A storage shed in the backyard can improve its functionality, aesthetics, and the total available space. When tools and equipment are safely stored out of sight your outdoor living area is welcoming and ready for entertaining. If adding a shed to your backyard appeals to you but buying one does not, here are some things you should know before building a shed.
Will you need permits or permissions?
Any structure that you build on your property might be subject to local bylaws and building codes. Check municipal guidelines first – it might save you the trouble of paying fines or even having to tear it down and starting over. Some municipalities in the Lower Mainland require a building inspection to ensure a home office or guest house is up to code.
No matter what kind of shed you are planning to build, it will need a foundation. Once you know where the shed will be installed, before digging call to see if you’re going to encounter buried power lines or pipes.
If your shed is going to be used as a home office, workshop, or greenhouse, it will probably need electricity or a watering/drainage system which would also involve digging permissions.
What is the purpose of the shed?
Before downloading plans for building a shed, decide what you want to use it for. A personal gym, home office, storage shed, garden shed are all popular types of sheds that enhance outdoor living spaces. And they all have features and architectural details that make them unique and functional for their specific purpose.
Where will it be located?
When choosing the ideal location for a shed, consider the following:
- The ground should be level
- Away from drainage areas such as downspouts
- Not near trees, especially ones with low-hanging branches
Install a garden shed or greenhouse that doesn’t have its own hydration system near the water source you will utilize most often.
If concerned about security, place the shed in the backyard where it is visible from the house and not hidden from view by shrubs, the garage, or a pool’s security fence.
You will need an area large enough to accommodate a gravel pad or concrete foundation.
Ensure that your shed (and its foundation) won’t intrude on your neighbour’s property.
If you are building a greenhouse shed select the part of the backyard that gets the most light.
Choose a foundation material that is compatible with the location you have selected – you don’t want the shed’s foundation to shift when the ground freezes, thaws, or settles.
How big will it be?
The size of your shed will depend on what you’re intending to use the shed for and the amount of space available in your backyard. When perusing online plans, there will be a lot of options – select a size that is somewhat larger than your specific current needs to allow for more space should you need it in the future.
What material will you use for the shed?
Typical materials for garden sheds are wood, metal, heavy duty vinyl, and plastic. Common materials for backyard greenhouses are glass panels and polycarbonate panels. Wood sheds are appealing because of their rustic, organic charm, but they are high maintenance. If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend on the upkeep of your shed, choose a low-maintenance material such as vinyl or metal with a protective finish.
Does your shed need gutters?
Just like your house, a shed, especially one that is mid-to-large in size, will need gutters. Benefits of installing gutters and downspouts on you shed include:
- Protects the foundation
- Prevents soil erosion
- Protects the interior from leaks and water damage
- Eliminates standing water in front of entrances