Whether one is looking to clear out the garage, find a home for yard equipment and tools, or create a studio or a workshop, a shed can serve many needs. Sheds come in various sizes, ranging from small models for storing trash and recycling cans to huge sheds that are capable of sheltering a car. They also come in various material types, including metal, wood, and plastic resin.
With so many different styles, sizes, and types of sheds to choose from, making the right selection for one’s property can be overwhelming. This guide will look to shed some light on these small storage buildings by looking at what factors one should consider when shopping for the best shed.
Our Top Picks
The list below includes some of the best garden sheds for sale. Wood, resin, and metal sheds of various sizes and designs are listed across a broad range of needs typically searched for when shopping for sheds online.
- Reinforced construction
- Attractive look
- Ample windows and skylights create natural light
- Easy assembly
- Limited shelf space
- Ample storage space
- Wide doorway
- Two color options
- Padlock-compatible hasp
- Low roof height
- Weather-resistant cedar construction
- Functioning windows
- Attractive rustic look
- Shingles included
- No double doors
How we choose the best sheds
When selecting the top sheds on the market, we used several criteria, including build quality, aesthetics and functionality. Sheds must be able to withstand extreme weather and last for years, so we only chose models with durable construction. While wood-framed sheds are inherently sturdy, we only chose resin sheds with thick walls or steel reinforcement, while the metal sheds we chose required thick steel construction.
Functionality was important, so we preferred sheds with large double doors and higher ceilings for additional storage, as well as sheds with windows and skylights that provided natural light to enhance views. Because sheds occupy a prominent place on one’s property, we chose attractive models whenever possible, including those with interesting rooflines, attractive colors, and architectural features such as window frames, dormers, and eave overhangs.
What to consider when choosing the best shed
While finding the right size shed to meet a homeowner’s storage needs is certainly critical, other factors are also important, including design, door size and materials. In the future, learn more about these and other important attributes to consider when purchasing a new shed.
While an 8-foot x 10-foot shed is probably the most common size, sheds can range in size from a small 6-foot x 3-foot shed to a large 12-foot x 16-foot shed. To determine the best size, use cones or stakes to mark out the floor space of the expected shed. Next, place bicycles, lawn mowers, gardening tools and any other items the shed needs to accommodate in that footprint, taking into account the clearance needed to access each item (burying lawn mowers behind a fleet of bicycles and gardening tools is’ not practical).
It is also important to consider the location of the shed in the yard when deciding on the size. When choosing a shed location, keep in mind that many communities have size restrictions on sheds, as well as rules about how close a shed can be to the lot line.
Sheds come in a variety of different designs, most of which are depicted by the shape of the shed’s roofline. A shanty roof consists of two sloping roof sections that meet at the top of the roof. This creates a classic look that mimics many domestic buildings. Barn-style roofs have a more rustic appearance with a duplex roof reminiscent of a barn, making them ideal for more rural communities. Pitched roof sheds use two walls of different heights to form a pitched roof for a more modern look, making them a good choice for urban settings.
In addition to the roof shape, other architectural features add to the appearance of the shed, including window and door styles, as well as architectural features such as eave overhangs, window frames and domes.
Most wood sheds require the user to paint them, allowing the homeowner to choose whatever color they want. Plastic and metal sheds usually come in brown or gray earth tones that have been stained into the material.
Shelving and Interior Features
Shelves and hooks inside sheds make organizing gardening equipment, tools, planters, bicycles and other supplies much easier. When purchasing a shed, it is important to keep in mind what is included in the shed and what needs to be purchased in the aftermarket or built by the owner.
While it may be easy to add shelves or hooks to a wooden shed frame, plastic and metal sheds require special compatible shelves and hooks that must usually be purchased from a shed manufacturer and are expensive.
Other shed features to consider include windows. Some windows are not functional and are designed to improve the appearance of the shed while providing natural light to the interior, or to make the shed a more popular work space if it is used as a studio, remote office or workshop. Some garden sheds include functional windows, which can also be used for ventilation. Others include skylights, which also help to illuminate the shed with natural light.
