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How to Plan Your Shed Project

Learn how to plan your shed project like a Pro! Our free article center was formed to help you build, plan, and execute your wood working project as smoothly as possible.


How to Plan Your Shed Project
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 shed.

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 start?
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 winter.

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 completed.

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 well.

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" = 1'-0" scale.
shed plans site plan
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
our 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.