How to choose a garden shed
Are you considering buying a garden shed but don’t quite know where to start? If that’s your case, don’t worry, you are not alone. The market is flooded with endless options and choosing a shed to meet your requirements can be a difficult one. Whether you are wondering whether to choose an apex roof, whether to have windows or if you prefer freestanding or attached, the opportunities are endless.
A shed is a garden structure built mainly for storage purposes. The good news is, there is no shed too big or too small, too high or too low, too dark or too bright. The biggest advantage of the garden structures is their flexibility and custom-made sheds are not uncommon. However, if you choose to go with a custom build, this comes at extra cost.
We understand how important your budget is, but consider, a well designed and constructed garden shed can add character and value to your property. It can even give something that other garden structures don’t- an additional indoor space.
10 elements to consider when choosing a garden shed
- Balance and proportion
Choosing a garden shed starts with its purpose. What are you going to use it for? It can be anything ranging from a simple storage room to an additional indoor space used as a summerhouse, office, gym, workspace or even a man cave. It is quite important to answer the question of purpose at the beginning, as it might save you a costly upgrade in the future.
Without knowing its true purpose, deciding on the size can be very difficult as these two are very closely linked.
Naturally, your available outdoor space greatly determines the size of the shed, but with a minimalistic approach, you can make the best out of the indoors. With a little research you can easily visually enlarge any space to your liking.
Commercially available sheds come in many different sizes starting as small as 3 x 2 feet leading up to 12 x 10 and larger. Whichever size you will opt for, remember that the roof overlap is not included in the dimensions.
The most common materials include wood, metal and plastic, and they all have their pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.
Wood is a natural material offering the shortest lifespan and highest level of maintenance out of the three options. Fortunately, wooden sheds are pressure or dip treated.
In pressure treated wood, the preservatives are forced into the timber. This treatment usually lasts a very long time and retailers can offer up to 15 years guarantee.
Dip treated sheds also offer timber treatment but without preservatives being forced in. The guarantee is usually up to 10 years.
In both cases, ground isolation is provided.
Wooden sheds are mostly supplied in the natural colour. If you would like a wooden shed of a certain colour, a paint coat will be required.
The good news is that wood is heat absorbent, making the inside summer conditions bearable.
Good quality metal sheds are very low maintenance and are resistant to rust and rot. A good example here are massive warehouses and even supermarkets that use metal and are built to lastThey are widely available in a large variety of colours; therefore, painting might not be needed (or at least not for a while). Similarly, no treatment needs to be carried out.
Bear in mind that metal sheds are mostly used as a storage room. If you want to use your garden shed as an office, gym or summerhouse, it could become unbearably hot during the warmer summer months.
Plastic sheds are gaining their popularity due to being durable, lightweight and relatively easy to assemble. Most of the time you won’t even need screws as the structure simply clips together.
They come in many different colours eliminating the optional painting. There is almost no damage threatening plastic material as it is rust and rot proof and no further treatment will be necessary.
The main disadvantage is that plastic tends to reflect the heat, therefore we don’t recommend having a seating area right next to it.
Access can play a crucial role when choosing a shed and may limit your choices when it comes to choosing whether to have a single door, double door and the type of the base.
While a single door is enough to carry hand garden tools through, larger garden machinery will most certainly require a double door. Double doors are also very handy if you are using your shed as an extra indoor space. It provides better ventilation, and provides a wider visual spectrum from the inside.
Raised bases can create a little step upon entering the shed, causing a potential trip hazard for an elderly or wheelchair user. Please remember this if you are choosing a garden shed as a present for your parents or grandparents.
There are only two types of roof shapes for sheds – apex and pent (note; we classify hexagonal and octagonal shapes as apex).
While an apex roof structure makes an exceptional freestanding feature, pent roofed sheds are recommended to be situated against a wall whether it is your house, garden wall or a fence. The higher side of the shed being, of course, close to the wall discouraging water build-up around the foundations and dampening of the walls.
To see or not to see (windows)
Windows can greatly increase visibility inside of the shed, providing a safer environment for you and your visitors. Make sure you know where the windows are located when purchasing a shed. This especially applies to pent roofed sheds positioned against the wall. After all, you don’t want your windows letting no light in and facing the wall!
We don’t recommend having exposed windows in gardens with flying objects such as balls of any kind. Even if the glass is toughened, nobody wants its debris in the foot.
Style (applicable to wooden sheds)
Beyond the rectangular, hexagonal or octagonal shape, there are other aspects to consider such as cladding and roof style.
Overlap cladding consists of timber boards overlapping from top to bottom, laid horizontally. As the timber boards are rough sawed this result in a more of a rustic look. This shed style can be ideal in a cottage or informal style or vegetable garden. Sheds consisting of overlapping cladding are usually much more affordable.
Precision of shiplap cladding looks neater and can be found in modern or contemporary style gardens. The timber boards are interlocking, providing a neater appearance, smooth finish and are normally of a better quality than overlap cladding sheds. This, of course, reflects on the price.
Different shed shapes such as hexagon or an octagon are more suitable for informal style gardens as they resemble gentle curves of the landscape, whereas square and rectangle sheds are beneficial to more modern outdoor spaces, complimenting right-angled points.
The most commonly used garden shed material is roof felt. Although it is the simplest material to use, there are certain twists you can turn into your advantage such as colour.
We are always trying to unite certain elements of the landscape with the surrounding buildings. This is perhaps the most important principle of garden design. Apply this when choosing your shed.
You can match the shed’s roof colour with the colour of the house roof or with the colour of the fences. For example, if your fence is wooden with grey concrete posts, you can have a wooden shed with light grey roof, resembling the colour of fence posts.
Balance and proportion
Last, but not least, here are some other elements to consider when choosing a garden shed:.
You can take this into consideration mostly when you design or redesign a new outdoor space, and it mostly applies to smaller or urban gardens. If you plant a taller tree or a plant in one further corner, you can place your shed in the other corner, leading to optimal balance between the height and the mass.
Proportion means the selection of any two elements according to the size. In practice and in our experience, the shed size needs to be proportionate to the size of the property. A larger garden means you can have a larger shed and vice versa.
We understand that difficulty of assembly can secure or reject the purchase. Fortunately, most flat packed sheds are easy to assemble. The base, the roof and the sides come in one piece, including windows and doors already built in, and many suppliers offer an assembly service included in the final price.
Finally, a few things to think about is the indoor and outdoor light, power supply, and guttering. Indoor lights are especially useful if you use the shed as an office, gym or summerhouse, but the installation will not be cheap.
Outdoor lights will help to brighten up your garden, securing your safety while providing a sense of direction.
Guttering will direct the unwanted amount of rainwater into the selected destination, which can be a water butt located at the side of the shed.
As you can see, your new shed can be anything you want it to be. Just remember, the very first step to consider is the purpose.