How Do I Choose the Best Shed Plans? (Paid and Free)

In this article I’m going to go over how to choose the best shed plans, you probably have been searching online for some shed plans. That can be overwhelming trying to figure out which plans will work for your situation.

Choosing your shed plans will be dependent on what type of shed you want, how much space you have and any local bylaws and zoning requirements to follow. Your options are use free shed plans or buy shed plans.

Being a Journeymen Carpenter for 40 years I have built lots of sheds and other structures, and at the cost of materials and labor costs, having a shed built by a contractor is just out of reach for many folks. And with the skyrocketing cost of materials, you can’t afford to buy extra materials because you made a mistake.

How to Choose the Best Shed Plans – What the Best Shed Plans Need to Have

Whether you get some free shed plans or buy some shed plans your going to need to make sure that the plans are what you want.

Here is a list of 7 things the shed plans need to have:

Number 1] Simple and Easy to Follow… If you’re building an 8’ x 12’ shed the plan needs to be for that size shed. The plan also needs to be accurate and be easy to go thru the building process.

Number 2] Have Detailed Drawings… The drawing should have the layout for the flooring, walls, and roof. Some cross sections showing the construction members and blow ups of any details that can’t be seen clearly in the drawings.

They should also show the roof pitch and the overhang and the location and size of doors and windows. Having front, side and back elevations that show what the completed shed looks like is very helpful if you run into a problem during the construction.

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Number 3] Accurate and Easy to Follow Instructions…Having a plan that provides step-by-step instructions is best, especially if you’re not that experienced with building stuff. Some plans provide great details on the roof and how to shingle it and miss out on the floor and walls.

Number 4] Material & Cutting List… Having a shed plan that includes a material list is going to save you time and not buying materials that you don’t need. A good cutting list gives you the size that you can cut the materials to, this also saves you time and money by not cutting the pieces the wrong size and having to buy more material.

Number 5] Layout Details… The shed plan should also show how to do the correct layout of the floor joists, wall studs and roof rafters in either 16” or 24” centers. This will make sure that the floor, wall, and roof sheeting will fit on the members without having to cut the sheets and waste your material.

Number 6] Material Details… Not all the best plans will have this, the plans include lists of the material and what each piece is used for, no guessing as to where each piece goes.

Number 7] Guarantee… If you’re buying the shed plan, online make sure it come with a money back guarantee [usually 30 to 60 days] so you can get a refund if the plans are not what they claim to be.

You can expect the cost of an 8’ x 12’ shed around $5,000.00 and it can be more depending on the type of door and windows and roofing material used. You also need to factor the cost of the foundation prep and cost. If you can’t do the work, yourself the costs will even go up higher if you need to use a contactor.

Where to Get the Best Shed Plans

Online Free Shed Plans… First, you can some free online plans just by searching Google and there are many places to get free shed plans. Most are not going to be worth much, and some places you’ll need to give your email address, and some ask for a donation before you can get them.

Nearly all these so-called free plans don’t provide all the details and information you need to build your shed and they’ll want you to upgrade to their paid plans.

Pro’s and Cons of Using Free Shed Plans

Pro’s of Free Shed Plans Con’s of Free Shed Plans
  • Free
  • Missing Lots of Details
  • Download Right Away
  • Outdated and Not Always Accurate
  • Get More Then One
  • May Require More Then One
  • Lots of Different Types
  • Most Don’t Provide Cutting & Material Lists

Buy a Shed Book on Amazon… Amazon has lots of books on how to build a shed and shed plans. The best way to find something that is going to work for you is to read the customer reviews.

Buy Online Shed Plans… This is the best place to find shed plans, if you have been reading my articles you will see that I’m a big fan of “Ryan’s Shed Plans” and it’s the only online shed plans that I recommend.

Before I recommend any product, I buy it myself to make sure it is providing good value for the money and that it gives you what the sales copy says. One claim Ryan’s shed plans makes is it has 12,000 shed plans. I have no doubt there is that many plans, what I was looking for was shed plans that meet the requirements number 1 to 7 as listed above that will get a beginner building their own shed fast and saving money.

Why Ryan’s Shed Plans are The Best Shed Plans

First… The cost, you can get the standard package for $37, that’s less then the price of a sheet of plywood. You can even get a 2 CD disc set mailed to you if that will work better for you.

Second… Ryan’s shed plans are ready for a beginner to build a shed with the step-by-step detailed instructions, material labels and cutting lists and easy to follow drawings.

