Sheds

Garden Sheds: Complete Guide

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Do you enjoy spending time in the garden? Planting, weeding, cultivating, and pruning all require specialist gardening tools. After finishing up in the yard, what do you do with all of your equipment? Sure, you could store them in the garage, but it clutters the space.

Trying to fit a lawnmower and a car in the same garage is frustrating, especially when you have to pull the car out to access the mower.

Instead of using your garage to store your tools, why not use a garden shed? Sheds are handy for anyone that needs to store garden tools and other equipment out of the way. Most people build their shed in the corner of the garden that’s out of view.

However, not all sheds have to be eyesores in the yard. You can design a shed in a variety of styles, and some of them create an eye-pleasing focal point in the yard.

You can use a shed to cultivate flower cuttings, start seeds and to divide plants as well. A shed can offer you a workspace for your garden that’s both peaceful and functional. Garden sheds have a few key features, including at least one window to allow air to flow through the structure. You’ll also need enough headroom to walk around inside, and a work surface.

You can choose a prefab shed, or build one from the ground up using basic supplies. This guide to garden sheds gives you everything you need to know about installing one of these structures in your garden.

Key Considerations for Sheds

  • Cost – you can purchase a 4 x 7-foot plastic resin shed for as little as $500, and an 8 x 10-foot wooden shed will set you back around $1,800. Prices increase with larger sheds, and if you’re looking for a custom-built shed, you could spend up to $200 per square foot.
  • DIY or Professionally built? – Unless you’re a seasoned handyman, we recommend buying prefab sheds constructed by professionals. Installing a prefab shed is no picnic; it still requires plenty of work with leveling the ground, building the foundation, and moving the shed into position. However, if you have the skills, building a shed from scratch is easy enough to do over the weekend.
  • Purchasing options – Lumberyards and home centers have a wide variety of kits, and prefab sheds available in a range of sizes, designs, and colors. Online retailers like Amazon also sell shed kits but check on shipping details before you order.
  • Do you need a permit? – Small sheds of less than 100-square feet won’t need a permit. However, check with your local town planning authority to ensure your shed is up to code.
Garden Shed
A shed can be a nice feature in your yard

Siting Your Shed

Deciding on the ideal spot in the yard for your shed requires you to keep a few considerations in mind.

  • Coverage – If the sheds floorplan increases the square footage of structures on your property, it could result in you needing to apply for a zoning variance.
  • Setbacks – Most cities and towns limit how close your shed can be to property boundaries, your house, and other natural features, such as wetlands.
  • Utilities – Be careful that you don’t dig into the ground where water pipes, gas lines, or electrical cables are lying. Call your local town planning office for advice.
  • Septic – Avoid placing your shed anywhere near your septic tank.

The Types of Garden Sheds

There are various styles and designs of garden sheds available. Check through this list of shed designs to see which one would suit the theme of your yard, and your handyman experience.

Shed Kits

Shed kits come in a variety of styles and designs to suit your budget, space requirements, and your level of building skills. With shed kits, the manufacturer partly assembles the shed and then delivers it on a flatbed truck to your property.

Kits are much easier to assemble compared to building a shed from scratch. Pricing and shipping fees are also lower than prefab sheds, saving you money. However, assembly requires you to have some basic handyman skills and tools available. If you don’t have the skills to build the shed, then you’ll have to hire a handyman to do the job for you.

Prefab Sheds

These sheds come factory-built and ready to install your yard. There’s no need for tools to assemble any parts; all you need to do is ensure that the forklift can reach the area of your yard where you want to install the shed.

Prefab sheds cost more than kits for the shed, and the shipping. Most manufacturers ship sheds on the back of trucks, and use a forklift to positi0on it in your yard. Therefore, you can expect the costs of your shed to increase significantly.

Shed Kit
Building a Shed with a Kit

Sizing Your Shed

You can get a shed in any size, from 50-square feet to 2,000-square feet. There are also custom-built options for larger sheds as well. After you decide on where you want to install your shed in the yard, take some measurements of the space you have available in this area.

You’ll need to account for the height of the walls and roof as well. 6-foot walls are a standard size for sheds, but you can get taller walls in some custom designs. We recommend you go with a size that’s 20-percent bigger than what you expect will fit in your area, as sheds tend to fill up quickly.

Drive some wooden stakes into the ground to mock-up your sheds footprint. Adjust your stakes as necessary, and then measure the area before placing your order. You’ll need to remember to make space for the door to open into account and mock-up a potting bench inside your area to check if you can move around inside the shed without any difficulty.

Shed Roof Designs

The roof is a unique design feature of our shed. There are roofing systems that suit any location or weather conditions, and they come I a wide variety of designs to choose. Here are our top picks for shed roofs. The roof of your shed defines the total volume of the structure, as well as its styling.

