Written by Frank McGill.
Can I Really Build My Own Shed?
Absolutely! The answer is YES! By doing the
planning and all or part of the work yourself, you can have
the shed you might not be able to afford otherwise. By
supplying your own labor and buying your materials yourself,
construction costs can be cut significantly over a prefab
Framing out a shed is not very difficult. Standardized
materials and construction techniques make it fairly easy if
you take the time and plan it out accordingly and carefully.
Planning your Shed Build - How do I
The key to a successful shed project is
planning, planning, and more planning! Once you have
begun construction of your shed, it is both costly and time
consuming to correct errors in shed placement, construction,
or selection of materials. So the motto of the
Do-It-Yourselfer shed builder must be PLAN AHEAD!
Whether you choose to draw the plans for your shed yourself,
our choose to purchase our complete shed plan package, which
you can then modify to meet your own needs, you must
carefully plan all the elements of your shed project.
Here is a checklist of design information which you must
gather before you start to build your shed:
Local Building Requirements. Take some
time to visit your local building and codes department and
determining how local building codes and zoning ordinances
will influence your project. Certain municipalities
restrict the height, placement, and square footage of shed
buildings. Be prepared to spend a couple of bucks and
apply for a building permit once you complete your design.
If you are using one of
our shed plans, or even someone else's, don't assume any
shed plan complies with your local codes. It is always
the responsibility of the builder to ensure the shed plans
they are using comply to their local codes, since codes can
be different from city to city.
Deed Restrictions. Are there conditions
in your property deed that restrict the type or location of
your shed? Are you planning to place your shed over
property controlled by an easement for right of way or
utility access? The last thing you want is to build a
shed only to have to tear it down because of some jerk
neighbor or because you are over a water main or electrical
line that the utility company needs access too.
Climatic Factors. Evaluate the
microclimate of your intended shed location.
Microclimate includes the shading effects of deciduous or
evergreen trees and shrubs, the angle of the sun in relation
to nearby landscaping during different seasons, soil
drainage conditions, and prevailing wind and temperature
conditions. Remember than an enclosed shed without
temperature regulation needs to be protected from the sun in
the summer and exposed to any available sunlight in the
Shed Functions. What do you want your
shed to do? Or rather, what do you want to do with
your shed? Will your shed serve as a simple storage
building for gardening and lawn tools or do you plan to use
the shed to store household items? Do you want to
supply the shed with electrical power? What type of
storage or shelving units would you like to install in your
completed shed? Will your shed include a workshop or
hobby area? Careful planning and consideration
regarding the functions of your shed will save you a lot of
time and money from costly changes after the project is
Plan carefully before you begin. Our
product, like our complete shed plans package, contains all
the techniques and tips you will need. Review our
plans carefully before you begin construction so that you
understand each step of the process. That will help
you determine the work you can handle alone and also where
expert help may be needed to do the job right.
You can also learn many construction techniques by studying
existing sheds. Ask your neighbors, if you get along
with them, if you can take a few minutes to review their
shed before you begin planning your design. Take a
look at the inside and study the framing, which really trips
up the most people who try to build their own shed.
Your Budget. You must determine an
estimated dollar amount that you plan to spend on your shed.
Do you plan to construct the shed yourself or will you
subcontract with a professional to build the shed after you
have purchased materials? Perhaps you want a
contractor to complete your shed project completely in its
entirety. It is helpful if you can set upper and lower
spending limits so that you can consider options in the
materials that you plan for your shed. Our
shed plans come with full materials lists so that you
can easily estimate them out. If you decide to finance
your shed project, don't forget to include the cost of
interest in the total cost amount.
Your Materials Source. While many you
will shop different sources for materials after you have
identified the shed plans that you will use and have
identified the bill of materials that you need, you should
remember that a helpful lumber dealer or home center is an
invaluable resource for the successful completion of your
project. Consult with a dealer of your choice to be
certain that they stock all the materials that you require,
before you make your first purchase. If you need to
make a special order, determine the lead times for materials
if the dealer doesn't have them in inventory. Check if
the dealer can deliver the materials directly to our site.
Don't underestimate the importance of a reputable dealer in
providing both quality materials and design knowledge as
Prefabricated or from scratch. You can
purchase a prefabricated wood or metal shed in a variety of
styles, or you can build one from
our shed plans. Remember that metal sheds are more
subject to wind damage and have a relatively short lifespan
in comparison to wood sheds. Yes, they all rust, and
start to look bad, regardless of what the brochure says.
Metal sheds look great when they are new, but when a shed
ages, a metal one starts to look really bad, whereas a wood
shed, some people thing they start to look better with age.
If you do purchase a shed kit, our plans still provide
valuable construction techniques and tips to make your
project go smoother.
Shed location. Before you place your
shed on your property, study the traffic patterns in your
backyard and how often you will use the shed on a daily
basis. Create a site plan of your property and draw
arrows to illustrate the basic movements to and from your
home. Establish priorities for storage locations and
traffic to your proposed shed. Be aware of problem
areas that relate to shed placement. Will you need to
build a ramp to move lawn tools in and out of the shed?
Be certain that you have adequate clearances to move these
tools up and down the ramp. If your shed uses
clerestory windows for example to supplement or replace
electrical lighting, remember that south facing windows will
provide the greatest amount of natural lighting. When
you create a site plan of your own, remember that is
essential to locate exterior doors and windows on your plan.
Try to include all exterior structures and landscaping in
your plan. While a scale drawing is not essential, it
is not very difficult to create a site plan to scale with a
ruler and pencil. Grid paper with 1/4" grids is
perfect for drawing your preliminary site plan on a 1/4" =
Just remember that a little time devoted
to planning before you begin building your shed will save
you time and money during the construction of your project.
Take a look at
shed plans pages and browse through our store. All of
our shed plans are available for immediate download. Here
you can buy our whole package, or just one of our plans as a
sampler. Our categories are always available on the left of
your screen on any page of our site.