If the last time that you opened your garage door was weeks ago, and things fell on you when you did, it's a sure sign that you need a garden shed! A shed can add extra storage space for your outdoor items, as well as serving many other uses.
- Why do you want a garden shed? Garden sheds can store everything from outdoor equipment to gardening supplies to power tools. They can also serve as a playhouse for your kids, a potting area, or an area in which to practice your hobbies. If you just want a storage space, a simple, rectangular shed, with or without windows, will fulfill your needs. On the other hand, if the space is to be a playhouse, you'll likely want it to be a bit more decorative, perhaps even mirroring the style of your main house. A potting shed or hobby area will need to have some windows, to make the space pleasant to work in.
- How much space do you need? If you plan to store your outdoor equipment, such as lawnmowers and snowblowers, in your shed, measure the equipment so that you'll be sure to buy a shed which is large enough. You may want to make it a little bigger than you think you'll need. You don't want to trade your lawnmower in for a slightly bigger model and find out you'll need a new shed, too! If your shed is to be a multi-purpose area - perhaps with an area for your tools, but also a play area for your kids - be sure the two areas are completely separated. It will prevent the items in the storage area from spilling over into the rest of the shed, and it will keep your kids away from things which could be dangerous. Another consideration is the height of the roof. If you will be using the shed to work in, you'll want a higher ceiling than if you are just using it for storage. Some larger storage sheds can even be fitted with lofts, which can be very useful to get more storage area within the same footprint.
- What material do you prefer? Garden sheds come in three basic materials - wood, vinyl and metal. Wood sheds are generally more attractive, and look more like a house than vinyl or metal, but they are usually more expensive. Metal sheds, such as steel or galvanized aluminum, are very durable and come in a rainbow of colors. They are also less expensive. However, they are generally not as attractive as wood sheds. Vinyl sheds are the most economical solution, and are virtually maintenance-free. The main disadvantage is that they won't last as long as a metal or wood shed.
- What kind of floor do you want? Some storage sheds have an integrated floor, which means it's part of the shed itself. For a more durable option, you may want to purchase a shed without a floor so that you can pour a concrete slab as a base.
- Will your shed need to be portable? If you will be moving your shed to different parts of your yard occasionally, you'll need one which is fairly lightweight. You will also want one with an integrated floor, since a concrete slab is not movable, of course!
- What kind of "extras" will you require? Depending upon your needs, you may want a ramp for your shed, to easily move equipment in and out, a workbench, windows, skylights or roof panels, and additional shelving. Another factor to consider is ventilation. If you plan to work in your shed, it may get awfully hot in the summer if it's not ventilated.
- Do you want to build it or buy it? Many places sell garden shed plans, so you only need to purchase the lumber or steel and assemble it. You can also buy garden shed kits, which include plans and materials. The third, easiest option is to buy a shed which is pre-assembled.
Once you have a list of what you need from your garden shed, head to your local garden center. They will have salespeople that can help you find a shed that will meet your needs for years to come.