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How to design your own garden shed

Updated July 20, 2017

A well-designed garden shed adds an attractive and functional element to the landscape. A garden shed offers a convenient and secure location for gardeners to store and organise their tools, supplies and equipment. With a little creativity and planning, you can design a functional garden shed that complements your yard.

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  1. Select the location. A garden shed is a large structure and a prominent feature in the landscape. Most sheds are temporary structures without fixed foundations. They require solid footings built on a level surface. Position the shed well within your property boundaries in an area with convenient access for large pieces of equipment such as mowers, soil tillers and wheelbarrows.

  2. Measure the existing space. Draw out a plan of the yard and existing buildings to help visualise the placement and scale of the proposed structure. Include large trees, fences and other elements in the landscape that can affect access to the garden shed.

  3. Determine the size of the structure. The garden shed must be large enough to neatly and safely store all of the tools and equipment, yet remain in proportion to the size of the yard. An oversized shed in a small garden area can look out of scale with the landscape. For an average size garden, the Home Design and Architecture Guide suggests a garden shed up to 100 square feet in size, using between 3 to 5 per cent of the available garden space. Large spaces can support a larger garden shed.

  4. Match the garden shed to the surroundings. The style of the garden shed, including the trim elements and paint colours, should match or complement the main house. Using similar exterior materials and finishes connects the garden shed visually with the other buildings on the property. Create a path to the entrance, add window shutters and window boxes, and plant shrubs and flowers to anchor the garden shed into the surrounding landscape.

  5. Include a potting bench. Incorporating a workspace inside the garden shed increases the functionality and provides a dedicated place for potting plants and flowers. A small potting bench allows room below for storing larger items such as potting soil or birdseed and space above to add shelving for flowerpots and smaller, lightweight items. Leave enough space in front of the potting bench for safe and easy access.

  6. Organise tools to maximise storage space. Use hanging racks for tools such as rakes and shovels, and add shelving for additional storage. Dedicate storage spaces for larger items such as lawnmowers. Include a clear pathway for entering and exiting the shed.

  7. Tip

    Use recycled materials to reduce costs. Building a garden shed is an opportunity to incorporate used materials into the design and construction. Using recycled windows and doors can save money while reducing the amount of material destined for the landfill. Old lumber can make good shelves and reused bricks can make a stylish, durable and functional floor. Add lighting and electrical sockets to interior and exterior of the garden shed to increase functionality and safety.


    Check with the local building officials for permits and restrictions before purchasing or building a garden shed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sketch pad

About the Author

A technical writer since 1998, Anthony Altorenna writes product literature, marketing collateral and Web content. Many of his articles appear on eHow. Altorenna has extensive experience in voice and data communications. He holds Bachelors of Arts in journalism and English, both earned at the University of Rhode Island.

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