Find the right shed for you with our jargon-busting help and advice
The garden shed - a beloved staple of the British garden. This firm favourite is fantastically versatile. It can provide much-needed outdoor storage for tools, equipment and garden furniture. Take shelter in it when busy with the odd outdoor job, like planting pots or filling bird feeders, or simply enjoy it as a quiet spot to sit and relax.
But finding the right shed for your needs can seem tricky. That's where we can help. Read our guide and let us help you choose the right shed for you and your outdoor space.
Before you begin
There are a few important things to consider before buying your shed.
How big does the shed need to be?
This has a lot to do with what you’ll be using your shed for. For example, you’ll need a bigger shed for storing a large, ride-on lawnmower than you will if just keeping your bike or tools out of the way. List what you want to keep in your shed and this will help determine the appropriate size to look for, as well as if you’ll need anything else, such as shelving.
Measure the space you’ve got available in your garden. Don’t forget to take into account the opening of windows and doors, as well roof overhangs, as these will also need extra space. If you can, opt for a slightly larger shed than you think you require – it’s always better to have too much space rather than too little and it'll be certain to fill up in no time.
If you’re going to be working on large projects, a shed may not be the right choice for you. A workshop offers a bigger size, giving you loads of storage, but also room to add work surfaces.
Where will the shed go?
There are many things to consider when selecting a suitable spot for your shed. If you have a large garden, all factors could be important, but if you're more limited for space, simply ensure that the area is as safe and secure as possible. Look for an area that is:
- on level, secure ground
- as dry as possible and not likely to be affected by possible flooding
- protected from overheating
- accessible from all sides for easy maintenance
How you plan to use your shed can also affect which location you choose. Questions to ask include:
- will it be used frequently? If so, you might want to situate it near to the house especially if you have a large garden.
- will it need an electricity supply?
- will natural light be important? This might influence not only the plot you choose, but also the direction your shed will face.
Will the shed need planning permission?
Most of our garden buildings are less then 2.5metres (m) high, which means that they don’t need planning permission to be installed. Howvever, there are still a few rules to consider when shopping for a shed. They include:
- all outbuildings and garages should be single storey only and a maximum of 3m high with a pent roof and 4m high with an apex roof (for more on roof types see the 'Shed features' tab)
- any building should be placed at least 2m away from the boundary of your property
If you have any questions, contact your local council for more information. And remember to discuss any building that you’re doing with your neighbours. While you may not need planning permission, it's a courteous way to flag any loud activity you may be doing, as well as give you the chance to discuss any implications for them.
How to construct the shed
We offer two methods of building your shed - self assembly or our assembly service. If opting to build it yourself, follow the instruction manual provided and we recommend enlisting a friend to help you. More support might be needed for metal sheds due to the weight of the components and the type of fittings involved.
If building the shed yourself, head to our helpful guide for step-by-step advice.
Types of shed
The shed's construction material is the key factor in selecting your shed type. There are three materials to choose from - wood, metal and plastic.
The most traditional type of shed, as well as being the most popular in the UK, wooden sheds are durable and can be painted or stained to create the style you’re looking for. All of the timber we use is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) approved. This means that it has been responsibly sourced.
Although reasonably durable, the elements can take their toll on timber, so when buying your wooden shed look for timber that is:
Dip-treated - this timber is pre-treated with preservative to protect it against rot and decay. Re-apply throughout the life of your shed to maintain this protection.
Pressure-treated - this timber is blasted with protective treatment before its stacked and left to dry. This process offers maximum penetration and provides longer-lasting protection than dip-treating the timber alone.
All of our wooden sheds come with floors and they're offered in three different styles – also known as constructions, cladding or designs – overlap, tongue and groove and shiplap.
Overlap wooden sheds
The traditional wooden shed style, the overlap (also know as featheredge) is not only classic in style, it’s usually the most cost-effective choice. So called because its square-cut, rough slats overlap each other, this construction offers a more rustic look than other options.
Tongue and groove wooden sheds
Made from smooth, planed timber boards that are interlocking, tongue and groove sheds offer great protection from the elements, ensuring that the contents of your shed remain dry whatever the weather.
Shiplap wooden sheds
A premium type of tongue and groove construction, our shiplap range is made from extra-strong cladding. It also includes an oust at the top so that any rain runs straight off the top without damaging the joints. The panels are nailed into place, giving a superior finish and increasing the weather resistance – even in extreme conditions.
For more features, check out the Shiplap+ range. These wooden sheds boast all the benefits of a shiplap shed as well as a unique double profile that has a more efficient water run-off. This is down to the patented way in which the smooth boards are designed, providing a good-looking appearance as well as weather resistance.
A striking industrial and utilitarian style that suits contemporary gardens, metal sheds are designed to last. The metal is galvanised, protecting it from the weather, making it incredibly durable and it doesn't require re-painting so is also low maintenance. We offer them in a range of sizes and with a few different effects, including green paint and wooden cladding. Metal sheds are windowless and being so heavy, are slightly more difficult to put up than wooden or plastic options – but are solid once completed.
For an easy to install option, explore plastic sheds. These are light enough to move and manoeuvre around your garden (if you need to) and all of our models come with a floor, so everything you need will be in the box. Like metal sheds, there are a few different styles to choose from, including those that emulate the look of wood and metal. And they don't require any painting or much maintenance - though some can be painted if you'd like to add a different colour. Look for ones with windows or skylights for extra sunlight, or those with metal reinforcement for added strength.
