8 Easy Steps to Build an Outdoor Storage Shed for Garden

Why Build a Garden Storage Shed?

A shed is a simple, single-story roofed structure used as a workshop area, for storage, or for hobbies. It comes in many sizes, shapes, colors and styles and they are usually located in a back garden or on an allotment.

Sheds are particularly a great storage option for homeowners with a lawn but no garage, where they can keep equipment and supplies to tend after the lawn.

A well-organized garden shed is necessary for keen gardeners to keep their tools, seeds, and fertilizers away from weather fluctuations, from the risk of damage or theft, and save their homes from getting dirty by them.

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Sheds can also be used as a personal space or as the ultimate man-cave where you can luxuriate and get rid of daily stress.

Building a shed heavily depends on the kind of activities you plan to use it for. A shed that is used as a working space would need electricity ran through it, which will probably require a permit from your local authorities.

One that is used to plant seeds would require many windows and enough exposure to natural light. One that is strictly for storage would need room for all the necessities such as shelves and drawers.

This article will focus on this last category, as we will list the steps needed to build a solid garden shed from scratch.

The Average Cost to Build a Garden Storage Shed

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Buying a pre-fabricated garden shed will save you a lot of work, time, and effort, but it will be cheaper for sure to build your shed yourself, as you will only have to pay for the tools and materials.

In addition to being cost-efficient, building your own shed will allow you to work according to your own schedule.

In most cases, this means you will finish your shed faster than when you hire a professional to build it for you, as many contractors juggle many projects at the same time and not fully dedicate their time to one.

You will also have maximum control over its design and you will be able to build a shed that serves your exact needs.

Hiring a contractor can cost you up to $3000 when you consider the materials needed, labor, and additional costs. On the other hand, building a shed yourself can only cost you about one-sixth of that price.

You may need to invest more money after completing your project depending on the sort of final additions you would like to add inside.

It is important to note that you may need to hire a professional at a certain point to guarantee your project is done appropriately.

Hiring a concrete contractor especially, guarantees you have a solid foundation even if it will cost about $1,000. 

Let’s Start

Dimensions & Location

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Before you start building your shed, you may want to check with your local authorities, as there may be certain laws or restrictions that apply to your project. The common dimensions for a prefabricated storage shed are usually 10’x12′ or 120 square feet.

For the purpose of this article, we will explain how a simple yet solid shed with these dimensions can be constructed.

When you start elaborating on the shed plans, consider the purpose that the shed will serve. This will help you decide on the suitable dimensions and location of your project.

If your shed serves for storing devices, it would be challenging to walk to the end of the garden to get your blower and free your driveway of snow in the winter.

There are also a few things to take into consideration before building your shed. Your shed should not be built beneath low hanging branches so you avoid any damage in storms, better cut the branches first.

Keep an eye for places that gather a pool of water when it rains. Do not place your shed too close to any walls or fences, as there may be a slight overhang on the roof of the garden building.

Materials and Tools That You Will Need

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When talking about the structure, many sheds are actually just a miniature version of a house or a barn. The foundation is the first one that will be built, then the sidewalls and roof are constructed and installed, after that the windows and doors are added.

Paint is applied when complete. For doors and windows, you can choose to make them or buy them. The foundation should be provided with cement so it can be solid.

Wood will be the chosen material for this project since it is aesthetically pleasing despite it being more expensive. You can choose the tools you would like to use depending on the type of shed you’d like to have.

If you are new into the DIY building world, you may want to do some research and purchase basic building tools and equipment first. You may want to add shelves and maybe a table inside so account for that beforehand.

Floor Building

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Wooden sheds need strong and sturdy foundations, which can be difficult to build on your own. Without the right base, your building will be very challenging to assemble, which may cause the shed to deteriorate in the future.

Because of this, doors may become harder to operate and water could start to leak in. Hence, we recommend you use a reputable local builder to construct a professional base, one that is flat, level, and made of durable material such as concrete or paving slabs.

If you feel confident you can build it on your own, it is only fitting you try your best with the following instructions.

After choosing and marking the area to construct your base, remove any vegetation and start by laying approximately 3” of firmly compacted scalping or brick rubble.

Add compacted sand to act as a sound foundation and level with a rake to remove any residues. Use measured and fitted timber rails to shape the base, then a tape measure, spirit level, and tri-square to make sure is completely squared and level. 

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Next, you will need to lay 3” of concrete and spread it evenly into the shuttering while pushing it into the corners and edges. Ideally, lay the concrete one layer at a time and compact it until the shuttering frame is complete, then smooth it with a wooden or plastic float.

Allow the concrete to dry naturally by covering it with sheets. Please note that the concrete should not be allowed to dry out too quickly so you may need to spray it with water when needed. Once dry and firm, you need a base that you can nail the frames for the walls into. For this, you need four 2×8’s and some bent i-bolts along with a lot of mortar.

Construction of Sidewalls

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To construct your walls, you will need to build a good framework first. The front wall should match the back wall except taller and with a doorframe. This is where you will be able to hang your door when the shed is done.

Ideally, your lumber has to be in the size of 2×4’s pieces. Once cut to the appropriate length, the 2×4’s should be spaced apart 2 feet from each other. Attach the pieces permanently by a framing hammer.

When finishing each frame, lean it against the wall of your house until all the frames are ready for assembly. Now, nail the four walls together then attach them into the 2×8’previously fixed to the foundation.

Roof and Siding

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After the four sides are screwed together, we add the roof. You may prefer to build the roof upside down on the platform to avoid extensive ladder work.

You can easily nail the soffit material to the overhangs warding off work cramped and overhead.

Plan the structure of your roof in advance to make it waterproof, you will need to use roof trusses to support the plywood and shingles.

To give your shed an awning, you will need to accompany it with trusses, which help overhang the walls of the shed by a foot on each side.

Use joist plates when constructing your joists, otherwise, your angles will not remain true for long. Use a 2×4 to support the joists while attaching them to the walls.

Note that you will probably need extra help when holding the roof structure until it can be attached to the walls. You may also want to regularly check overhanging foliage so no rubbing on the garden roof compromises your roof or shed.

Next, you will need to cover the walls and give them a more finished look. Use siding, textured plywood, or anything else to make the shed aesthetically pleasing.

You can also put white trim on the edges to make them more pronounced as well.

Door, Windows, and Shelves

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For storage purposes, your door opening should be larger than 30″ to 33″ wide especially if you’re trying to admit large machines like a garden cart or a tractor. A standard house door height is 6′ 8”, which is one that will not knock your hat off.

For the door, windows, and shelves; you can invest more time making them, or buy them pre-fabricated, it is up to you!

Choose these additions in the desire material and dimensions or make them from scratch.

For the window, cut an opening in the wall you want it in; make sure your window frame matches the cut surface.

Insert it in and drill it in. Add a piece of flashing to the bottom of the window to prevent accumulated water.

For the shelves, you can use leftover lumber instead of buying everything brand new.

You can easily build money-saving shelves that have the capacity to hold heavy and bulky items.

Painting the Floor and Walls

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Now we have reached the easiest part and probably the most fun of the project. To paint your shed, all you need is a good exterior paint that is durable, covers easily, guarantees resistance to mildew, and be fade resistant. When choosing a suitable color, make sure that it complements the surroundings of your shed and accents your garden. Next, you need one brush and a step stool.

Apply a layer of oil-based primer and then you apply your paint to the walls and floor. One tool that will make your job easier is a fabric paint roller, as you will be surprised at how fast and satisfying the rolling of the paint on your surfaces can be.

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