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In this piece, we share some of the best shed project ideas and concepts for your unique purposes and help you to get the most out of that space.
Whether you’re building a She Shed or a Man Cave, having a shed outback is a practical use of space and square footage. You can do a lot with it to make it seem like you’re expanding the footprint of your home, even with just a few hundred square feet. It can also increase your property value.
If you’ve been thinking about building a shed, or you already have one, but you’re not sure what to do with it, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll talk about the most useful purposes for that space and how to implement them in an effective and exciting way.
Things to Think About
If you’re toying with the idea of building a shed in the backyard, you’ll want to have a plan before you get started. Here are some of the decisions you’ll have to make regarding shed design and purpose.
You can make the roof out of a lot of different materials. You can use shingles, tiles, metal, or roofing to match your house. If you’d rather it be totally different than your home, explore fun options like making it a raised garden bed or a place to plant vegetables. This would give it two purposes and you wouldn’t have to sacrifice your landscape to do it.
You may also explore things like slanted roofs, making drainage easier, or putting the roof on a hinge so you could open it up and access your storage from the top rather than the side. There is an infinite number of great options that make it both aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.
If you plan to put doors on your shed, you have about as many options as you do for the roof. You can install a single door or double doors. You can choose from any style or color palette you love. The entire front of the shed could open on a hinge, or you could install whimsical shutter-style doors.
If you’d like to install a door with glass panes, you could paint it red like an old telephone booth, or you could put a door on each end of the shed for easy access to all of your garden tools, no matter which ends they’re on.
As if you didn’t already have enough options from which to choose, you also have dozens of choices to make when it comes to the floor in your shed. Some people prefer to pour a concrete slab, while others would rather build their shed directly on top of dirt, gravel, or grass.
You could finish the floor with tile or wood, giving you a true multipurpose outdoor space, or you could build a raised floor that keeps items up off of the ground without the added expense of pouring a concrete pad.
How you choose to do it will impact your cost, but will also dictate how you can use the shed. Concrete or solid flooring will keep your storage shed dry, giving you a weatherproof space for extra household storage that you may not want to set directly on the ground, while lawnmowers and gardening tools would be just fine sitting on dirt or gravel.
Style and design
You may want to build a custom shed, or you may prefer to buy plans off the internet. You can purchase kits you put together yourself or you could buy something already assembled. Regardless of how you do it, you still have tons of decisions to make.
Do you want a plastic shed, a pole barn, or something made of brick? Would you rather use new or repurposed materials? Do you like vintage or eclectic styles? Will your neighborhood allow you to put up a structure in the back that’s not in keeping with the style of your home?
Think through these questions before you get started to eliminate the headache of running into problems later. Get the approval you need from your HOA if you have one and ask questions about what’s allowed and what’s not.
Uses and amenities
What you plan to use the shed for will determine what kind of amenities you should include. Storage space for bikes, the lawnmower, and garden tools may not need much, but a playhouse or a multipurpose space will benefit from solid flooring, walls, and a roof.
If you want to build a comfortable outdoor living space or a guest room, you’ll need to consider heat, air conditioning, electricity, a lock on the door, and possibly even running water. None of these things are necessary, but they improve the space and make it more inviting.
If you want to use it as a greenhouse, it needs plenty of windows to let in light, with a lot of open space on the inside for you to move around. This enables you to water, transplant, and do all of your other gardening activities. You may even consider installing an irrigation system.
If space is meant for year-round use or you want some climate-controlled storage, consider your insulation options to keep your heat and air conditioning in when you need it.
Placement is incredibly important, and there are some things to consider. You can put a shed near or touching your house, especially if you want to build a useful storage addition for holding things you might normally store in the garage, like tools or trash bins.
However, the space you have in the yard may not be conducive to adding a shed if the shed is too big. Medium to large sheds will not only fit better in the backyard but will likely look better, too.
Also, consider how close your shed might be to your neighbor’s property or fence. If building codes permit it, you can do it, but it may also depend on how good of a relationship you have with your neighbor and whether or not you want to upset them.
Be aware of placing sheds underneath trees with large limbs that could fall in a storm or shed leaves in the fall and damage the roof. Shade is a great thing, but it’s a risk analysis you’ll want to perform ahead of time.
Your purpose will also impact the size of the space. Something small will do for firewood and garden tools, but you’ll need something bigger for a riding lawn mower, rakes, shovels, sleds, and Christmas decorations.
You’ll want something even bigger if you’re creating an outdoor living or entertaining space that accommodates your family, friends, or overnight guests. You’ll also want to consider options for insulating the space for use in the winter.
Size, materials, and amenities will all add to the cost. Create a budget for the project before you begin. You’ll be surprised by how quickly costs will rise, just by making what you thought were simple decisions.
Figure out what you want and estimate the cost first, then add or take away as needed to avoid going over budget on what was supposed to be a small, easy spring project.
