Plan before you shed shop

Plan before you shed shop

By Carrie Dunlea

Backyard sheds can be useful assets. They can give back storage space to the garage, attics or other areas of the house that have become gathering spots for gear typically used outdoors. These affordable buildings are ideal for housing mowers, tools and pool-care equipment as well as lawn or pool chemicals. Aside from housing necessities that clutter a garage, sheds can be put to use in other ways as well, such as being key spots to engage in hobbies or even as a child’s clubhouse.

A storage shed can be a significant investment so there are key factors that should be considered before building or buying one. Once placed, sheds remain in place for years to come so careful thought should go into the planning process.

1. Check your local building codes first. Before you accumulate building materials or order a shed, be sure to know the ins and outs of your city’s building codes. The codes may impact the shed’s placement, construction, the materials used, size, and numerous other factors. It’s much easier to amend plans beforehand than to face the hassle and expense after learning you did things incorrectly.

2. Choose placement wisely. Spend several days assessing the yard and thinking about the uses for the shed. If you plan to store pool floats and chemicals inside of the shed, it should be located close enough to the pool to be convenient. Look at the lay of the land. If there is a soggy patch of land that can turn swampy under the shed’s foundation, that is a poor location choice. If you need access to electricity, placing it far away from the house could necessitate running expensive wiring. 

3. Consider the design. Just because a shed is for storage doesn’t mean aesthetics should be overlooked. Choose a shed style that complements your home. You may also want to match certain architectural features, like arched doorways or dormers. Design also may relate to practicality. For instance, storing a riding mower inside may necessitate dual doors that open widely.

4. Invest in quality materials. Spending a little more and using quality materials can ensure it lasts long enough to be cost-effective. The right materials will be resistant to splitting, cracking, decay, and insect damage.

5. Prepare the site well. A proper foundation for the shed is almost as important as the shed itself. You cannot just drop the shed on the lawn and leave it, as the shed can sink or structural issues may arise if it is placed on a weak base. 

6. Blend into the environment. Surround the shed with shrubs or plants so that it blends into the yard and complements the space.

7. Deck out the interior. Use every storage tool at your disposal to maximize floor, wall and even rafter space for storage. Plan where items will be kept and customize the storage options around those locations.

Sheds – when planned right – can be a bountiful backyard storage asset.

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