Considerations for Building vs. Buying a Garden Storage Shed
You can store your garden tools in a corner of the garage or basement if you have one. But a garden storage shed close to the garden is super handy.
We know gardeners are a handy bunch who enjoy DIY projects too, so we found a great garden storage shed plans that details exactly how to build your own garden shed.
The plans are not the same as our cover picture, but we loved that look. Or, you may prefer more of a cottage look, like this one below. As you will see, you can choose whatever exterior and flavor of decor you prefer, from rustic cabin to country cute, spruce it up as you wish.
However it is you want to decorate the outside, the basic structure is much the same.
Build or Buy a Storage Shed?
These days you can buy ready made garden sheds from your large local home stores like Lowes and Home Depot or online, such as this one from Amazon. Remarkable, really, that what started out as an online bookstore now sells vegetable garden plants and greenhouses, lawn mowers and ladybugs.
But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, aka, DIY-er, and you need a cool garden storage shed, that just might be your next weekend project. Projects are a great thing to do in the month preceding or following gardening season. Nothing like having all your tools cleaned, with equipment and supplies in place and ready to go when spring comes.
As this article continues, we share a cool plan and instructions on how to build you own garden storage shed. In addition, we discuss things to consider to help you decide whether to build or buy, such as the average cost per square foot of pre-made garden sheds.
A Garden Shed Construction Might Need City Approval
One big consideration in building your own garden shed, is whether you’ll have to have it permitted, inspected and approved by the city. A GardensAll fan indicated that in some places it’s far better to buy a pre-built shed than to build one because of all the red tape involved. So it might be a good idea to google that for your county, especially if you’re in a city with residential ordinances.
Build It to Capture Rainwater
In a recent conversation on the GardensAll Facebook page, someone mentioned wanting to build a garden shed so they could also capture more rainwater. That’s something on our list to do as well for one of our patches of land without easy water access.
Even if you have water nearby, it’s a great idea to make use of the extra roof footage of your home and garden shed for collecting rainwater for use in dry spells.
Depending on your terrain, that could build on an elevated platform for the barrels similar to that depicted in the photo below, or standing vertically on a platform at the corner of the storage shed.
A garden shed is that place dedicated to all things gardening… a place for everything and everything in its place.
Benefits of Collecting Rainwater
Collecting rainwater has another benefit. If you have a problem area that can flood during rainy season or heavy downpours, to place a storage shed that channels the water into rain barrels can really help. There are other things you can do for areas that tend to flood, such as creating a rain garden. You can find an article on rain barrels here for ideas.
Easy DIY Garden Shed with Plans
by Steve Maxwell on MotherEarthNews.com
Building a garden shed is one of the best ways to create additional storage space. Our garden shed plans are simple and require only basic carpentry skills.
A garden shed can be strictly functional, but it can also be a decorative focal point around which you design your garden or yard. These plans will help you build a basic shed, but don’t stop there! To customize your shed, you could create a combination toolshed and greenhouse, put a martin house on top, or use part of the shed for a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could create a living roof of moss or succulent plants.
Build the Floor
The best spot for a shed is level, well-drained ground close to where you work in your garden or yard. The location doesn’t need to be perfectly flat; the foundation design shown in the plans allows for adjustments to make the floor level. Small sheds require only a top-of-soil foundation, even in locations with freezing winter temperatures. Precast concrete deck blocks work perfectly for this.
To eliminate the need for any kind of floor beams, you’ll need:
- A deck block at each corner
- Two more blocks equally spaced along the 8′ sides
- One block in the center of each 6′ side
NOTE: If you expect to store particularly heavy items, consider installing three deck blocks between each corner on the 8-foot walls, instead of two.
Deck blocks include a central pocket sized to fit the standard 4 x 4’s vertical posts that typically hold up a deck. In the case of this shed, pressure-treated 4 x 4’s function in a similar way, but in short lengths — just enough to compensate for any variation in the shape of the ground (see the plans).