Best Shed Project Ideas
Now that you have a better idea of how many decisions you have to make, here are some fun project ideas to get your imagination going. You can pick one of these, combine several of them to make something new, or come up with your own idea entirely.
Trash bin storage
Who wants to take up valuable garage space with trash and recycling bins? You can buy unobtrusive plastic-covered storage that sits on the lawn and is large enough for your trash bins. You could also build a custom storage unit for your trash bins made out of any material you choose.
The benefit here is that you can keep your trash hidden away, so it’s not an eyesore and even meets your HOA standards. Yet it’s still easy to roll out on trash day via the double doors in front.
Place it wherever you like, or wherever is allowed in your neighborhood. It could be at the side of the house, in the backyard, or under the deck. No matter where you put it, this idea will free up more space in your home’s garage and add a bit of convenience and curb appeal by keeping your yard clean.
This is a great project to get you started building a shed-like structure, and once you’ve completed it successfully, you will have the confidence you need to tackle something bigger or more complicated.
If you don’t want to build it yourself, check out some prefabricated options. Leisure Season makes this enclosed cedar standalone storage shed that looks gorgeous and is rather affordable. It can hold two trash bins or a trash bin and a recycling bin. It opens from the top and the front, so it’s easy to throw things away during the week and then wheel the bins out to the curb on trash day.
A tall, skinny booth is the perfect place to store garden implements and stack your supplies. Lean rakes and shovels up against the wall, stack extra buckets or pots for your plants, and mount hose storage on the side.
This is the perfect opportunity to install a glass door and paint it red like an old phone booth, but if you’re not keen on that idea, you can paint it any color you want. A tall booth made out of bricks looks like a chimney, while a fun painting on the side could transform it into anything you want it to be.
For people who are short on space, hideaway storage is the perfect solution. Urban homes don’t have as much gardening or lawn space as larger homes do, so building a box with a drawer allows you to store items like bikes, and slide them out easily and often.
Plant a raised bed on top of the box so you don’t miss out on any garden or lawn space, or create a box that serves another outdoor living purpose to make it multifunctional.
If you simply can’t get enough of gardening, create a greenhouse space where you can display your favorite plants, raise vegetables, or store all of your gardening supplies. This space can be as small or large as you want, with plenty of shelves to grow your garden up instead of out.
Make sure you install everything you need, like a work table in the middle for transplanting and storage drawers below for extra pots, gloves, trowels, and more. You may even want to consider installing an irrigation system for timed watering.
Surrounding the greenhouse with windows ensures plenty of light for your plants while giving you perfect visibility from your spot on the bench to enjoy watching your plants grow.
To get you started, you don’t even have to build your own. You can get super affordable options on Amazon, like the MTB Outdoor Portable greenhouse, allowing you to experiment with greenhouse designs and move them around the yard until you find the perfect spot.
This fun idea gives you a place to put items that you don’t want sitting on the ground. You can enclose it or leave spaces between the slats for ventilation, helping to keep the mold and mildew out.
You could build this to match your fencing or take a fun approach by making it look like an urban bus stop. You could also use it as a shaded picnic area or a wonderful covered patio for relaxation and family time.
One of the best ways to keep the aesthetic of your house going throughout your lawn is to create a multipurpose space that’s an extension of your home. Follow the same design principles, but create a space that you can use as a game room, entertainment space, guest room, or all three.
You can add cabinets for storage or shelves for decor. Putting a desk in makes for a great private office while floor-to-ceiling bookcases make a gorgeous library. Furnish it comfortably or create something fun like a treehouse for grownups. No matter what you do, it will be a whimsical oasis for you, your family, your friends, and your guests.
Creating a storage space under your deck is a really simple way to increase your outdoor storage without spending a ton of money. It’s easy to enclose and uses the deck for a roof, so you don’t have to worry about building a roof yourself.
You still get full use of your deck, you don’t have to install a floor, and you won’t subtract from any of your lawn or landscape. You can even landscape around your newly enclosed storage area for extra curb appeal.
An open concept design means you can build a small frame and leave the front off of the shed, making it more easily accessible. Build a small, open cabinet to display garden gnomes or other outdoor decorations. It’s like a shed for your concrete critters, but it also serves as a small project to get your feet wet before building something bigger.
Build an elevated cabinet just big enough to keep firewood dry. You can store firewood for your wood-burning stove or indoor fireplace as well as logs for your outdoor fire pit. This is a fantastic way to keep the wood dry and ready to burn while keeping it close and convenient for roasting marshmallows or staying warm in the wintertime.
Building a custom solution is always more fun, but if you’re not up for it, you can get really affordable covered and non-covered options just about anywhere. Check online or at your local hardware store.
Instantly add square footage to your home and increase its value by setting up a quaint cottage guesthouse that people will want to use. Your friends and family will be excited to visit and your kids can have campouts under the stars.
