Shed buying guide
Store garden tools and more in your new shed
The garden shed - a firm favourite in British gardens. Sheds are brilliantly versatile. Use as a tool shed to protect equipment and tools; as a potting shed to plant up pots and grow seeds; or as an extra room for quiet relaxation. They offer great storage space for bulky items like garden furniture and bicycles and can be your hobby hide-out when there’s no more space in the house.
But finding the right shed for your needs can seem tricky. That's where we can help. Our guide is here to help you choose the best shed for you and your outdoor space.
There are a few important things to consider before buying your new shed.
What will the shed be used for?
Understanding how you plan to use the shed can help you choose the right one for your needs. Of course, you can use it for many things, and these might change over time. It’s this flexibility that make sheds a top choice.
But you may have just one job in mind, and if so, there could be an alternative that’s better suited to your needs than a shed. Here are a few of the most common uses for sheds and some suggestions.
If using the shed for:
- Storage - some sheds have several storage compartments to help use your space more efficiently. Alternatively, why not explore our range of garden storage? It includes options specially designed for securely storing bikes, outdoor bins, logs and more. Some even double up as garden benches and they come in all shapes and sizes.
- Outdoor living – if you fancy an extra garden room, take a look at our summerhouses and garden cabins. These offer greater comfort and more windows to really sit back and enjoy your garden.
- Growing plants – consider a greenhouse. These allow you to extend the growing season and offer a climate that nurtures delicate, exotic plants.
- Work or hobbies – busy with craft, DIY or work-related projects? A shed might not offer enough space. Being bigger, a workshop or garage offers loads of storage, but also room to add work surfaces.
How big does the shed have to be?
This has a lot to do with what you’ll be using your shed for. For instance, 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. So, think about the shed’s size in relation to what you’ll be doing in it.
Measure the space you’ve got available in your garden. Don’t forget to consider 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.
Where will the shed go?
There are lots of things to think about 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
- away from overhanging trees - locating it underneath a tree will put it a risk from falling branches. And in autumn, you’ll need to clear fallen leaves from it to prevent them rotting and marking the roof.
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?
Planning permission isn’t usually needed for garden sheds. For more information on the up-to-date legislation, check the Government’s Planning Portal website.
Who will build the shed?
We offer two methods for building your shed - self-assembly or our assembly service.
If building it yourself, follow the instruction manual provided and enlist 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. Head to our helpful guide for step-by-step advice on building a wooden shed.
Alternatively, professional installation is offered on many of our wooden sheds. Check out the product pages for more details.
There are three construction materials to choose from. These are:
The most classic type of shed, these are also the most popular in the UK. Wooden sheds can easily be customised for that personal touch – inside with shelving and outside with colourful paints and stains.
All the timber used to build our sheds 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 preservative 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.
Wooden sheds are offered in different designs (also known as constructions or cladding). These are: overlap, shiplap and tongue and groove.
Overlap wooden sheds
The overlap style is the most traditional and cost-effective choice. So-called because its timber slats are placed atop one another, each one overlapping the next to create a panel. The slats are usually rough sawn for a rustic look. Ideal if you don’t need much protection from the elements.
Shiplap wooden sheds
Shiplap cladding is a type of tongue and groove, but there's an added profile to each board which aids water run-off. Our shiplap cladding is made from smooth-planed boards with a finished cut thickness of 12millimetres (mm), and made into panels, giving a superior finish and improved weather resistance.
Tongue and groove wooden sheds
Made from interlocking boards, tongue and groove sheds offer great protection from the elements. This ensures that the contents of your shed remain dry whatever the weather. The boards are precision cut for easier self-assembly and are offered in a range of thicknesses.
For something a bit different, look out for loglap or vertical cladding. The loglap design features boards with a curved finish, rather than the traditional flat, to replicate the look of chopped logs. While vertical cladding sees the boards run from top to bottom, not left to right.
A striking industrial and utilitarian style that suits modern gardens, metal sheds are designed to last. The steel is galvanised, protecting it from the weather, making it incredibly durable. It also doesn't require re-painting so is low-maintenance.
We offer metal sheds in a range of sizes and designs, including wood-effect cladding.
As metal sheds are heavier than other materials, they’re slightly more difficult to put up, 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 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.
Like metal sheds, plastic options are very low-maintenance. They’re resistant to stains and rot and don’t require painting (though some can be 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.
Alternatively, combine the best of plastic and metal with our portable ShelterLogic sheds. These are made from a robust steel frame covered in a water-resistant plastic. They’re simple to put up and offer a solution that can be temporary or permanent – great as a shed, shelter for the car or caravan or garage.
Once you’ve decided on your shed’s material, it’s time to check out what other features are available.
Shed roof designs
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 may need to bend down to get anything around the edge of the room.
With a standard apex roof (pictured), the door sits under the peak of the apex so that water flows away from the entrance. While a reverse apex roof, situates the door 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 roofs have a two-section slope, offering greater height and more headroom – ideal if you’re tall or are storing tall items.
These 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 lower than the other 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 ideal if your shed’s going to be very exposed, such as on an allotment.
Consider your shed's access options with two types of shed door - single and double doors.
Single doors are 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 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.
Opt for doors that are ledged and braced with a double "Z" frame (pictured) for extra strength and sturdiness. And don’t forget the door’s hinges and screws. Concealed hinges (also known as invisible hinges) are built onto the inside of the door to keep them hidden from view – excellent for security. As are security screws – screws that can be screwed in, but not out.
When deciding if you'd like a shed with windows, consider how you'll use your shed.
If your shed is going to be mainly for storage, no windows is the best option as any potential intruder won’t be able to assess what you have in there. Alternatively, if you’re going to be spending any time in your shed – gardening, working or relaxing – 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 (pictured). Opening windows provide more ventilation - ideal if you’re going to be growing any plants inside. If that's not a consideration, a fixed window might suit you fine.
Our shed windows come in four different glazing types – polystyrene, acrylic, polycarbonate and glass.
- Polystyrene - the established, traditional option that's great for shoppers on a budget.
- Acrylic - a solid budget option, acrylic glazing is easy to maintain, requiring just a little soap and water. Any dullness in appearance can be banished with a quick polish, though it's not as flexible as polycarbonate and so can chip easily.
- Polycarbonate - 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.
- Glass – this glazing is offered in two types – ‘standard’ glass and toughened safety glass (TSG). TSG is more resilient to impacts and if broken, shatters into tiny pieces rather than shards for safety. It’s provided in low-set shed windows where there’s a greater risk of breakage from children or lawnmowers.
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 - 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. This is an optional extra for our Tongue and Groove sheds.
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:
For more help on laying a shed base, head to our helpful how to guide.
- Wooden frame shed base - these bases consist of a timber frame that lifts your shed off the ground.
- 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.
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 new shed with storage and shelving. We offer a diverse range of utility storage, from shelving units in wood, metal and plastic, to portable crates, trunks and boxes. And if you’re looking to snap up a metal shed, check out our selection of clever wall-mounted options that includes tool hooks, bike hangers, shelves, baskets and more. They can be easily fitted to the inside of your metal shed to help keep your shed organised and tidy.