Start by setting deck blocks on the ground, positioned as shown in the plans:
- Make the ground roughly level where each block will rest
- Temporarily place some straight 2″ x 6″ lumber on edge in the top grooves of the blocks to orient the blocks in a straight line
- Arrange two rows of 4 blocks parallel to each other to form both long walls
- Then measure diagonally across the outside corners to determine how square the arrangement is
- If the two long walls are parallel, and diagonal measurements taken across corners are equal, then each corner is guaranteed to be 90 degrees
- Finish by placing one deck block in the middle of each 6′ wall after aligning and squaring the 8′ walls
- Remove the 2 x 6″ lumber guides
- Put a 12″ length of 4 x 4″ lumber into each deck block, positioned vertically in the central recess. These 4 x 4s will be slightly too long right now, which is what you need.
The 2×6’s that form the outer perimeter of the floor frame rest on the outside top edge of the deck blocks, tight to the outer faces of the 4 x 4″ posts.
- Use a 4-foot level and an 8′ x 2″ x 6″ to determine the highest deck block in the group to determine your starting point for installing the floor frame
- Use a single galvanized 3 1⁄2″ deck screw to lock the 2 x 6″ to the 4 x 4″ on the highest deck block
- Raise the other end of the 2 x 6″ so it’s level before locking the other end of the 2 x 6″ to its 4 x 4″
The 2 x 6″ won’t rest on all the blocks, but should rest on at least one. Continue working all around the floor frame in this manner until all perimeter 2 x 6’s are in the same level plane.
- Trim all excess 4 x 4″‘s flush with the top of the 2 x 6’s using a chain saw or reciprocating saw
- Add 2 x 6 floor joists running between the two 8′ walls. Make sure each joist fits tightly within the outer edges of the floor frame
- Fasten the joists to the side of the 4 x 4’s with screws
- Complete the floor frame by driving three 3 1⁄2-inch deck screws per joint
- Custom-cut spacers out of 1 1⁄2-inch-thick construction lumber to fill the gap between the underside of the 2 x 6’s and the top of the deck blocks
You can’t rely on screws alone to hold up the floor frame in the long term. Finish up by:
- Installing a pressure-treated, 5/8″ thick plywood subfloor on top of the floor frame
- Secure flooring with 2.5″ deck screws driven every 6-8″
Frame the Walls
This shed’s walls are built in the same way that the walls of most full-size homes are built. The plans show how 2-by-4 top plates and bottom plates extend horizontally around the perimeter of the building, with vertical studs defining wall surfaces. Notice that the two short walls fit inside the two longer ones, fastened together at the corners with 3 1⁄2-inch deck screws and overlapping top plates.
To build the framing for each wall:
- Begin by temporarily screwing a 2 x 4″ top plate and 2 x 4″ bottom plate together face to face
- Set this pair on its edge on the plywood floor
- Mark the position of the wall studs on the edges of both of these 2 x 4’s, spacing the center of each stud 24″ apart
The plans show detailed layouts for all walls and how to frame door and window openings. However, these plans don’t offer measurements for these openings to give you a chance to use scrounged and recycled windows and doors, which can be of any size. Or, you can buy some ready made for storage sheds at your local homestore or even on Amazon. You can hinge doors directly onto the rough frame of the shed, but attaching windows will work a little differently.
A salvaged wooden sash can be fixed permanently into the shed frame, but fixed windows like those attract and trap flies, making a buzzing, dirty mess. I suggest using another type of window. If you do, you’ll need to create a rough window frame opening large enough to accommodate the entire window unit, with an extra half-inch clearance on the sides, top and bottom for adjustment.
Building the Walls
- Separate the 2 x 4″ plates
- Space them about 8 feet apart on the floor
- Nail 92.5″long studs between them.
- Immediately after you’ve built one long wall, get some help to tilt it upright
- Use 4″ deck screws to fasten the bottom wall plate to the floor, positioning the screws so they sink into the edge of the 2 x 6″ floor frame
- Assemble and raise the other walls, adjust them so they’re plumb in the corners
- Fasten these walls with deck screws
- Add a second layer of wall plates on top of the first, overlapping across the corners.
- Complete the walls by covering the frame with sheathing.
