A shed is many things to many people, from a sanctuary from the wife and kids to simply a space to store that spare half a bag of compost and a few tools. However you plan you use a shed, choosing the right one for your needs is important, and because sheds vary greatly in size, quality and price this decision may not be as simple as it could at first seem.
Of course, you don’t have to buy a ready-made shed. If you have some time and some DIY skills, building your own shed from scratch can be a great solution. Building your own shed is especially good if you are trying to fit a shed into a small or awkward space. There are thousands of detailed shed plans available, covering almost every possible size and style of shed.
Most people’s idea of a shed would be the traditional wooden construction, probably with feather edge style walls, and a felt roof. Whilst this is still by far the most popular style of shed available, there are numerous other options available to you.
Wooden sheds are popular because they blend into most gardens better than sheds made of other materials. Even a simple wooden shed, which is probably going to be the cheapest option, can last for years with a bit of planning and some regular care and attention. It is more important that wooden sheds are raised off of the ground than it is for metal sheds, as this will help to prevent damp and rot taking hold. Standard wooden sheds range in price from under £150 for a simple 6x4ft larchlap shed, to well over £1500 for a 20ft long workshop. High-end, pressure-treated wooden sheds can cost more than £4000 (for those who want to really splash out!)
Metal sheds, whilst not as nice to look at, offer several advantages over a wooden shed. Firstly they will require little or no maintenance for years at a time and even then perhaps only a small amount of rust prevention and the occasional coat of paint. Metal sheds are also generally more secure than a wooden shed and so are ideal if you plan to use them to store expensive tools or bicycles. Metal sheds range in price from under £130 for a small 5x4ft storage shed to over £1000 for a shed large enough to store ride-on mowers and motor bikes.
Plastic sheds offer an even better option for those wanting a low maintenance garden as they won’t rot, they won’t rust and they require no painting. Modern plastic sheds are also often designed to look like they are made from wood, so they can even suit cottage-style gardens. Plastic sheds, more so than wooden or metal, require a solid and level base to sit on because the structure is generally not as rigid. Possibly due to the lack of maintenance required, plastic sheds are usually more expensive then both wooden and metal sheds of similar size. Plastic sheds range in price from about £200 for a Small Store to over £2500 for a shed almost the size of a garage.
Shed Roof Style
Sheds are available in a massive range of designs to suit all tastes, but most fall into the two main style categories: Apex style or Pent Style. Apex or Pent refer to the type of roof a shed has and each style has its own advantages.
This style of shed has a roof made of two sloping sections which meet at a high point in the middle (just like the roof of most houses). It is thought by most that the apex style looks more pleasing and is certainly the more traditional style.
A pent roof is made of a single flat section which either slopes from front to back or from one side to the other to allow rain water to drain off. Generally, a pent style shed will offer more headroom than a apex style shed of the same size. Pent style sheds are ideal if the structure is going to be positioned against the wall of a house, etc.
Size is probably the most important consideration when choosing a shed for your garden and several things should be taken into account. You need to think about what you plan to use the shed for, where it will be positioned, how much of your garden you are willing to lose for it and of course, how much you want to pay. If you just plan to store a few garden tool and a couple of bicycles, you really don’t need anything bigger than 6x4ft. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in the shed, using it as a workshop or potting up plants, you might want to go for something around 8x6ft or larger. With larger sheds, think about how close it will be to the house. will it block out light? Will you have enough room around the shed to allow you to get things in and out?
If you are thinking about buying a shed, you probably already have an idea of where you want to put it. You might already have an old shed in place which you plan to replace, or perhaps you have just cleared a section of overgrown garden and want something to fill it. Whatever the case, you should still think about the best position for your new shed a little more before you buy. If you are planning to use the shed as a workshop, think about the problem of getting power to the shed to allow you to use power tools or lighting. Be wary of placing a shed underneath large trees, as they can cause problems both above by dropping branches and below by unsettling the shed with large roots. That said, also try to place the shed in some shade if possible. Sheds can get very hot inside during the height of summer.
You should also think about shed security. Try to position your shed where it is visible from the house and not hidden by trees or hedges. Sheds are a relatively easy target for thieves and can contain hundreds of pounds worth of tools and equipment. Read our Shed Security guide for some essential tips on making your shed safe.