All sheds should have vents in or near the roof to allow moist air to escape from the shed and prevent condensation that can lead to mold growth.
Access to the shed is usually through a standard size door approximately 30 inches wide or through a large double barn type door approximately 50 inches wide. Sheds used as homes for lawn mowers or other large equipment require a double door to allow access to the shed for these machines. Sheds with doors are located in the middle of the wall rather than at the end of the wall, allowing easier access to equipment on all sides of the interior of the shed.
There are three basic material types for sheds – wood, plastic resin and metal.
Wood: Wood is the strongest of the three materials, and therefore can withstand high winds or the weight of snow on the roof better than metal or plastic. Wood also has a more natural look for the home than plastic and metal. It is more customizable, allowing users to add shelves or hooks to the wood frame and can be painted any color. However, unlike metal or resin sheds, wood is prone to rot and insect damage.
Resin: Plastic resin is durable, impervious to damage from sun, water or insects, and requires little maintenance. Although innovations such as steel reinforcement and double-thick walls have made plastic stronger, it is still not as strong as wood. Resin sheds are easy to assemble, but not easy to customize. Only compatible shelves and hooks can be added to the interior, and sheds are not easy to paint. Over the years, resin sheds have improved significantly aesthetically thanks to molded designs that mimic the look of wood panels.
Metal: Metal sheds are less susceptible to insect damage. While they are resistant to weather, they will eventually corrode and rust anyway. Metal sheds are sturdy, but they can easily dent if hit inside with the wrong mower or shovel. Metal sheds are the most affordable of the three shed options.
When purchasing a shed, it is important to consider the climate it must withstand. Those who live in areas that receive a lot of snowfall or experience strong winds should consider a shed made of wood, which can withstand the weight of snow or high winds better than a metal or resin shed. That said, resin sheds are a better choice for warm, humid areas that receive a lot of rainfall because they do not rot and are less susceptible to insect damage.
It is critical to consider building codes, zoning regulations and homeowner association regulations before choosing a shed. Many communities have regulations regarding the size of sheds and where they can be located in the yard relative to the homeowner’s property line. Some communities only allow sheds made of certain materials.
Sheds are available in kit form and can be easily installed with just a few basic tools. Temporary tent-style sheds are designed to go up or down in an hour or less. Resin and metal sheds take the least amount of time and can usually be assembled in 5 or 6 hours. Wood shed kits have pre-cut pieces of wood and require no sawing, but are more complex to assemble and take a weekend to complete, depending on size.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are wondering how big a shed you can put in your yard, or if your shed has a floor, then read on for the answers to these and other frequently asked questions about these structures.
Q: How big of a shed can I put in my backyard?
The maximum shed size you can put in your backyard depends on the city, county and development you live in. Check zoning ordinances and your homeowner’s association rules to determine how large of a shed you can have on your property.
Q: Do I need a foundation for a shed?
Generally, small sheds measuring approximately 8 feet by 6 feet or less do not require a foundation and can use a base consisting of treated lumber or gravel. However, larger sheds require a solid foundation consisting of poured concrete or concrete blocks.
Q. Do I need a permit for a shed?
It depends on the jurisdiction. Many cities and states require you to have a shed permit for any single size (height, width or length) over 12 feet.
Q. Do I need gutters for a shed?
Sheds do not require gutters; however, you may need to add some for some reason. If you live in an area with a lot of annual precipitation, you may need gutters and downspouts to prevent rainwater from collecting at the bottom of the shed and possibly damaging its bottom or even causing a leak.
Q: Do I need vents in my shed?
It’s a good idea to have vents in your shed to allow hot, humid air to escape. Vents prevent condensation from forming in the shed, which can lead to mold growth.
Q. Does the shed have a floor?
It depends on the shed. Some come with a floor, while others require you to purchase a flooring kit to use. Most wood sheds include a floor, while most metal and plastic sheds do not.