Exterior-grade plywood siding is an easy, inexpensive choice. It includes vertical grooves for decoration and accepts any kind of paint or stain. Regardless of what you use, don’t wrestle with the complication of cutting window openings before adding sheathing. Instead, apply sheathing to the walls from the outside, covering them completely, then cut the window and door openings afterward, following the framed openings from inside using a chain saw or reciprocating saw.
If you need more details, you can visit the source of this article on MotherEarthNews.com.https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/garden-shed-plans-zm0z11zgri.aspx#axzz39Rlo0RD2
Buy or Build a Garden Shed? Which is Most Cost Effective?
To give you an idea of costs versus your time spent building a shed, here are some ready made shed costs:
For a 49 square foot shed with double doors and two fixed windows. At the 2021 price, that’s $18.73 per square foot cost.
For a 109 square foot shed with double doors and two fixed windows at 90″ W x 174″ D x 70-94″ H. The 2021 costs is around costs around $1,990 on Amazon. That’s around $18.30/SF price.
So sharpen your pencil and see which way you’ll come out best for your circumstance.
The larger home stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot can help make your job much easier and save you loads of time. You can submit your materials list to your local home store, and they can:
- Tally up your costs
- Pull your shopping list and have it ready for you to pick up
There’s no question that a DIY shed will be sturdier, last longer, hold up better to wear and tear and likely look better. We love the look of this shed in the cover image, or the idea of matching your shed paint and trim to that of your home. Those will always be more attractive than any prefab version if you have the time and patience to construct one, (or else hire someone to).
Now you just need to ascertain the value of your time plus the materials needed, included time to paint or stain and the cost of that. Then compare your interest, ability and tools on hand versus what you’d need to buy, with the costs versus time scenario and take it from there.
We’d love to see your shed pictures on the Gardens All Facebook page or via email if you build one (or already have one that you’ve built).
Check out this lovely “She Shed” that an elderly GardensAll community member had built for her.
More Storage and Garden Sheds for Ideas
Beautiful Red Garden Shed
The stone paver walkway here appears to be a concrete stone stencil to give it the cobblestone look. We love the look… just not so much the extra challenge to clean dirt and debris out of the crevasses.
Small Garden Shed – Double Doors With Windows
This shed includes a beautiful brick walkway and river stone landscape mulch surrounded by fencing and a trellis of hibiscus flowers and bushes.
Garden Shed Dreaming – Studio Shed
This is a beautiful dream shed by Summerwoods Products company in California. Often called Studio Shed, sheds like this could be an artists cottage, a meditation retreat, crafters studio, or a luxury garden shed.
A work of art, this garden shed kit is priced around $7k for a kit at ~$59/sf to $22k at ~$184/sf pre-built. The size is 120 SF in 10 ‘x 12’ dimensions. These figures are approximate, but you can get all the details and lots more images on the Summerwoods website.
However, as high as that price seems, it’s competitive. Lowe’s Home Store has an upscale garden studio kit of the same size as Summerwood’s, that costs even more at $28,200 and $235/SF and while it’s attractive, it’s not as beautiful as Summerwood’s Sonoma Garden Shed.
Garden Storage Shed Companies Near You
If you search the Internet for Garden Sheds, most of the first search results should show you companies near you so that you can check and price compare local companies. Even if you plan to build instead of buy a shed, perusing companies selling them will give you ideas for your own as well as a sense of the costs involved.
It’s worth a couple hours of research as it will likely save you time and money. You’ll gain a big picture of all that’s involved in building from scratch, versus a kit to build, or a prefab to put together, or have delivered whole.
We’d love to hear what you decide and how your project goes. If you drop us a line, please include your finished project photos and we’ll add them here with credit to you.
Garden Storage Shed Resources
The FifthRoom.com, is a reputable, well-established company for all kinds of garden sheds, gazebos, pergolas, as well as decor for home and garden. Their website makes it super easy to select the exact size and decor customizations you want. The hard part is deciding from the many options available.
This link to Lowe’s Home Store storage sheds, has videos to help guide you through each phase of construction.
She Sheds – a Room of Your Own – book on Amazon, from artist retreats to garden sheds, something for everyone.
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