  • Gable Roofs – This simple roof styling involves the use of two roof panels of equal size sloping down to either side of the structure. The high peak of the roof gives you more room available inside the shed, allowing you to move around comfortably.
  • Catslide Roofs – Based on the design of colonial saltboxes found in New England, the rear panel of the roof slopes downward, stopping a few feet short of the ground. This design adds more floor space to the shed, but limits headroom and overhead storage.
  • Sloping Roof – This is the most straightforward roof design for your shed. One panel slopes down from the front of the shed to the rear. The gradient is minimal, and these roofs are easy to install. This design is suitable for those gardeners that need a compact footprint with plenty of headroom.
  • Gambrel Roofs – This roofing system has a barn-style appeal that adds volume to the roof of the shed, allowing you to install a storage loft in the roof. These roofs work best for larger sheds.
  • Flat Roofs – This is the most basic roof design. One panel covers the top of the shed. This design is not attractive and makes the shed look like a big box. You might also have problems with water pooling on the roof after a storm, or debris falling from trees that get stuck on top of the roof.
  • Hip Roofs – This roofing system comprises of four triangle-shaped panes that form a pyramid-like structure. It’s a sturdy design that suits regions with high winds. However, the lower height of the roof reduces overhead storage.
Gambrel Roof
A Gambrel or “Barn-Style” Roof

Supporting Your Shed

Your shed must rest on a stable and level surface that doesn’t shift during temperature changes or extreme weather events. Support the structure of your shed using the following methods.

  • Crushed stone – Tamped crushed stone slabs that are 6 to 8-inches in thickness are suitable for supporting smaller sheds measuring at less than 140-square feet. Space the crushed stone pads 2-feet on center, and then top them with concrete blocks to increase the height of the base of the shed. You can also use treated beams to build a frame, and then fill it with crushed stone.
  • Concrete – Sheds larger than 140-square feet require bolting to a concrete pier or slab to avoid shifting. The piers need to rest on wide footings that are below the frost line in cold climates.
A Concrete Shed Base
A Concrete Shed Base

Choosing Shed Doors

The doors of your shed are another critical consideration when planning your purchase.

Depending on the size of your shed, and the equipment you intend on storing, you’ll need either a single or double door system. Double doors are the best choice for gardeners that want to store lawnmowers and other larger equipment that won’t get through a single doorway.

If you have limited space in your yard, consider using sliding or roll-up doors to save space. If you live in an area where it snows in the wintertime, then roll-up doors are an excellent choice that helps you avoid shoveling the snow from in front of the doors after a storm.

Your shed doors will sit a few inches off of the ground. Therefore, it’s advisable to install a ramp to get your lawnmower in and out of the shed easily.

Shed with Double Doors
Shed with Double Doors

Landscaping Your Shed

Sheds don’t have to be an eyesore in your garden, Use these landscaping tips to make your shed blend into the background.

  • Cottage-Style Shed – Add window boxes to your shed and fill them with seasonal flowers. Paint your shed a friendly blue-green color to blend in with the surrounding flowerbeds.
  • Semiformal Shed – Anchor fencing to either side of the shed and use it to grow creepers and other vine plants that flower in the summer.
Window Boxes
Add a touch of color & window boxes for a cottage style shed

Shelving and Organizing Systems

Build some shelving into your shed to keep your tools off of the floor and your workbench. Visit a shipping yard and pick up a few used pallets. You can break the pallets apart and use them for overhead shelving in your shed.

Install hooks for your long-handled tools, or find a few metal tubs at a scrapyard. Hang baskets from hooks to store your seeds or dry herbs.

Shed Additional Extras

By adding a few extras into your shed, you can turn it from a cold, dark place, to a workspace where you love spending time. Consider the following additional upgrades to your shed.

  • Electricity – Installing lighting in your shed allows you to work in the evenings. Plug points turn your shed from a storage space into a workplace where you can tinker around with your hobbies. Ensure that every outlet you install has GFCI protection, and run the electrical cabling through a conduit buried no less than 18-inches deep.
  • Air-conditioning – If you wire electricity into your shed, then why not install a heating and cooling system as well? Spend time in your shed during the winter, or keep it cool while working on your projects in the summer
  • Insulation – Insulate the walls and roof using foam blocks readily available from our local hardware store. Insulating the shed keeps the warmth in during the winter while keeping it cool during the summer.
  • Water – Adding a sink to your shed allows you to water seedlings as you pot them, and provides you with somewhere to clean your tools. Make sure that you bury the supply pipe at least 18-inches deep. If you live in a cold region of the United States, make sure you add a compressed air fitting to blow out the water before the winter arrives.

The Final Thought – Weatherproofing Your Shed

If you purchase a wooden shed, make sure that it comes treated. Untreated wood will warp when it gets wet, which is a problem for anyone living in an area where it rains frequently.

Make sure that you choose a high-quality sealant, and treat the wood every three to five years to enhance the longevity of your shed.

Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

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