What Type of Shed Should You Buy?

By  Enda McLarnon

If you are thinking about buying the best shed for your garden or back yard, this article will truly help you out. There are quite a few things to consider before you part with your hard earned money.

We can certainly offer you a few pointers to keep you on the right track.

There are a number of things to consider before making your final decision. We have included all of the very important ones in our shed buying guide down below. Hopefully you will find it very useful.

We have also included a table of contents just below if you want to look at a particular section. We would however recommend reading the full guide if you have the time.

1. Which Material Is Best for a Shed?

This is normally the first big decision that you will have to make. It is clearly a very important one as well. For many people this will come down to the appearance that you want to have around your home.

It will also come down to the price you are willing to pay. You have really got three choices and each has their pros and cons:

  • Wood - the most traditional type and usually the cheapest
  • Metal - the most expensive but they need minimal maintenance and are pretty secure. They are hard to assemble though and their appearance is not that nice looking in your garden or yard.
  • Hard Plastic - Easy to assemble, maintenance free, portable if you move home but not everyone will like their appearance.

You can see a sample of each in the images below

Traditional Wooden Garden Shed

6x4 Overlap Wooden Apex Garden Shed

Metal Garden Shed

6x4 Overlap Wooden Apex Garden Shed

Plastic Garden Shed

best plastic garden shed

Wooden Sheds General Information

If you look around the back gardens in the UK, you will see any number of shed styles. Some look like shacks and others look like mini palaces.

The vast majority of these are made from wood. Different styles of these exist and range from overlap to board style.

The wood used makes a huge difference to the price.

Cedar wood will be the most expensive but offers the most resistance to rot. Cheaper woods such as fir or redwood are more commonly used, and these do rot over time.

6x4 Overlap Wooden Apex Garden Shed

A 6 x 4 overlap wooden shed costs around £200 and an 8 x 6 overlap wooden shed costs around £225-250. For something like a 10 x 6 feet shed you should expect to spend around £400.

The length of time they take to rot depends on the climate you live in, and how much maintenance you are prepared to do. The typical life span is around 10-15 years and not as long if you live near the coast.

Wooden sheds come in different styles with the most popular being the apex overlap as shown in the image. One of the best things about a wooden shed is that they are very easy to personalise inside. Adding hooks, shelves and a workbench are very easy. You can also paint wooden sheds and that can make them look very unique.

Metal Sheds General Information

These are popular with some people for two main reasons.

Once assembled the maintenance is super simple. They need very little work to keep them in good shape, and they are very strong and sturdy.

The big draw back with metal sheds is of course the price. Well that used to be the case, but prices have really changed on these in the past 10 years.

6x4 Overlap Wooden Apex Garden Shed

A small metal shed around 6 x 4 feet will cost about £150, and a larger 10 x 8 feet will set you back around £300. The larger sheds cost around £500.

They are really easy to secure, and if you have expensive gardening tools, they are a very good choice for that. The two things people do not like about them is that they are hard to put together, and not that appealing to the eye. That said they have greatly improved over the years. Some of the green ones now fit in with the garden rather well. They are also lightweight, and as such, are now a great deal easier to assemble.

In terms of storage these work well. If you are planning to use this as a workshop, then metal sheds offer different challenges. Wooden sheds are easy to work with when it comes to fitting them out with benches, shelves etc. Metal sheds do allow you to have the same features, but attaching shelves etc is a whole lot different.

Plastic Sheds General Information

Last but not least comes the plastic shed. Like the metal ones, these do not need maintenance, or very little is required. They can quickly be cleaned with a power washer, and that makes life a great deal easier.

These are very easy to assemble. One big selling point for these is that should you move home, these are very easy to dismantle and then re-assemble in your new home.

The disadvantage for many is the look. With these you are moving away from the traditional garden shed to a much more contemporary style. I do like them a lot for many reasons, but many friends think they look too much like children's play houses. I have to say that I disagree and I think they look rather well.

best plastic garden shed

Like the metal ones, these are very good for storage, and they are easy to keep clean as well. Attaching shelves etc to plastic again require a different method to the more simple wooden construction.

So there you have the three very distinct materials for your garden shed. That is a good thing to keep in mind as we explore what other issues you need to consider.

