Building your own shed is a rewarding challenge for the DIYer adding extra storage space. What is involved exactly? Here are some pointers to consider.
In my childhood home, we actually had 2 sheds: the regular one with our bikes and the lawnmower, and the one at the very back corner of the yard where all the pool stuff was kept.
I never set foot in the pool shed. It was in a corner surrounded by mud and somewhat rougher grass, and really, what girl likes to walk in the mud? (Certainly not me). And even the other shed grossed me out a little; it was generally humid inside, with who knows what kinds of spiders and other insects hiding inside. I would generally just grab my bike as fast as I could, and then close the door behind me. And wash my hands for, like, 5 minutes.
But the days of old, dingy sheds are over. Today, sheds are architectural features and clean, well-maintained and practical. They are used for so many things, from storage to office space to play room. And more and more often, they are also built by their owners, with plenty of DIY knowledge and a little bit of planning.
Thinking about installing your own shed in your yard? Here are some considerations to get you thinking and started.
Whenever planning on any addition to your home, budget should be your first concern. How much money do you have to spend? What kinds of resources do you already have, in the form of materials, labor, time? Can you get friends to help? Can you find building materials on the cheap through acquaintances? All these things will influence the amount of money you’ll spend putting your shed together.
Your budget will influence many things about your shed: its size, the materials used to build it and how many extras you can add (like getting electricity, air conditioning, wi-fi). Think about what you want to do with it. Does it require insulation for chilly winters? Do you need extra lighting because it stands in a corner with almost no sunlight?
Consider your budget carefully and research all the materials you will need–don’t forget things like nails and building tools! Most home improvement stores will have lists of prices online, so you can have a rather good idea of the cost before you even leave your home.
2. Space needs
Your shed’s space needs relate to two things: how much space you need inside the shed, and how much space you need to build the shed outside. Remember that you will need extra space around the shed–a fit that’s too tight will not be pleasant for anyone using the space.
Think about what you’ll do with the shed. If it’s an office space, for example, how large a working area do you need? Do you require lots of desk space, or a smaller desk surrounded by book and other storage space? Do you like a couch or easy chair in your office, or is it better to keep it all business?
Figure out how many square feet of area you need for the shed as a whole, and divide it by the kinds of space you need: working and desk, storage, etc. You’ll know soon enough if the shed you’re planning is too small or too big.
3. Design ideas
Once you’ve determined how much you can spend and exactly how much space you need, you can start thinking about design. What style do you want your shed to display, both inside and out? Do you prefer a modern architecture or something more traditional? Look at some shed designs and choose something that attracts you. Do you like a streamlined look or something more decorative?
Remember that your design choices will influence the type of materials you use, and that these materials all have different prices. It will also influence how much lighting you need inside, depending on the size and type of windows you allow.
4. Time to build
Like most major projects, we often underestimate the amount of time it will take to finish it. If you want a shed for next summer, you probably should start planning before the end of the winter, if only for setting up your budget and deciding on the design.
As far as the building itself, of course, you’ll need to determine how much time you can dedicate to the task every week. Or will you take two weeks’ vacation to finish it off quickly? Think of friends you can ask for help. Would they be willing to donate a few hours to help put your shed up? Or might you want to hire professionals?
5. Building skills
All right, so you have everything decided and planned out, even the amount of time it will take to build it all. The last question is, do you have the right skills to build a shed? Take me, for example. I couldn’t build a shed if my life depended on it.
But maybe you do–do you know how to start a foundation, build up on it, add the inside and outside materials? Do you know how to add storage and desk space without breaking everything down? Making an inventory of the skills you have and the skills you need will save you a lot of time and stress. If you are missing essential skills, ask someone who knows or hire a professional to help out.
Your very own shed
These are only some preliminary concerns when you want to build your own shed. You’ll need architectural and building plans, and of course a lot of time and skills.
Have you ever attempted this kind of project? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!