Garden shed design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What exactly is a garden shed and why do I need one?

Let’s start with the real basics. A garden shed is typically a single-storey non-permanent storage building, found in the back or front garden, with a roof. Styles range from the very simple through to ornate and decorative and there are a number of different materials that they can be built from, though wood is the most common and traditional.

Which type of shed would best suit my needs?

To answer this question, we need to address the different types of shed available and what they have been designed to offer. There are four freely available shed varieties, which are:

Wood. The most well-known, wooden sheds are traditional, sturdy and easy to match to your home, with a simple coat of coloured stain. Wooden sheds tend to be the most visually attractive and given that they naturally regulate their temperature, make for perfect hobby workshops. They are also terrifically easy to build, with even large varieties arriving as a flat pack item, ready to be assembled in an afternoon. They do, however, require regular maintenance, to prevent rot. Typically, wooden sheds start at around £150.

Plastic. A definite contender, especially if you don’t care for ongoing maintenance, plastic sheds are enjoying newfound popularity. Economical to build, naturally resistant to harsh weather conditions and very neatly made, plastic sheds almost add a little doll’s house charm to your garden. Being so resistant to dirt, they are perfect as garden tool storage areas, especially lawnmowers, as grass clippings will just rise straight off. Plastic sheds range in price, but can start from as little as £200.

Metal. For a slightly more industrial flavour, metal sheds are just the ticket. Considered to be less attractive than their wooden counterparts, metal sheds do have a serious saving grace in that they are very affordable and exceptionally durable. Often arriving pre-drilled and ready for even the novice DIY enthusiast to assemble perfectly, you can easily up the aesthetic stakes by choosing a colourful powder-coat finish. Expect to pay anything from £200 upwards.

Fabric. Not as common but still very handy, fabric pop-up sheds offer you storage when you need it and free space when you don’t. Not terrifically durable, due to the lack of integrated floor, they are also at the mercy of high winds, but on a calm day, fabric sheds have some serious merit. These are best for simply protecting outdoor equipment from wet weather. You can pick up a small fabric storage shed from as little as £50.

Of course, the amount of space you have to play with and your budget will both play major roles in which style you choose as well.

What type of roof should I put on my shed?

Depending on your budget and the proposed location of your shed, you will most likely choose from one of the following shed roof styles, but if in doubt, ask a professional for advice:

Pent. This is the simplest style, which is simply a single slope that allows water to drain off the back.

Gable. The most common shed roof style, this is an elegant pitched roof that meets in the centre at the highest point and slopes down at either side, at equal angles.

Hip. These are similar to gables, but have a slope on all four sides of the roof, instead of just two. These tend to be a little more decorative and are usually reserved for designs such as summerhouses.

Gambrel. Also known as Dutch roofs, these are beautifully shaped and designed to offer maximum eaves storage.

What about prefabricated sheds? Are they good enough?

Generally speaking, prefabricated sheds - like prefab garages - can’t be customised and will arrive to you, fully built. You will still need to lay a suitable foundation pad, with a level surface, but once done, your new shed should be able to sit straight on top of it. For convenience alone, this is a terrific option and can even save you the task of painting as well, as that can be done for you too.

Are doors and windows necessary?

Obviously, you’ll need a door, at the very least, otherwise you won’t be able to get in, but the style of door you choose and if you have windows or not is absolutely up to you. If you’re planning to enjoy a hobby in your shed, you might prefer to include some windows, for good light flow, but if it is simply a storage space, you probably don’t need to incur the extra cost of glazing.

How secure can a shed be?

As a rule, you don’t want to store anything of very high value in a shed, but you can fit a rudimentary alarm system, if you’re worried. A good extra tip is to fit curtains or blinds, if you have opted for a style that has glazing included. You’ll usually find that metal sheds are the most secure, but wooden ones will offer decent security as well.