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Is Building a Shed Something a Beginner Should Try?

Should a Beginner Build a Shed

It may seem like building a shed is beyond the ability of a beginner, especially if your carpentry skills are limited and you don’t have a lot of tools. Depending on which shed building task you want to do will depend on your skill level. Putting together a pre-fab shed kit is much easier than building a shed from scratch.

The short answer is Yes! With the 100’s of different plans available you should be able to build a shed and if you’re not quite sure on something, you tube has 100’s of videos on building a shed.

Before even attempting to build a shed there’s some questions you should ask yourself before going out and buying a bunch of material and tools.

Buy a Shed or Build


Questions to Consider Before Deciding to Build a Shed 

Number 1] Skill Level… What I mean is are you able to operate an electric skill saw safety? Are you OK with climbing up a ladder and working on a roof? Can you do the physical work that’s required, digging for the foundation, carrying the lumber? Do you have a pick-up truck to transport the material to your home?

Number 2] Tools… Do you have some basic carpentry tools or do you have to buy or borrow some. To build a basic shed you’ll need a tape, hammer, chalk line, framing square, level, step stool, ladder and a basic skill saw and a cordless drill would be handy. You’ll also need a helper for various stages of the construction.

You have other options like, buy a complete shed, use a per-fab shed kit or hire a contractor to build it for you. If you really want to build a shed yourself than I highly recommend you get a good set of shed plans that are easy to follow. Take a look at “Ryan’s Shed Plans” the number one selling complete plans, you can see them here.

If you’re still undecided which way to go with your storage shed take at look at my article “Is It Cheaper to Buy a Shed or Build it Yourself?” where I go into the detail the various options and advantages and disadvantages of each option. You can read it here.

Number 3] The Purpose of the Shed… There are various reasons that someone wants to build a shed and it’s usually for more storage solutions, you may also want to have a shed for a place use as a workshop or even an additional area for workouts and even an office space.

Number 4] What Will You be Storing?… What you’re planning on using the storage shed for will affect how strong of a foundation you will need. If you’re just storing a few garden tools and some overflow from the garage then you won’t need a strong foundation, however if your wanting to store heavy equipment than a stronger foundation option may be needed.

Number 5] The Size… How big of a shed do you need? The bigger the shed the more costly it will be and depending on which type of roof you’re going to be using will affect how complex the build will be. In my article “How do I Choose the Right Size Storage Shed?” I go into detail the 5 steps for determining what size of shed you’ll need. You can read it here.

There are a few other things to consider before building a shed and the most important is if you’re going to require a building permit as well as where you can build a shed on your property. You need to find out where your services are on your property, you don’t want to build a shed on top of buried sewer or power lines.

5 Tips For Choosing Shed Plans

If you’re going to try building a shed yourself the difference between being successful and failing is having a good set of detailed building plans. A quick search online will result in 100’s of shed plans and lots of free shed plans.

I’ve downloaded many of these so called “Free” shed plans and most aren’t worth anything, being a Journeyman Carpenter for over 30 years I can build anything and some of these plans I don’t know how anyone could build anything with them. I have listed 6 tips below for choosing the best shed plans.

Ryans Shed Plans


Number 1] Foundation… As with anything you need to have a sturdy foundation that will support the weight of the shed and its contents. There are various types of foundations, from a basic gravel floor, treated skids, concrete blocks and the concrete slab. Your plans should give detailed information for building the foundation of the shed.

Number 2] Cost… You should have a budget in mind before you build a shed, having a budget will allow you to find the best shed without spending more. The nice perk of “Ryan’s Shed Plans” is all the plans he has will give you a detailed material list so you can go to your local lumber store and get a quote for the materials you’ll need.

Number 3] Difficulty… How hard is the shed to build? Avoid plans that are so technical that it’s impossible to build with. Get plans that you can follow; I have done a lot of consultations for folks who want to build a shed themselves. A lot of contractors will provide tips and consultations for a modest fee.

Building a storage shed should be fun and will be an investment so be sure you construct a strong and durable shed that will provide years of service. You can hire a contractor to get the foundation, walls and roof in place and then finish the rest yourself.

10-Inch Tubular SkylightNumber 4] Materials… The materials you’ll be using are very important, so don’t buy the cheapest materials and then expect good results. Don’t skip items that are needed, such as installing eaves protection under the shingles to save a few bucks. If you’re going to be using skids for a foundation make sure they are pressure treated.

Using vinyl siding instead of cedar siding is a good option to save several hundred on finishing costs. Make sure that the exterior and roof are watertight, after all your hard work you don’t want leaks to damage the contents of the shed.

Number 5] Lighting… Most sheds don’t have power so there won’t be any lighting in place, you could run an extension cord for some power. You should consider adding a window or two in your shed for natural lighting. What I have found is to use a skylight, this way it lets in natural lighting without using up and wall space.

I’ve had really good luck with the “10-Inch Tubular Skylight” that’s real easy to install and lets in a huge amount of light. You can check it out here on Amazon.

What Good Storage Shed Plans Should Have

I remember a couple years ago a friend purchased a cheap 10×10 shed plan, after he downloaded it He asked me if I would come over and give Him a hand. When I got there he had printed the plan out and what a useless pile of paper, how can people get away with selling garbage. The pictures weren’t even of the right shed.

Anyways if you’re going to be building a shed from a plan you purchased online, make sure that they provide the following:

Number 1] Step-by-Step Instructions… Detailed instructions with at least one cross-section that the average person can follow. Two or three views showing different views of the shed and be made so anyone can follow them, most of the online plans assume that everyone has some carpentry skills, but the fact is not everyone has these skills… That’s why they buy plans.

Number 2] Cutting Lists… Get a plan that gives you an accurate material cutting list for each piece required. This make estimating your material cost easy and when you go to the lumber store you know exactly what you need to get. This saves you time and the added expense of having to buy more material because you cut some too short.

Number 3] Labeled List… This is very helpful and lets you know how many pieces of each you need and what it’s going to be used for.

Number 4] Some 3D Pictures… Not all plans will give you this and it’s very helpful when building a shed to see the finished product.

Getting plans that are way too technical are useless. There are lots of good quality plans online and 10 times more of them are garbage, if their free there usually not going to be very helpful and a lot of information won’t be included.


I have mentioned several times in this article about “Ryan’s Shed Plans” yes you’ll have to pay for them and there the best plans for building a shed I have come across. Everything you need is there and you have 1000’s of plans to work with. Definitely worth checking out and you won’t be disappointed. Check them out here.