Just like any project small or big, building my shed requires a plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced carpenter or still going through the learning curve, it’s always extremely important to have everything ready in place before beginning the project.
Just follow the steps I took while preparing to build my shed. Those are actually questions that I needed to answer before beginning construction of my shed.
What do I really need my shed for?
My house has no basement and I started running out of space in my garage. There are all kinds of tools, pressure washer, lawn mower, bikes, cardboard boxes from whatever I’ve purchased over the years, and two cars.
My kids are already older so I don’t have to worry about their big toys, holiday decorations are stored in the attic, so it looks like my shed will be primarily used for garden equipment, some power tools and bikes.
How do I determine size of my shed?
Since I determined shed’s purpose at the beginning it’s time to pick the size and visualize the interior features (shelves, organizers, etc.). It’s good to plan for the future so the floor area / sq footage of my shed should be large enough to accommodate whatever I’m planning to put there plus some extra space.
The easiest way to determine shed’s size is to organize all the items that you’re planning to put in the shed on a flat surface. Distribute them nicely so you can move around and measure the area they occupy.
Where am I going to build my shed?
My backyard’s landscape isn’t going to change in the future, I have my pond, decks, little garden, and the flowerbeds already “strategically” positioned. That makes finding a place for my shed much easier because I don’t have to worry about my wife asking to move it 1 foot to the left to make room for some new plants.
You may be limited by the sq footage area of your land, shape, and slope, which will in some cases require compromises – building a smaller shed. However, the key points to build my shed are:
- My shed has to be easily accessible so I can move all the equipment in and out without destroying anything around it. Attaching my shed to the house is one of the options but that would require a full foundation and raise its cost significantly.
- My shed has to blend in with the landscaping. You may wish to have your shed stand out from everything else – it’s your project.
- It has to comply with local zoning department requirements – distance from the property line, square footage, etc. (you need to obtain that information locally).
- Before preparing foundation for my shed I need to call 811. It’s a number for a local “Know what’s below. Call before digging” center to get all of the underground lines locations marked (water/sewer, gas, electric). Each state has different rules and regulations governing digging, some stricter than others, so make sure that you find out before you cut your electrical power cable…
Do I need to have my shed insulated, water-resistant, or open?
I’m 30 miles north of Chicago, a four season climate, so my shed needs to withstand heavy winds, snow, rain, cold and heat. I’m not planning to install any heating / cooling equipment so insulating it would be just waste of time and money. I need a solid roof and weather resistant walls / doors.
Do I need a permit to build my shed?
My local building department says that I do need a building permit for my shed if its floor area exceeds 40 square feet, which it most likely will. This is a very important step and I wouldn’t skip it under any circumstances.
Imagine getting a violation ticket from a local building inspector forcing you to take that brand new shed apart. What would you do? Ask about the permit before starting your project!
Visit your local building department or start from their website, find out the requirements, and get the permit if necessary (they may ask you to attach plans / shed blueprints and a plat of survey to your permit application).
What about money for my shed? How big is my budget and how much is it going to cost?
Don’t worry, you can update a basic “my shed” project in a year or two when there’s some more cash to spare.
Open your favorite internet browser and type “storage shed cost” to get some ideas. To get a more exact number you’ll need to find a shed plan that includes material list, go to your local lumber yard or some home improvement store, and determine the total cost of the project.
What are the best places to get plans for my shed?