Storage sheds can free up your space, and make life outdoors a bit easier, too. Here are some areas to address when investing in outdoor storage sheds.
No matter how bad winter has been, spring is imminent. It will soon be time to put away winter tools, equipment, and toys, and bring out the summer equivalent. Oh, you have no place to store these things, you say?
I think you need a shed!
Form follows function
Before you decide on a shed or shed kit, decide what you are going to use it for.
If you have outgrown the garage, or actually want to park the cars in there, you will definitely need a shed. A few things you might find in your garage are:
• Yard tools, equipment, and toys (garden tools, lawn mower, bicycles, surf boards, patio furniture)
• Winter tools, equipment, and toys (snow shovel, deicer, snow blower, skis, snowmobile)
• Furniture and accessories that you have replaced, but cannot get rid of yet (consider a shed yard sale)
• Tools and building materials for future home improvement projects
Once you know what you want to store in your new shed, decide if you want to make space for a workshop or garden potting area. Sheds are not just for storage! Utilize the space with activities, if need be.
Now we get to ‘form’. Design will depend on personal choice and your budget. Styles range from utilitarian steel, wood, or plastic to custom built to match your home. Sheds can be delivered pre-assembled, or you can buy a kit and put it together yourself.
If you have some carpentry skills, you can build your own. Watch this video of Norm Abrams from The New Yankee Workshop building a custom shed based on a building he found locally.
Figure square footage for all your storage and activity needs. A closet sized shed will hold hand tools for the garden. A 10’x20’ shed will fit a riding mower, furniture, and tools for winter storage, and a snowblower, snowmobile, and sports gear in summer. Make sure you have room to move around inside!
Doors and windows
Depending on what you want to store will also dictate window and door size. If you are driving a riding lawn mower in, you will need a door wide enough with extra clearance. If you have no big equipment, a regular 36” exterior door will do. You might even need or want both kinds or doors.
Double or single hung windows will provide ventilation if anyone will be spending time there. For winter crafts and hobbies, insulate the shed and add a heat source.
For a cottage look, add window boxes for summer flowers, or a trellis on one side for a flowering vine. No matter what kind of shed you have, be sure you made a wide, durable path to it.
Location, location, location
When I bought my house, there was an old but sturdy shed down at the bottom of the hill of my acre yard. It wasn’t near the gardens, house or driveway. It was pretty useless. I moved it closer to the gardens for pots, shovels, hoes, a wheelbarrow, and hand tools.
Make sure you place your shed where you won’t be hauling things up a hill or long distances. Put it in a convenient spot, where you can load a snowmobile onto a trailer, or put the patio furniture out easily, or have that yard sale! If your property is spread out, you might need a few smaller sheds, instead of one big one to replace the garage storage.
Check to see if you need a building permit. Where I live, you need one for any structure over 10’x12’, even if it’s portable. In some places, you don’t need one if the building is portable, only if it’s on a permanent foundation. Every town is different, so be sure to check.
Make sure you are within the property line setbacks, and that you are abiding by your neighborhood covenants.
Figure out how much you can spend, and how you will pay for it. Sheds are not big ticket items, but if you put one on a credit card at the hardware store, will it make your payments too high? Can you afford a loan from your bank? Always think of your financial situation, no matter how small your home improvement project is.
Before spring sneaks up on you, and that’s very soon, make a plan to get organized with a new outdoor shed. Or two.
Your new shed for spring
What is the most important role that a shed plays for you? Is it all about storage? How do you keep it organized?
Do you use your shed for specific activities beyond outdoor storage?
What do you wish you could do with your shed, and what are some of the barriers that keep you from doing it?
Tell us all about it in the comments section below.