed exceeds this size, it is likely you will need to apply for planning permission. However, it is always best to check local rules and regulations.
Garden Shed Prices
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Garden Shed?
The prices of garden sheds vary greatly depending on size, style, material, and accessories, though the average cost of sheds is generally around $5,600.
Sample Garden Shed Prices
As mentioned, garden shed prices vary significantly due to many factors. However, you can expect a stronger roof, better quality materials, thicker frames, and studier doors and windows when spending more. Budget sheds are usually made of plastic or with minimal to no personalization and assembly needed.
Garden sheds that are intended to be used as working or living spaces will be more expensive because a larger space and better insulation and ventilation is needed for a workspace or living space. In this case, the cheapest options would start with wooden sheds. However, those required purely as outdoor storage sheds can easily be basic plastic standard designs that come at highly affordable prices.
The typical standard cost for a professionally built shed per square foot is $50, with the interior being unfinished. However, if the interior needs to be finished with insulation and working utilities, you can expect the price to be as high as $200 per square foot.
For a 10×12 outdoor storage shed, you can expect the following costs based on material.
- Resin $1,000
- Metal $4,500
- Wood $6,000
- Concrete $18,000
- Brick $24,000
If you would like to learn more about outdoor shed costs, read our “Outdoor Shed Cost: 2023 Overview” article.
Garden Shed FAQs
These are some of the most common questions asked concerning garden sheds.
Can I Live In A Shed In My Garden?
Depending on the area in which you reside, your city, state, and county zoning laws may differ from others, so it’s always important and encouraged to check. If you intend to live in your shed or use it for residential purposes for someone else, it is crucial to find out before you begin planning.
You will most likely need planning permission to build and connect utilities to your shed before turning it into a tiny home.
How Can I Supply Electricity To A Garden Shed?
Professional tradespeople can help you with any questions around permissions and inspection of your site for the potential to connect utilities. You will be most likely to get approved for service ranging between 50 and 100 amps. In comparison, a home is usually a 200 amp service. However, that allowance should be more than enough to power your smaller space.
It is best to add outlets and utilities while your interior is unfinished, as, at this stage, it is cheap to add these in. Make sure you have enough outlets at this point for power tools, or perhaps a mini-fridge or computer. It is safest to overestimate how many you will need.
How Can I Keep A Garden Shed Cool In Summer?
Keeping your garden shed cool during warmer months can be tricky, especially if you live in a region prone to soaring temperatures. The best type of shed to get you through warmer temperatures is wooden sheds, as they are well insulated.
Aside from fans and air conditioning, ventilation can be added to your roof. Wind ventilation and cross ventilation designs are used to keep a lower temperature within and allow heat to filter out. Cleverly positioning your doors and windows will drastically help with ventilation and keep air circulation strong. Glazed windows also slow down heating as they deflect the warmth of sunlight.
The position of your shed is also a key factor. For example, placing your shed in the shade of trees will drastically help cool it down as opposed to placing it in direct sunlight.
How Can I Secure My Garden Shed?
Garden sheds are a common target for thieves and vandals. Plus, your garden shed is not always in your sights and can be out of hearing range if a thief tries to break in. In addition, your shed may house valuable items and, without the proper precautions, can easily be taken without you knowing. Moreover, the tools stored in your garden shed can also be helpful to thieves trying to break into your house. Therefore, keeping your shed secure is essential even if you don’t see the contents as being particularly valuable.
You can do numerous things to keep your shed safe and secure from thieves and vandals.
- Choose the location carefully
- Anchor the shed
- Replace the door hinge
- Improve the lock
- Obscure windows
- Fit an Alarm
- Put tools away at night
- Mark your belongings and register your items
Your local authority will also have many tips on keeping your property secure from thieves.
How Can I Decorate My Garden Shed?
Your shed is a valuable addition to your backyard but can also become an eyesore. Your backyard shed needs to earn its place and look good while being functional. There are many ways to spruce up a garden shed, from painting, to adding furnishings, to upgrading the roofing after a few years or changing the function of your shed to keep it an exciting element in your garden.
You can do many things to make it your own and maximize its potential.
- Paint your shed
- Fix a water butt to your shed
- Use your shed to attract wildlife by adding a birdhouse
- Add a green roof to your shed where you can grow plants and help it seamlessly blend into the flora around it
- Use your shed as a focal point instead of trying to hide it away
- Build shelves in your shed and add hooks
- Screen your shed with plants or add lattices for growing ivy
- Add comforts such as garden chairs and tables to the exterior
The sky’s the limit in decorating and filling your new space.
When it comes to outdoor storage sheds, there are a plethora of options out there. Finding your perfect shed for your space, needs, and budget requires consideration and planning. There are many advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing the shed that will benefit you the most. If you’re interested, you can also learn about the benefits of sheds with porches. If you think that perhaps a 12×24 storage building is best for you, you could start that journey by reading this article. To find your perfect garden shed, go check out our outdoor storage sheds, and with our 3D design tool, pre-built sheds, and expert advice, you will undoubtedly find the shed for you.
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