Garden Shed Buying Tips

Size of Your Garden Shed - Size Does Matter

You can buy sheds in a whole variety of sizes. It all depends what you want to do with your shed. If it is just to store a few items, then a smaller shed will be suffice. If however you have bigger items to store such as lawnmowers, kid's bikes etc, then you will need to scale up.

Many men also want to turn their shed into a workshop with a workshop or a bench. For that you will need at least a 8 x 6 feet shed.

Some guys also want to turn it into a man shed - for those not familiar with that concept, it is a place to hide from the maddening world. Our advice is always to buy a bigger shed than you think you need.

Trust use, we have seen people buying small sheds, and they are filled to capacity very quickly. Just think if you have a toddler, then think bikes, cars, sand pits etc and you will understand.

What Shed Sizes Are Available?

There are many so we have listed the most popular below. All measurements are in feet:

  • 4 x 3
  • 5 x 3
  • 5 x 4
  • 6 x 3
  • 6 x 4
  • 6 x 6
  • 7 x 3
  • 8 x 6
  • 8 x 8
  • 10 x 6
  • 10 x 8
  • 11 x 8
  • 12 x 6
  • 12 x 8
  • 14 x 7
  • 14 x 10
  • 15 x 11

To help make it easier for you the smaller sheds are used for basic tool storage such as the 5 x 4 and the 6 x 4. For a decent size shed, the 8 x 6 and the 10 x 6 are the most popular choices. For someone who wants a bigger shed then the 12 x 8 is by a long way the best choice.

Shed Location

This is often forgotten about and can be a costly mistake. When you are buying a shed you need to think of its location. Where is it going to sit in your garden or yard? There are a number of things to consider when deciding on this. We have listed these below:

  • Will you want to be able to have electricity inside the shed? If so you will need to work out a way of doing that without causing massive disruption to your garden or yard. Typically electric is run to a shed using an armoured cable buried under the ground. That usually means tracking and digging a trench and then connecting the cable to the mains using its own distribution box. All of this is an expense. I would simply have to have power in my shed to run power tools, lighting and for some other basics.
  • Will you want a water tap or sink in your shed? - Most people will not need this but it can be very handy. It is really useful if you plan on working out there a lot. I happen to like my coffee so I added a water supply. It is also handy for a quick wash up before coming into the house. It isn't a big deal, but if you want it, then you need to plan how that can get connected.
  • Trees and Hedges - Avoid placing your shed either under trees or close to a hedge. That will stop the shed getting covered in green moss and piles of leaves. It will also make cutting your hedge a lot easier.
  • Level Ground - Your shed will need a good foundation and a level base. You want to have your shed flat and level and that means a level foundation. Many gardens have small slopes and I would advise keeping digging to a minimum.
  • Think Lighting - Do you need your shed to have some natural lighting? With the famous UK weather, and the dark winter months, natural light is important. Make sure your shed has at least one window and is not located permanently out of natural light. I would also recommend installing some type of internal light be that only battery powered lights. They are always better than nothing.

Accessing the Shed

This is almost always forgotten about. Think doors and think do you need just one door or two? Also think about the height of the door otherwise you will be stooping a lot and banging your head even more.

Most metal sheds use sliding doors so just be aware of that. Single doors are typically 3 feet or less wide and not ideal for storing larger items.

How often will you need to access your shed? Locating your shed a long way from the house is not always the best idea if you are going to be in and out of it a lot.

It is even worse if there is wet grass to deal with or muddy patches. The other thing worth considering is how the bottom of the door should be. A ramp is sometimes a good idea to help get things up like cycles, wheelbarrows and lawnmowers.

Using the Shed

Sometimes it is hard to know what the shed will actually be used for. Initially people buy sheds for an immediate need. Perhaps the wife is fed up with your tools laying around the house. Maybe you have both had enough with the kid's bikes being abandoned in the back yard. Perhaps your gardening tools are getting ruined sitting about in the back yard.

We all buy sheds for different reasons. I know one guy who bought a small storage shed to hold some deck chairs and a few bits and pieces for his barbeque. In a week he couldn't move inside it because it became storage for just about everything. Quickly it was packed with kid's toys, a few spades and tools and paint. It is amazing how quickly they can fill up. My advice is to get something like an 8 x 6 if you have the room.

Clearly those with smaller gardens or yards will have to buy something smaller. However, buy the biggest that you can, as it will always be useful.

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