It’s a fun way to sleep outside when the weather is good or take a quick afternoon catnap, but it also gives you a warm place to go in the wintertime if you need the extra bedroom. Set it up like a luxury hotel suite, adding running water, heat, electricity, and insulation for those who use it.
Make it a multipurpose space by installing built-in storage under the bed for linens or gardening tools and adding a functional desk in the corner. You don’t have to plumb out the entire space, especially if you have a guest bath in the house, but a simple pedestal sink and fresh linens will make it seem like a quiet, private quarter.
Read our full guide on how to find the best ideas for bedroom personalization.
There are plenty of other things to consider before building the type of shed you think you need. Features, amenities, size, and quantity of sheds in the backyard are all important factors that will increase cost, but give you more functionality.
An outdoor sink is convenient for all sorts of things and making it a part of your shed addition will make your outdoor space even more useful. It’s great in a guest room, but you can also rinse your hands after gardening before coming back inside. You could also use it for hand washing and line drying clothes or scrubbing your grilling tools after an outdoor cooking session.
Installing a sink in your outdoor shed is one thing, but you can also get standalone sinks meant for the outdoors, and they’re also great additions to your garden and easy to install wherever you need them most.
You don’t have to insulate your shed, but it’s something to consider if you’re turning your shed into a guest room or a more comfortable multifunctional space. Insulation may not be needed for your purposes, but if there’s any question in your mind as to whether it would be useful, see if you can work it into your budget. You won’t regret it.
Electricity will enable heat, air conditioning, laptop charging at your workstation, lighting, and a whole lot more. If you’re building an outdoor living space equipped with an entertainment center, office, or library, you’ll want to run electricity to space so you can plug-in lamps and everything else you need.
This will add to the cost because it’s likely you’ll need to hire a licensed electrician, but you can hardly have a multipurpose space without it. Even if you don’t think you need electricity now, it will increase your flexibility for a truly multipurpose space later.
Doubling up on sheds gives you even more versatility. You can have as many sheds as you want, but at a certain point, it may be overkill. A storage shed for gardening tools, bikes, and trash bins alongside your outdoor living space will give you plenty of storage while still giving you a comfortable place to spend time outdoors.
One small shed and one large shed will complement one another and two small sheds for different purposes will be functional, but two large sheds may be too much.
Coming up with a shed project idea that works for you doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s supposed to be fun, so here are some frequently asked questions to help ease your mind and lift your spirits.
Answer: It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s typically cheaper to build your own shed than it is to buy one already assembled. The frustration you save by ordering a pre-built shed costs money, but it may be worth it to you.
It will all depend on your particular situation, what materials you use, and how you intend to decorate it. Ordering materials can add up, especially if you choose premium supplies, so do a cost analysis first to see which might be better for you.
Answer: There are a lot of ways you can dress up your shed and make it look better. Paint your shed a fun color to attract attention or add a different color roof. Hang hummingbird feeders or salt licks from the side to attract wildlife. Using your shed to grow plants is also a great way to add curb appeal. Here are some other ideas:
• Make your shed the focal point of your backyard
• Transform it into a luxurious oasis or a useful entertainment space
• Decorate it with a water feature
• Paint a mural on the side
Answer: If you’re going to pour a concrete pad, you can place your shed directly on the pad, but you’ll want to make sure the pad is thick enough to support the weight of the structure and its intended purposes.
If you’re not going to pour a pad, but you want your shed to have a floor, you need to raise the floor by about four inches. This makes it easier to pain, but it also allows for increased airflow and circulation underneath, which will mitigate moisture issues and keep the contents of your shed dry.
Answer: Unless you plan to keep your shed climate controlled with heat or air conditioning, you don’t need to install a moisture or vapor barrier. If you want your shed heated, you need to put the moisture barrier on the inside of the frame. If you want your shed cooled, the moisture barrier goes on the outside of the frame.
You can get away with using 6 mil poly, but a 10 mil or a 20 mil poly is better. However, you don’t need to use a moisture barrier if your shed isn’t very well insulated because the increased airflow will provide circulation and keep things dry.
Answer: There’s no reason why you can’t put a shed next to your fence or at the side of your house, but it’s important to consider maintenance and repairs to both structures. If your fence needs repair in the future, having the shed in the way will provide a limited amount of space to work.
It’s typically easier to keep these structures at least a few yards away from one another so you have room to mow, paint, or fix one without the risk of damaging the other..
The Right Shed For You
Only you can decide which type of shed is right for you, depending on your needs and your budget. Make sure you do as much planning and prep as you can ahead of time to keep your cost under control and ensure you get exactly what you want.
Whether you’re building something large or small, you’re increasing the functionality of your yard, adding curb appeal to your home, and expanding your living space to accommodate the outdoors