The humble garden shed: have you ever given it much thought?
We’ve all seen the news stories about shed trends; She Sheds, Man Caves, Eco Sheds, Shed of the Year, even Pub Sheds. Trendy sheds are definitely fun, and a great way to showcase your individual style, but the vast majority of us have a shed that is, well, normal. A practical, functional outdoor building, where we can securely store the things that we don’t want to keep in the house or on display in the garden.
They may be simple in their function, but if you don’t choose the right shed for your garden and your storage needs, things start to get complicated. A shed is an expensive element of your garden, and it makes sense to get it right first time. If you’re looking to add a shed to your garden or replace an old one, here are some tips on what to consider before you buy.
What are you using it for: this is the first question to ask, as it will influence everything else. Be realistic about what you are going to use the shed for. Is it for general storage of things like bikes and DIY or garden equipment? Or do you have a more specific use in mind, for example a potting shed or workshop? Perhaps you want your shed to work as an extra room, like a summerhouse or retreat. Once you know what it’s for, you can draw up a list of features that will suit it’s use; for example, a shed that stores bikes needs to be long enough to fit them in!
Size: once you know what you’re going to keep in your shed, you can estimate how big it needs to be. Don’t buy a small shed just because they are cheaper; if you need more space you’ll just end up replacing it. If you have the space, it’s worth buying a slightly bigger shed than you need; we all know they fill up rather easily, don’t we?! What Shed? have produced some really useful league tables on the best small sheds and large sheds, to help you narrow down your choices.
Location: this is heavily influenced by what you use the shed for. If you’re going to be using it most days it makes sense to position it where you can access it quickly and easily, and via a path if possible. For lighter use it’s worth considering a garden area that is currently unused (for example a shady patch where it’s tricky to grow plants), or overlooked. Make sure you measure the space and compare it to your ideal shed size; it sounds obvious, but it’s this kind of oversight that can ruin your plans!
Security: any outdoor storage should offer a level of security to deter theft and vandalism. How much security your shed needs to offer is dictated by it’s contents, and how secure your garden itself is. If you’re storing valuable items it’s sensible to choose a shed with a rim lock or a lockable padlock bolt, these are both much more secure than a standard padlock. And don’t advertise your valuables; avoid a shed with windows if you’re going to fill it with expensive bikes and power tools.
Materials: sheds tend to be either wooden or metal, both of which are a durable, secure option. Standard wooden sheds will need regular maintenance with a waterproofing stain or treatment to keep them in good condition. Metal sheds don’t require much maintenance, but can rust if damaged. If you’re interested in a cost-effective, low-maintenance option, you could go for a plastic shed. These tend to be more lightweight and less secure, but they can be moved around more easily if you decide to change your garden layout.
A feature, or blending in? You may want to hide your shed as much as possible, to allow the rest of your garden to take centre stage. This can be done very effectively by painting the shed in a shade of green that blends in with the garden, or creating a false boundary with trellis. Or you could make your shed the star of the show. Bright paint, wall baskets, climbing plants, lighting and even a green roof will all work wonders to transform a plain shed into the focal point of your garden.
Choosing the right shed for your garden can be daunting, but by taking some time to consider these areas you’ll be able to find the perfect option to suit both your garden’s style and your storage needs. When you know what the right shed for you looks like, head over to What Shed. They’ve done the hard work for you by gathering professional reviews and consumer feedback into one handy resource, making your job of finding the perfect shed so much easier.
What are your tips for choosing the right shed?