Third… Very easy to purchase, simply click the buy now button enter your payment information and within seconds you’ll be on the download page. You’ll also be offered a couple of upgrades if you can use them, if not the standard package of $37 will give you everything you need.

Free Bonuses from Ryan’s Shed Plans

Number 1] Advanced Woodworking Tips… A free book which contains years of Ryan’s woodworking experience, where he shares techniques, minor adjustments, and tweaks that you can use to get a jaw-dropping shed finish.

Number 2] Magic Modification… This free book has everything about modifying dimensions to make your shed fit into any space you want.

Number 3] Directory for Suppliers… With this directory you can find different types of wood suppliers and woodworking tools and equipment at discounted prices.

Number 4] Woodworking Plans… This free book has plans for 400 woodworking projects.

Click Here to Read More About Ryan’s Shed Plans

Top 5 Shed Plans

I’m going to go over the top 5 shed plans you get, of course there are tons more shed plans you’ll get to choose from.

Number 1] 6×6 Compact Storage Shed… This is perfect shed if you have a small space and with its one-of-a-kind charming character will be a great addition to your backyard.

Its front area has lots of space to add shelving and if you’re into gardening you can fit in a small potting bench. It also uses low-maintenance materials for siding and accent trim. You’ll also love the appeal of the unique hip roof. Definitely a great choice for the smaller yards.

Number 2] 8×8 Simple Shed… This is a great and very easy to construct storage shed, its basically an 8×8 cube that has a lot of room for your lawn mowing equipment. Lawn and garden tools as well as room for some storage for bikes.

This shed has all the instruction and plans to overcome sloped ground issues and the cost to build is amount the cheapest for the size of shed you get. A great shed that you can paint or stain to match the décor of your home.

Number 3] 8×9 Cedar Garden Shed… What a great rustic look cedar brings into your backyard, and this 8×9 cedar garden shed has tons of room for storing your garden equipment and tools.

You will be able to even store a riding lawn mower in this shed, it has a 46-inch sliding door which allows easy access for the big stuff. Add some shelving and for the gardener you have room for a big workbench to get an early start on those seedlings.

Leave the cedar in its natural state of use a semi-transparent stain to make it blend in with its surroundings, a great shed that have excellent shed plans and instructions for the beginner.

4x8 storage lockerNumber 4] 4×8 Storage Locker… This is an easy and cheap to build handy storage locker that will be great for storing a lot of your tools, lawnmower and yard and garden materials, which will free up some space in your overcrowded garage.

You can build this yourself following the simple easy instructions, at the cost to build you could build 2 of them and still be on budget. Being free-standing and built on skids it will be easy to move or you can put it up against an existing shed or garage or even beside your house so your most used lawn tools and equipment will be easy to access and use.

Number 5] Firewood-Garbage Shed… This is an easy to build shed for storing firewood or for keeping your garbage cans so birds and other animals can’t access your garbage and make a big mess.

You can make either the firewood shed, or the garbage can storage shed, you can even make one of each at the cost to build these. What I love about this unit is the cedar lattice panels and decorative doors that will look great wherever you put it.

It’s built with treated lumber so it will last for years, and it can be easily moved to different areas in your yard, or if you’re renting you can take it to your next home.

Ryans Shed Plans

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Free Bonuses from Ryan’s Shed Plans

Another think I like about Ryan’s Shed Plans is the Hugh number of free PDFs and helpful documents you get as well.

My favorites are…

– DIY home improvement, which go into detail on how to do all kinds of home repairs yourself lots of free stuff here.

– Greenhouses and other structures.

– Beginners guide to framing roofs.

– Beginners toolbox, this goes over the basic power and hand tools for building your shed as well as for those that want to get into woodworking.

– Building a shed base, go over how to build your shed base and the tools needed.

– Guide to woodworking tools, 16 pages going to the different types of tools.

– Guide for building your own roof trusses.

– How to setup a shop.

– A guide for locating where you should put your shed.

– A guide for choosing the right foundation for your shed.

– A guide for building your shed, goes over permits and building codes, foundation posts and piers, floors and walls, roofs and doors, windows and siding and trim.

This is only some of the free bonus you’ll get on the $37 standard package, if you choose to upgrade, you’ll get more guides. Depending on your needs and budget the $37 standard package is all you will need. Check out Ryan’s Shed Plans here.