Solve Your Storage Woes By Building a Shed

Best Of Hometalk
by Best Of Hometalk

Many of us have the same problem. We need more storage. Hobby supplies fill our closets, and our clothes get stuffed in drawers. Garden tools, lawnmowers, and camping gear land in the garage. Before we know it, the garage is full and our car is parked in the driveway or on the street.

Building a Shed (pixabay)

Have you dreamed about having your own She Shed, Craft Cabin, or the perfect place to store your garden tools and lawnmower? You are not alone. The creative shed ideas in this how-to and planning guide will inspire you to make it happen. It is time get your clothes back in the closet and the car in the garage. You can solve the lack of storage problem by building a shed.

Plan Ahead For Building a Shed

Although it is tempting to rush into a project like this, there are a few things to consider before you do. Take some time to jot down your requirements. Do you need enough room to park a riding lawn mower? Would you like to hang all your tools or keep small tools in drawers? If you will be using the shed for a hobby or recreation, do you need electrical outlets or overhead lighting? Now is the time to consider everything on your wishlist. In the end, you may have to compromise or make different choices, but why not plan for your dream shed first? After all, wishes cost nothing.

Shed Building Plans (Nitty Gritty Dirt Man)

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Shed Building Plans: Ready-Made or DIY?

Once you know what you want and need, it’s time to determine if there are ready-made shed building plans that will fit the bill or if you want to draft your own. Local ordinances may prohibit DIY plans, and we will address that more in the next section.

There are a variety of ready-made shed building plans to purchase and download online. The benefit to buying one is that a purchased plan typically includes a building supply list. Also, ready-made plans often have very detailed instructions from the type of screws and nails to use down to the exact cut of each board. Shed building plans like these take current building codes into consideration which can make the permitting process easier.

If you have your heart set on going the DIY route, there are a few free online drafting programs to help you get started. Alternately, you could go old school and draw your design on graph paper. A basic shed such as a woodshed or lean-to (a shed attached to an existing building) may not require complex shed building plans. A simple sketch should suffice. 


Will Building a Shed Require a Permit?

Now that you have some shed building plans in hand, there are a few additional details to check off the to-do list before you begin to build. You must make sure your plans comply with local law and safety requirements.

The footprint of a shed seems so small that people are often surprised to find out that their city requires a permit to build one. Regulations vary city-to-city and state-to-state. Be sure to reach out to your city, town, village, or county to make sure that the shed you intend to build complies with all ordinances. The cost of a permit varies widely. The process does too. When you apply for your permit, all of the requirements should be spelled out in detail. If they are not, ask a lot of questions and take notes. Make sure you understand your responsibilities as a builder. That will help you avoid negative surprises such as discovering your dream shed is a code violation.

It is tempting to move ahead and skip this step. However, if you do not follow proper procedure, you may be asked to tear down your brand new shed and start over completely. Suddenly, the cost to build a shed doubles or even triples depending on the violation. It is not worth the risk. 

Does Your Neighborhood Have Rules About What You Can and Cannot Build?

Once you jump over the local government hurdle, it is time to check with your neighborhood association. Not every neighborhood has a homeowner’s association or specific covenants, codes, and restrictions (CCRs). However, if these regulations exist in yours, the rules for building a shed may be very specific and possibly include:

  • Where you are allowed to build a shed
  • The size of your shed
  • What color you can paint it
  • The type of material you can use on the exterior (i.e.: shingles, siding, brick, etc…)
  • Roofing material

Refer back to your plans to make adjustments as necessary. 

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Shed (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Delusions of Ingenuity | Building the Garden Shed

Where To Build Your Shed

Armed with a permit and the go-ahead from your neighbors, it is time to finalize where you want to build your shed, and the location is important. You may want it close to the back door, nestled in the trees, or even hidden out of sight. It is up to you. Once you decide on the perfect location, mark the perimeter with stakes and string.  

Building My She Shed (Jann Olsen)

See post: Jann Olsen | Building My She Shed

Building a Shed | Let’s Get Started

You’ve done your due diligence and now the fun begins. It is finally time to build. Whether you are learning how to build a storage shed or a woodshed, the order of operations is the same. The basic building process always begins with a solid foundation or footings.

Step 1: Foundations and Footings

It is important to build your new shed on top of a concrete slab (foundation) or footings made from poured concrete or concrete blocks. Both types help distribute and bear the weight of the shed, anchor it against natural forces such as high winds, and prevent ground moisture from rotting the wood. So which should you choose? Here is some helpful information about both.

Concrete Slab Facts:

  • A concrete slab is the strongest foundation.
  • A concrete slab also serves as the shed floor.
  • Critters such as gophers and snakes cannot dig their way into the shed.
  • A Concrete slab should only be poured in an area that has been properly leveled. You will need to pay someone to do this or rent the equipment necessary to do it yourself. 
  • Concrete often requires an underlay of sand or pea gravel
  • Pouring a concrete slab can be expensive due to the labor costs of hiring out the job and the added material cost of the underlay materials. Even if you DIY a concrete foundation, it is still pricier than footings. 

