If you have large garden tools, sports equipment, bicycles, or just need some extra storage space for items that don't fit in your home, consider adding a shed to your backyard. Sheds offer extra storage capacity and come in a wide variety of sizes and materials to suit your needs.
However, not every backyard is suited for a shed. "Before you begin determining which shed is right for you, we recommend you check your local building codes, ordinances, and restrictions as well as applicable neighborhood governances," says Kevin Frank, director of consumer products of Newell Brands' commercial business unit. Laws vary by location, but you'll find guidelines specific to your address about whether you'll need a permit to build a shed, how far it should be from various structures (often several feet), and details on footings, framing, and more.
Once you've determined you're able to build a shed in your yard, there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. First, review the size and layout of your backyard. This will help guide your decision on a shed size. Next, consider the best shed material—options range from steel to resin to wood—for your home's climate. Below, we'll help you select the perfect storage shed so you can get organized outdoors.
How to Choose a Shed Location
A shed is a valuable investment that can be used for years and boost the appeal of your property. Keep the outdoor structure in good shape for years to come with these top considerations for choosing a shed location.
Consider Existing Structures
"If you plan to sell your property later, the presence of a permanent storage shed is a positive value factor," says Amanda Tharp, product manager at ShelterLogic. "Whether you want to place a small shed at the end of your patio or a lean-to shed, having a floor ready-to-go is incredibly convenient." Lean-to sheds feature one sloping roof; because of their design, the back of lean-to sheds can be attached to existing structures, such as a garage, to save on building costs.
Prep the Foundation
"One of the most critical preassembly steps that is often overlooked is surface preparation," says Frank. "We recommend all sheds be built on treated-wood platform or concrete slab. It's also important to consult building codes and a contractor for removing and leveling the soil to make sure your foundation is even.
Ensure Easy Access
Make sure you choose a location in your yard that would enable convenient access to stored items. "For example, shed doors can open 180-degrees so your space should accommodate," says Frank. Make sure the shed entry or door is wide enough to accommodate your largest piece of equipment, such as a lawn mower or ladder. Also, if your shed's foundation is elevated, you'll need to consider building a ramp to easily access its contents.
Don't Neglect Drainage
Another factor to consider when determining a shed's location is drainage. The area should provide proper water flow away from the shed when it rains, says Frank. Check resources like FEMA ahead of building a shed to see whether your property is located in a flood zone. No matter what base or floor type you choose—pressure-treated wood, concrete blocks, or even layers of compacted gravel—it's important that the shed is elevated and not taking in water during heavy rain.
How to Choose the Right Shed Size
Sheds come in a variety of dimensions, including compact options for storing small equipment and larger designs that accommodate bulk storage. If you're ready to consider your options, first measure the size of your yard. "Maybe you have a small yard and need to conserve space, or your yard is uniquely shaped to make it challenging to fit a standard-sized shed," says Tharp. "For small yards, a small 8 x 8-foot shed can be just enough space to store your items without dominating your outdoor space. If you have a large yard and you need storage space for riding mowers and a lot of outdoor gear, then a large 12 x 20-foot shed that has a garage opening would be more convenient for you."
Storage Shed Materials
Storage sheds come in many materials; finding the right one for your yard will depend on climate, style, budget, and storage needs. Generally, wood is the most expensive shed material, followed by resin and metal. Ultimately, an average price depends on the size of a shed.
Galvanized steel frames are durable and hardy against weather elements. "For example, Arrow Sheds are made from galvanized steel, which delivers competitive strength, durability, and long-term value that effectively protects against rot, insects, and extreme weather conditions for up to 12 years," says Tharp.
Resin (or plastic) sheds are generally maintenance-free, affordable, and won't rot, rust, or peel. "Resin also provides aesthetically pleasing designs but is not a customizable material," says Frank. Not all plastic sheds are the same in terms of durability; look for models made with high-density polyethylene resin and those that have ventilation. Rubbermaid's 7x7-foot storage shed ($849, The Home Depot), for example, is made with a heavy-duty, durable resin that provides resistance for all seasons.
One of the most popular materials used to build sheds is wood. "Wood is a durable material type that allows for customizable, aesthetically pleasing designs," says Frank. "Unfortunately, wood is expensive, prone to rot, and susceptible to insect damage, like termites and carpenter bees." Additionally, Frank says wood requires maintenance like staining or painting every few years and is likely to peel in between. The assembly process is often longer and more difficult for wood sheds than other materials.
Metal is inexpensive and sturdy, won't rot or peel, and is immune to insect damage. "Be aware that metal is prone to rust, and easily succumbs to dents," says Frank. "The material is not customizable and requires maintenance like removing rust or painting every few years." Metal storage sheds can also be more difficult to assemble and have limited designs, says Frank.