Building a Garden Shed

Garden Sheds and Utility Storage Sheds Can Liberate Your Garage

By Mark J. Donovan

Building a garden shed or storage shed is a great way to free up space in your garage. After owning a home for several years, inevitably your garage winds up with a collection of lawn and garden tools, lawnmowers, bicycles and various bags of potting soil and fertilizer strewn all over the corners of the garage floor. Building a garden shed can resolve this cluttered garage situation. Nothing can be more frustrating than having to weave and dodge these various yard and garden items in your garage to get to your car. Unfortunately in many cases, the garage clutter can often get so bad that your car winds up having to live on the street.

If you are experiencing this type of garage problem, then it is time to think about buying a garden shed plan and pulling out the construction tools.

Make sure when selecting a garden shed plan that you find one big enough for all your lawn and garden storage needs. Frequently homeowners end up realizing after the fact that they built a garden shed that was insufficiently sized.

Pull a Permit when Building a Garden Shed

Building a garden shed or storage shed is akin to building a small home. Once you have a set of garden shed plans, and have picked a location for it, visit your local building inspector to approve the construction of it and issue you a building permit. You don’t want to start construction without a permit in place. Otherwise you may wind up with a cease and desist letter or phone call from the town after you’re halfway through its construction. Even worse, the town may go further and tell you to tear it down.

Here is a garden shed my father built

Garden Shed Foundation

It is important to make sure that you build a garden shed on a solid foundation. Fortunately the foundation associated with building a garden shed can usually be limited to 4 corner concrete footing pads with a large flat cement block fastened to the top of each footing pad. It is important, however, to make sure the footings are dug below the frost line for your region.

Building Garden Shed

When building a garden shed you have to remember that it will sit fairly close to the ground, e.g. less than a foot in most cases.

Consequently, it is important to use Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) treated lumber, both for the floor framing and deck sheathing. ACQ treated lumber is both rot and insect resistant. Also, make sure to place a vapor barrier over the garden shed floor joists just before installing the plywood floor. Adding a moisture barrier at this level can help to reduce moisture from seeping up into the garden shed and causing tools and equipment to rust. In addition, make sure to use ¾ inch thick plywood sheathing on the floor to create a strong garden shed floor.


After building the garden shed foundation and floor, the rest of the construction is similar to any other type of residential construction. Frame each wall on the garden shed deck and then stand it up into place. Use temporary bracing to hold each wall in place until the other walls are framed and stood into place.

After framing the walls, you can then move on to the roof construction. With a shed you can usually get away with a lower pitched roof, and possibly even 24 inch rafter spacing. When pulling your permit the local building code enforcement officer will let you know what type of frame spacing is acceptable for your municipality for garden shed construction.

Once the roof is on, you can then button the garden shed up by installing the windows and door, and shingling the roof.

Final Thoughts on Building a Garden Shed

I highly recommend when building a garden shed to construct a wide and sturdy door. You may possibly even want to consider a garage door if the garden shed is big enough.

Whichever door approach you decide upon, just make sure it is wide enough to comfortably drive a sit down lawnmower into it.

I also suggest including a skylight or two when building a garden shed. Without electricity garden storage sheds can be dark and uninviting. Letting in natural sunlight via one or two skylights is a great solution for brightening up the inside of a garden shed.

For more help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home building project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home construction building costs.

Related Information

Additional Shed Design Resources

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