How to build a shed: Things to consider

November 5, 2015

Garden sheds can be amazingly useful for storing all kinds of things. In most, you’ll find a mix of garden furniture, bicycles, tools and toys, all kept secure and safe from the wind and rain. It’s a great way to create more room in your home and garage, and to ensure the space you have outside remains tidy.

The easiest route to shed ownership is to buy a pre-designed one from a reputable supplier, but if you want to learn how to build a shed from scratch, there are a few things you might need to consider.

Planning permission

Under the UK government’s planning and building regulations, most sheds are seen as outbuildings, which means they’re classed officially as Permitted Developments and don’t require any special approval from the authorities. You should, then, be free to go ahead, but there are a few exceptions to note.

You will also encounter problems if you try building a shed on conservation areas or any other government-protected land.

Identifying your needs

Before you start designing and building, you’ll need to be clear on exactly what you want from your shed. The key question to ask here is ‘what will you be storing in it?’. The answer will go some way to helping you choose the right size; if you’re just storing the one bike and a couple of footballs, it won’t need to be particularly large, but if you’re after somewhere to keep all of your garden furniture during the winter, you’ll probably need a bit more space.

The area in which you live and the level to which your garden is exposed will determine the security measures you need to take. It may just be that you require the right fittings for a padlock, or perhaps a more conventional lock built into the door is necessary.

Do you need windows? The answer to this will depend again on how you intend to use the shed. If it’s going to be a designated working space, windows will provide natural light and ventilation, but if it’s just for storage, they could hinder security.

Materials come into this too. Wooden sheds are cheap and often cheerful but they don’t provide as much stability as the metal equivalent might.

Drawing up the plans

With your objectives determined and ideas in mind, you’ll need to get a plan together. Unless you’re some kind of architect already, your best bet is to find plans that have been drawn up by someone else. There are plenty of these available online but not all will be great, so look for reviews and don’t be put out if you have to pay – the free ones are rarely the best.

Make a point of finding plans that come with a list of the equipment and materials needed, and follow it to the letter. Shortcuts on your part could lead to a shed that doesn’t fulfil its purpose properly.

Choosing the right location

The location of your shed can impact a number of things, namely convenience, safety and security. If you put it at the bottom of a slope or hill, for example, it could be more prone to flood damage. Hide it away from view of your windows and it may become more appealing to thieves. Try to pick somewhere open and slightly raised – if this isn’t an option, be sure to build solid foundations for added strength and protection.

Make things easy for yourself by keeping enough space in front of the door too; this will ensure you always have plenty of room to get things in and out of the shed.

Time to build!

With all of the above taken care of, you should be ready to put everything together. Just be sure to follow your plans closely and keep safety in mind at all times – even DIY whizzes aren’t immune to accidents! Once finished, you should have a safe and secure place to work and store all kinds of things.