buying a garden/storage shed for the yard
May 31, 2010 7:30 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a house with a small yard, and I am planning to get a garden shed for my yard maintenence and gardening tools. This seems like a basic thing to do, but before I spend $300-500 on a shed (or can I spend less?), what should I know?

Here's what I'm planning to put in it:

1) A shed big enough to squeeze in a bike or two
2) Mower, trimmer, and shovels/tools:
3) Other miscellenaous stuff for the outdoors.

It doesn't need to be huge. Home Depot seems to have some decent sized sheds, but the most basic starts at $499 or so (and includes delivery and installation).

Basic security is fine - just a regular padlock would work.

I would need someone to deliver and set it up - I think building one myself might be a little too much at this point. Also, is there a place where I could be looking for a cheaper (but durable) shed?
posted by waylaid to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you live in weather where there is snow, avoid the cheap sheds with sliding doors.

And a good rule of thumb: get one that is 150% of your anticipated needs in terms of size. Your needs will always grow.
posted by megatherium at 7:34 PM on May 31, 2010

Best answer: All I can say is what, probably, many others will say. Whatever size you think will be fine is probably going to be too small in short order, and you'll wish you had bigger. That doesn't mean you can't make do, because you will somehow (you always do, somehow), but you'll be imagining just a little more space for that hose reel or jack stands or whatever.

You might think of looking for a used one, though, to get a better deal—and avoid unnecessary resource usage.
posted by Red Loop at 7:39 PM on May 31, 2010

Oh, yes. Someone did say it, looky there!
posted by Red Loop at 7:39 PM on May 31, 2010

I'm going to add on to megatherium's weather warning: if you live where there may be high wind, be sure the roof and sides are securely anchored. These things tend to want to get airborn.
posted by netbros at 7:42 PM on May 31, 2010

Make sure you don't need a permit or some sort of town approval before you put it up and your neighbor demands you take it down.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2010

Best answer: Two things a friend of mine figured out:
1) put it on a pad. Form out an area 3" bigger all the way around, make a 4" thick pad. In the long run, less rot at the base.
2) if you can run electric to it, even just a single, 20A outlet, you'll be glad you did.

Something else to do even if you have it assembled by others: Slap a couple diagonal braces on all the non-door sides. Use a 1x6, cut to fit, tack it to each stud twice. Trust me on this - it will make the structure feel SO much sturdier.
posted by notsnot at 8:27 PM on May 31, 2010

A good application of caulk and a coat of paint, assuming it's not metal, will greatly improve it's longevity.
posted by docpops at 8:31 PM on May 31, 2010

Check with your jurisdiction's zoning. In mine, structures over a certain height cannot be within a certain distance of the property line. It sounds like yours will be small enough to not be an issue, but it can't hurt you to check.
posted by crunchland at 8:40 PM on May 31, 2010

Response by poster: Great advice so far! Any thoughts on average (or reasonable) cost?
posted by waylaid at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2010

Rubbermaid makes some nice sheds. The Big Max is 8x8, the Big Max Ultra is 10x8. They are a little pricey, $600 and $900, but will last forever. They come with a floor which on most of the Home Depot sheds is extra.

In the town I live in, there are zoning and tax regulations regarding sheds, definitely check with them first.

I've seen these listed on Craigslist.
posted by Marky at 9:06 PM on May 31, 2010

Aside from zoning, check with your HOA rules if you're in one. For example, IIRC my zoning rules would merely require a few feet between a shed and the backyard fence, but my HOA rules go so far as to require a stylistic match between the roofing+siding on the shed and the main house.
posted by roystgnr at 9:18 PM on May 31, 2010

To follow up on other comments--yes, go a litle bigger than you think. I recently built a shed to house a mower, yard things, 3 bikes, etc. It is 8 by 10 feet. Everything fits, but I do wish it was a few feet bigger, say 10 by 12.
posted by murrey at 4:07 AM on June 1, 2010

Some jurisdictions distinguish between a permanent structure and a temporary one, usually by how/whether it is tied to the ground, eg., on a foundation vs. on some kind of piers. They may permit one but not the other, tax them differently, and require a building permit or not. Inquire, to prevent rude surprises.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 5:30 AM on June 1, 2010

My brother-in-law did this.
Had to disassemble and remove the shed AND the pad because the pad did not have a rat wall. Then he had to take out a permit to have the pad put in.

Be cautious of local zone laws and building codes.
(also, don't piss off your neighbors so they won't turn you in)

posted by Drasher at 6:13 AM on June 1, 2010

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