A backyard shed frees up your home and garage by storing cumbersome essentials like your riding mower, hedge trimmers, and other lawn care equipment. But these sturdy little buildings can serve a host of other practical functions—and hobbies too. Think chicken coop, greenhouse, screening room—the list is limitless! For a shed to live up to its potential, however, it’s crucial to avoid common building mistakes. The dos and don’ts listed here, courtesy of the LP® Outdoor Building Solutions® pros, will help ensure that your shed meets your needs for years to come, whether you’re simply using it for storage or tricking it out as your outdoor fun zone.
Once you decide that adding a shed will increase the enjoyment of your outdoor space, it’s time to ask pertinent questions to assess your needs. Consider exactly how you want to use your shed, what design will best suit those tasks, and how much your budget will allow. Learn what features are most popular, and why. Also research what’s really involved with building a shed yourself, as opposed to hiring a pro to do the job, and be sure you understand such important factors as warranty and delivery.
There are several ways to economize when building a shed: Install three-tab roof shingles instead of architectural shingles, or use grooved-plywood siding in place of cedar bevel siding. But don't ever skimp on the building materials used for the floor frame or plywood floor deck. I can't tell you how often I've walked into a shed and found the floor to be dangerously spongy. One building in particular had a floor so badly rotted it felt like one of those inflatable moonwalk attractions you see at carnivals.
Pasadena, California, is known for its Craftsman style homes, a great number of which have been carefully preserved and restored. Owned by a University of Southern California (USC)-educated architect, Nott & Associates specializes in the Craftsman style. For a backyard shed, Nott custom designed and constructed the wooden doors, which include period-perfect details and hardware.
Proceeding with your shed requires smart planning. For starters, you may need a permit from your local zoning authority and/or homeowners’ association to build a new structure on your property; check with the proper authorities before you even invest in the materials. Plus, there may be rules that dictate how you may use your shed, or whether you’re allowed to wire it for electricity. Once you get the go-ahead to build, you’ll want reliable guidelines. For anyone inclined to DIY rather than buy a prebuilt shed, look over a selection of free LP Outdoor Building Solutions plans based on your choice of size and roof style. Each set of plans comes with extensive material and hardware lists, detailed construction information, and tried-and-true building tips.
If you decide that you don’t want the second package after purchasing the first package, you will be offered a third package which is even more explicit that contains tonnes and tonnes of woodworking plans that are laid over thousands of pages. All these eBooks are neatly organized, very much real and indeed the amount of plans that they contain might even come out as nauseating, if you’re someone who doesn’t have so much of patience to go through all of them.
So it's not surprising that people often ask me for advice about putting together a backyard storage building. Sometimes I get asked questions that I couldn't possibly answer: "Do you think my husband and brother-in-law can build me a garden shed?" Or, "Would an 8 x 10-ft. shed be big enough to store all my stuff?" Gee, ma'am, I couldn't say. But often, the questions have something to do with shed design, framing or siding options. There, I can help. And so with these inquisitive souls in mind I present my favorite tricks of the shed trade.
After the concrete is all ready, the sole plates are then joined together with the anchor plates which protrude out of the foundation. Use the carpenter’s pencil and measuring tape to mark about one and a half inches from the board end continually every sixteen inches till the further end. These marks guide where the studs will be placed. Mark where the anchor and the mudsill meet up with a different marker from the one used initially. The studs are then taken and galvanized nails are driven through the marked areas into the center of the board until they reach the stud bottom. The studs should be secured to the baseboard.
A thing you might want to check is if regulations require a minimum setback from the property line. This is often overlooked and come back to bite you. A silly thing I found out when I built my shed, my jurisdiction in California treats buildings differently depending on what they are called on the permit. I called my shed a barn because I built a gambrel roof and it looked like a barn. My surprise....A barn must be 50 feet away from any structures occupied by humans. A shed can be almost against the house.....same size, same shape,,,just different names.
This is another shed building tip about the location of your shed. While it would be great to let your shed blend into the shrubbery on your property, but it isn’t really realistic. You want to allow your shed to breathe which means giving it space from trees, fences and shrubs. A few feet all around will let the materials breathe effectively and direct sunlight will ensure mold and mildew stay far away.
If you have the do-it-yourself skills and an open timeframe, check out the various plans available online or for purchase. Make sure you thoroughly understand the instructions and actually have the ability and tools to do the job. Other sources for sheds include prefabricated buildings that you would order from a reputable company and kits. Some include pre-cut lumber that is shipped to your house. Before ordering, find out if additional milling, drilling, or cutting will be needed, along with necessary tools.