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How Do I Choose the Right Size Storage Shed?

Choose the Right Size Storage Shed

There’s 100’s of different types of storage sheds from wood, metal and plastic as well as complete units and ones you can assemble yourself and lots of plans so you can build your own storage shed.

Your storage shed is just that a place to store your outside stuff and maybe some overflow from your home. Maybe your wanting a storage shed you can use as a workshop or a place to store your gardening supplies.

There are a lot different factors to consider before getting a storage shed and depending on what you’re going to be storing will affect the size you will need. Local regulations may also affect the size of a storage shed you can set-up or build on your property. Let’s go over the steps for choosing the correct size of shed for your needs.

Number One]… What’s the Purpose of the Shed?

What you’re going to be using the shed for will determine the size it needs to be. Most people will want a storage shed to store overflow from the house. If you’re going to be using it for a workshop, a place to work out, or even a playhouse for the kids will affect its size.

If it’s main purpose is to store stuff the size will be determined by what you’re going to be storing in it. If you need a place to store you’re riding mower than your need a fair amount of space to store it and to get access to it. It will also require a large door to allow for the lawn machine to fit into the shed.

Ryans Shed Plans

If you’re wanting to store larger pieces of equipment such as pressure washers, wielders or a place to store car tires and bigger gardening tools like a rototiller and wheel barrow then you’ll need a larger storage shed. I have a large storage shed for storing my winter firewood supply, garden tools and building materials I use for different jobs. I have a smaller addition attached to the shed to store tools and smaller building supplies.

Number Two]… Make a List of Items to Go Into Shed

Now put together a list of items you’re going to be storing, a handy tip is to use some ¼ inch drafting paper and draw out the size of your preferred sheds dimension. Use the scale of ¼ inch equals 1 foot. For example 1 inch on the drafting paper would equal 4 feet in actual size.

Ifs there’s items that you have that are going to be put in the storage shed you can measure the bigger items and make paper cut-outs using the ¼ inch scale then you can place them into your drawing and rearrange them to see how they would fit in full size. If you have the space in a garage you can put the items together to see how much space you would need.

Be sure to add doorways and windows on your drawing and if you’re going to be adding a work bench to allow for it, these are usually placed under a window. Also keep in mind you’re going to need to have walking room to get into the shed to get items. Plan on giving yourself some extra space for future items and allow for shelving in your drawing.

Number Three]… What Style of Shed?

Storage sheds are available in many different styles as well as designs and finishes that will accent your home and backyard. If you’re planning on putting your shed under some trees than a nice wood finished shed would fit nicely.

Consider where the door or doors are positioned and get one that gives you the best access. Having a shed with 2 doors does have its advantaged, but can take up space for entry and this can affect the size of shed you’re choosing.

The 2 most common roofs are the gable and this looks like a house and has a roof that looks like a triangle, have the same slope on both sides and meeting in the middle. The other roof style is a lean to, that’s where the roof is one slope and it’s usually higher at one end, these are great if the door/s are in the front and allows for an overhang over the door/s and the water runs off the roof to the backside.

Depending on the type of roof you can put a gutter and short down-pipe to direct the rain water into a water bucket that you can use for watering plants and gardens. Also consider the type of door and its size as this will affect the room available inside, and typically storage shed doors open out to maximize the interior space.

Shed finishes can vary from wood, metal and plastic, the metal and plastic sheds are commonly used for smaller sheds, but if you’re building your own you would want to use wood which will allow for a larger size.

Ryans Shed Plans

Number Four]… Your Yard Size

Yards and properties come in a lot of different sizes and shapes, the size of your storage shed should be in relationship to your property size. Some areas have regulations as to how much of the property can be occupied by the house and out buildings. This is something you can discuss with your local authorities.

The spot you put your shed should be easily assessable and placed or constructed in an area that is not subject to having water during rains and snow melting and should have good drainage. If you have a large yard and garden you may want to build a larger storage shed or I’ve seen some pretty nice smaller garden sheds right next to the garden.

If you have this kind of room you can have another shed just for storage. Also pick a spot in your yard that’s relatively level. If there’s no level places you can still build a shed you will have to use a foundation that will work for uneven terrain. Make sure that the entrance to your shed is on the side that is flush with the ground.

If you’re buying a pre-built storage shed choose a location that is assessable for the delivery and set-up of your shed. If no access is available you can still build your shed in place or use a pre-fab kit that you can assembly on site, you’ll still need to have a foundation for the shed to sit on.

Number Five]… Local Regulations

Before you go out and spend a pile of money on a storage shed that you may have to take down, find out what you’re allowed to build. Before you head down to the local building inspectors office I recommend you make a quick plot plan showing the size of your lot and the location of your home and other buildings.

Just draw up the shape of your lot and show the dimensions of the buildings from the property line and from each other. Also show where you want to put your storage shed on the drawing, this will make it much easier when you talk to the building inspector.

The building inspector will tell you the size and height limitations as well as any setbacks [how far you can build from the property line] and if any special type of foundation or if permits are required. Each state and provinces and local municipalities will have different by-laws that will need to be followed and in some places permits may not be required if the storage shed is under a certain size.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Storage Shed

– Price and Quality… Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for” don’t let the price of a storage shed let you choose which one, the cheapest sheds are just that “cheaply made” if budget is a main concern go with one that’s simple and well-built over ones with fancy extras that won’t be much benefit to you.

– Blending In… Pick a shed that’s going to blend into your landscape and not one that going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Shed Material… The 3 most common materials are wood, metal and plastic with wood being constructed like a home with 2×4 wall framing and wall sheathing and finished in wood siding or vinyl siding. The roofs are framed and sheathed and then the roofing material to make them waterproof.

Metal sheds are made from a basic metal framework and covered in a finished metal material, and plastic sheds are made with plastic materials. Both metal and plastic require no upkeep, unlike a wooden shed it will need to be maintained just like a house.

– It’s Foundation and Floor… Some of the shed kits you can buy come with a floor kit and many others don’t. If your building a storage shed yourself out of wood you’re going to need to build a foundation first. Whatever you choose it’s highly recommended you install you shed on a foundation, whether it’s treated wood, concrete piers, or concrete blocks you want an elevated base that will keep water away from the inside of the shed.

Ryans Sheds Plans

– DIY or Hire a Contractor… If you would rather hire a contractor to build you a shed you can go to most any of the bigger name brand stores and pick out a storage shed and have them do the installation. Building a wood constructed shed will require some carpentry skills and tools. The metal and plastic shed kit can usually be set-up by a couple of people in a day.


I have given you the information to help you choose which size of storage shed will work best for you. While there are many factors the most important is to do you research with your local regulations before going out and buying anything. Take your ruff plot plan with you and you should get the information you need from your local building inspector.

Once you know the size you can install or build it’s time to find the perfect shed or the plans to build your very own storage shed. If you’re going to build it yourself you can check out “Ryan’s Shed Plans” for 1000’s of plans for your shed. See his plans here.