Building a Shed Floor (Rachael)

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Concrete Footing Facts:

  • Footings alone are less expensive since they only require a small amount of concrete or ready-made blocks.
  • Footings work well on uneven ground. You will level the floor by making adjustments to the vertical floor supports attached to the footings. (Concrete blocks will still need to be placed on level ground.)
  • Footings are DIY-friendly since small bags of concrete or concrete blocks are fairly easy to maneuver alone or with a partner.
  • You will have to build a separate floor on top of the footings.
  • Critters can burrow underneath or make their way into your shed if there are any cracks or gaps in the floorboards or framing.
Building a Woodshed (DIY Design Fanatic)

See post: DIY Design Fanatic | Building a Woodshed

Once you decide which type of foundation is appropriate for your shed, it is time to prep the ground, build a frame, and pour the concrete, or place the footings and build a level floor on top. 

Building a Shed Foundation (Rachael)

See post: Rachael | Chicken Claws and Kitty Paws

Building The Garden Shed (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Delusions of Ingenuity | Building The Garden Shed

While you are framing the walls, remember to make openings for windows and doors. Your shed building plans may call for standard window placement or a more creative layout.

How to Build a Small Shed (Mary)

See post: Mary | She Shed

Cover the exterior frame with sheets of plywood ripped down with a table saw or a circular saw. Alternately, you could use reclaimed wood as long as it is in good condition. Do not accidentally cover your window or door openings. 

Wood Shed (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Delusions of Ingenuity | Building The Garden Shed

It is okay to temporarily place the windows and doors to make sure the openings are correct. However, wait to fully install them until after you build the roof. Moisture dripping down the walls could warp the windows, doors, or frames.

Step 3: Building The Shed Roof

Depending on your shed building plans, you will likely frame your shed roof on a slope or with gabled trusses. 

Building a Shed Roof (DIY Design Fanatic)

See post: Sloped Shed Roof by DIY Design Fanatic | Building a Woodshed

Building The Garden Shed (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Gabled Roof Trusses by Delusions of Ingenuity | Building The Garden Shed

For roofing material, there are a variety of products available. If you are building a shed with a sloped roof, corrugated steel or clear poly carbonate roofing panels might be perfect. 

Build Your Own Shed (Mary)

See post: Mary | She Shed

Building My She Shed (Jann Olsen)

See post: Jann Olsen | Building My She Shed

Traditional composite shingles work well on gabled roofs. The roofing product you choose will affect the overall cost to build a shed, so keep that in mind.  

Shed Building Plans (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Gabled Roof Frame by Delusions of Ingenuity | Building The Garden Shed

Step 4: Finishing the Exterior

There are a variety of ways to finish the exterior of your new shed. You may be restricted by your neighborhood CCRs, but if you are not, let your creativity flow. Sheds are the perfect place to use up leftover siding planks or shingles. 

Building Shed Doors (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Gabled Roof Frame by Delusions of Ingenuity|Building The Garden Shed

Board-and-Batten is a perfect and less expensive finishing touch. 

DIY Shed (Jann Olsen)

See post: Jann Olsen|Building My She Shed

Some types of sheds like a woodshed do not need additional siding. Gaps provide much-needed air circulation so firewood can continue to dry and cure.

Building a Woodshed (DIY Design Fanatic)

See post: DIY Design Fanatic|Building a Woodshed

You can still choose paint, stain, or a combo of both no matter which type of shed you build. There is no wrong answer when it comes to your project. You get to call the shots. 

Building My She Shed (Jann Olsen)

See post: Jann Olsen|Building My She Shed

Step 5: Windows and Doors

Aside from pure functionality, windows and doors can add a lot of character. Reclaimed windows create an eclectic look. 

She Shed (Mary)

See post: Mary|She Shed

A traditional door painted in bright cheery red adds a pop of color to the entire neighborhood. 

Outdoor Shed (Delusions of Ingenuity)

See post: Gabled Roof Frame by Delusions of Ingenuity|Building The Garden Shed

Once you have finished building a shed, it is time to load it up with firewood, garden tools, or all of your hobby supplies. It is yours to enjoy.

DIY Potting Shed (Nitty Gritty Dirt Man)

See post: Nitty Gritty Dirt Man|DIY Potting Shed 

Building My She Shed (Jann Olsen)

See post: Jann Olsen|Building My She Shed

Building a shed is not necessarily a quick project. It requires careful planning and preparation. Because of the complexity and cost to build a shed, it may be a project best suited for people with a bit of DIY experience and a variety of tools. That said, as long as you have a lot of patience, good problem-solving skills, and the willingness to learn new things, you should consider learning how to build a storage shed. Wouldn’t it be nice to park the car in the garage again? Be sure to pin this article and visit Hometalk for more great shed building tips and ideas!

Written for the Hometalk community by: Stacy | BlakeHillHouse

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Linda Linda on May 08, 2020

    Do you think building your own storage shed would save you quite a bit of money rather than purchasing a one?

Join the conversation
  • Acacia Acacia on Oct 28, 2020

    I really enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author. I will definitely bookmark your blog and maybe come back someday Thanks for a great post. Please continue to uphold!


  • Karen Hyde Karen Hyde on Jun 12, 2022

    I love that someone put in double doors! How often have I struggled to get something in the door?