How to Build a Garden Shed — Country Living

How to Build a Garden Shed - Country Living

A shed can be much more than a place to stow your lawnmower. Build one that answers your practical and creative needs.

Suit Yourself

Sheds come in all shapes and sizes, so you can create one that suits your purpose rather than settling for something standard. Here, a few common uses for this overlooked outdoor space:


Lawn and Garden Center:  Stow your lawnmower, wheelbarrow, garden tools, and potting supplies in a convenient, easy-to-access area of your yard.

Extra Storage:  When you run out of room in the garage, a shed is a useful spot to store bikes, sports equipment, tools, pool supplies, and more.

Creative Space:  A shed can be transformed into an extra room, such as an art studio or a writer’s room, to practice your hobby in peace and quiet.


Building a shed?  David Stiles, a designer and author of Sheds: The Do-It-Yourself Guide for Backyard Builders (Firefly Books), outlines a strategy:


1. Determine Its Use:  A shed built for storing firewood will certainly have a different size and look than one built as a workshop or a gardening station.

2. Check Building Codes: Ask your town’s zoning board if you will need a building per- mit and about any restrictions that may limit your project.

3. Choose a Site:  Seek level ground in a convenient area (a garden shed should be close to the garden, for example) that receives some sunlight.

4. Consider Style: Browse through books and magazines for inspiration or take a peek in your neighbors’ backyards to find a style you like. Above, a classic cottage-style shed from Summerwood. Visit  to customize a shed and purchase a ready-to-assemble kit.

Selecting The Appropriate Style

A shed can change the landscape of your yard, for better or worse. "Anything on the outside of your home — your lawn, fence, even your car — is a reflection of your taste and love of your home," explains David Stiles. Take the time to think about what you truly want and need in a shed and the final result will only enhance your property. One major trend is to create a miniaturized version of your house. Or go in the opposite direction and build a different style that adds an interesting focal point to your yard. But for most homeowners, coordination, rather than matching, is the goal. Use building materials and paint colors similar to your home’s for a complementary effect. 


Louvered Vents  encourage air circulation in your shed. This is necessary only if you build a structure without windows. Close the vents in the winter to prevent snow and water from leaking inside the structure.

The Roof  should be sloped if you live in the North, to allow snow to run off; in southern regions where weather is milder, flat roofs are acceptable. Choose shingles or shakes to achieve the look you want.

Building Materials  should suit your budget and taste, both in appearance and level of maintenance. Vinyl siding is easy to care for, but not a match if you want the look of rustic cedar shingles.

Install a Ramp  to ease moving lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and other heavy equipment in and out of the shed. Be sure to consider the overall size of your lawnmower when determining the width of your door.

A Pier Foundation  made of concrete blocks or wooden posts buried several inches into the ground will keep the structure reasonably secure, while still allowing you to move the shed if needed.

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