Once you’ve decided on your preferred type of shed, it’s time to check out what other features are available to make sure it delivers exactly what you need.
Shed roofing structures
There are two different options of shed roof that you can choose from - apex or pent.
Apex roof sheds
Apex shed roofs are pointed in the middle so that rainwater runs off the sides. This design offers the most headroom when stood in the middle of your shed, but you’ll need to bend down in order to get anything around the edge of the room. With a standard apex roof, the door sits under the peak of the apex so that water flows away from the entrance (pictured).
Alternatively, opt for a reverse apex roof, where the door sits within the side wall. This style provides space for double door access.
Look out for Dutch apex roofs (also known as Dutch barn roofs), these offer greater height and more headroom – ideal if you’re tall or are storing tall items. It can be more difficult to assemble and felt the roof due to the extra height, so be sure to get a friend to help.
Pent roof sheds
Pent roofs feature a flat roof with one side slightly lower than the other in order to drain away rainwater. With one side of the roof taller than the other, think about whether you'd prefer the height on entering the door or towards the back of the shed.
For extra headroom, consider a curved pent roof. This is one of the newest designs, giving your shed a contemporary look. The roof hangs over the sides of the shed slightly, providing your doors and/or windows with extra protection from the elements. This is something to consider if your shed is going to be very exposed, such as on an allotment.
Shed roofing felt
Felt is the classic roof covering for wooden sheds and comes in two main varieties - sand and mineral felt.
Sand felt offers strong protection from water penetration.
Alternatively, opt for mineral felt. This is the more durable option, which also has a more attractive finish.
When shopping for a wooden shed, there are two flooring options available:
Orientated Strand Board (OSB) - this is an engineered wood flooring made from compressed layers of wood strands stuck together
Tongue and groove flooring (pictured) - this is the stronger option. Made from separate wooden boards that are designed to interlock, this is better-suited if you're storing heavy items.
Consider your shed's access options with two types of shed door - single and double doors.
Single doors might be more suitable if you're storing smaller items. But do be sure to check how much space you need to open the door fully before you buy.
Double doors (pictured) make life easier if you have large items to store. They offer convenient access to your shed if you have a big lawnmower or maybe want to put bulkier children’s toys away.
When deciding if you'd like a shed with windows, the most important factor is how you're planning to use your shed space.
If your shed is going to be used mainly for storage, no windows is the best option for security as any potential intruder will be unable to assess what you have in there.
Alternatively, if you’re going to be spending any time in your shed – while you do some gardening or DIY projects – windows will help let in more natural light than just having the door open. They also offer a nice view of your garden (depending on the position of your shed).
Windows are available in two varieties - opening and fixed.
Opening windows provide more ventilation - ideal if you’re going to be growing any plants inside. While if that's not a consideration, a fixed window might suit you fine.
Our shed windows come in two different glazing types - styrene and polycarbonate. Styrene is the established, traditional option that's great for shoppers on a budget. Polycarbonate is a new innovation that doesn't discolour or yellow over time, and is virtually unbreakable making it the perfect choice for gardens where children play. The glazing is also fitted with security screws to provide another extra layer of protection.
You might need
With your shed chosen, there a few other things you might want to complete your shed project.
Whatever type of shed you opt for, it will need a base before it can be put up. Some sheds come with a base included, but if this isn't the case you’ll need something sturdy, secure and level to sit between your new shed and the ground.
We recommend that you don't erect your shed straight onto grass, soil or loose gravel as these will not protect your shed from becoming waterlogged in bad weather. It will weaken your structure if not on level ground, and any professional installation team hired to install your new shed will not do so if a suitable base isn't already laid.
There are four main shed base options. These are:
Wooden frame shed base - these bases consist of a timber frame that lifts your shed off the ground and come with spikes that secure it with the least amount of effort. This means that, should you need to, you can move the shed at a later date.
Plastic shed base (pictured) - a non-secured option, a plastic base can be laid anywhere (as long as the ground is level) making it the perfect choice if you’re living in rented accommodation – simply take it with you when you move house.
Paving shed base - this base is ideal if you have any spare slabs or bricks from another paving project. We recommend the Peak smooth paving range.
Concrete shed base - if you’re looking for a permanent and tough option, choose a concrete shed base. Lay just the right amount of concrete for whatever size shed you go for.
For more help on laying a shed base, head to our helpful how to guide.
Tools, equipment and bikes are all expensive to replace so shed security is definitely something to be taken seriously. Every shed comes with a turn button or butterfly latch, but these on their own are pretty ineffective against thieves, so add a padlock or latch with a key for extra protection if not provided.
If your shed is near your home, the siren of a shed alarm will help alert you to an intruder’s presence. While a movement sensor security light attached to the outside of your shed will help deter opportunists.
The British weather makes waterproofing your shed an absolute essential to ensure it looks good for as long as possible. Unfinished wooden sheds are the most in need of thorough and immediate care. Apply an exterior wood paint, stain or treatment to protect your shed from the elements, and why not choose a fun, bright shade to add a finishing touch to your garden?
Keep everything neat and tidy in your brand new shed with storage and shelving. We offer a diverse range of plastic box storage solutions offering a variety of sizes, colours and features. And look out for our Ultra Tough selection - ideal for heavy duty shed storage. Stack your plastic boxes on top of each other or opt for a shelving unit.