Backyard Buildings Buying Guide
The process of selecting and purchasing a backyard building can be daunting. And once the backyard shed is purchased and installed it is much more difficult and expensive to make changes. Careful research and planning is a good strategy to avoid disappointment with your portable shed. Here are some things to think about as you sift through the many options and sizes that are available.
- Make a list of possible uses for your new building. What do you hope to accomplish with your shed? Are you simply expanding your storage space? Or will your backyard building become your new workshop, hobby corner, or portable cabin? How you plan to use your shed will determine which options are important to you.
- Choose a size bigger than you think you’ll need. Many owners of wood storage sheds have ordered their shed or portable garage only to wish a few weeks or months later that they would have gone a little bigger. Keep in mind that the actual inside storage dimensions will be a bit smaller than the advertised outside corner-to-corner measurements, as detailed in this article. On the flip side, very few people end up wishing that the shed would be smaller. Making changes to the size of the shed after it has been installed is difficult and expensive. (For help choosing the size of a garage see our post on 2 car garage dimensions.)
- Buy a shed that will add value and appeal to your property. Your shed has the potential to become a valuable part of your property. But if no attention is given to quality it can become an eyesore and a maintenance headache. A backyard building should be built to last and look good for 20 years or more with a little maintenance.
- Use windows to let in natural light. This is especially important if you plan to use your shed as a workshop but it can also be helpful when you are searching for items in dark corners.
- Make sure the door is wide enough for the equipment you plan to store. It’s a good idea to measure the width of your garden tractor just to make sure it will fit through the door. Do your homework to avoid unpleasant surprises!
- Add ventilation to the gables and roof ridge. A mini-barn without ventilation can become a virtual oven in the hot summer sun. Roof and gable vents will help to keep air flowing, keeping the air inside the shed cooler.
- Increase storage space with higher walls, a loft, and shelving. This is especially helpful if you know you’ll need to store lots of smaller items. Storing items on shelves helps to free up floor space, making the shed feel less cluttered. A loft is also a great place for a bed in pre-built cabins.
- Use a ramp to easily store lawn equipment and vehicles. If you purchase a shed with a wood floor the inside floor will be about 8” off the ground in many cases. You’ll need a ramp to move heavy equipment inside the shed.
- Choose a shed that will blend in with the surroundings. Many shed builders offer various siding and trim options along with a wide range of colors. Some even allow customers to bring their own custom color for a fee.
- Think about security. If the shed will be in an area where security is an issue you may want to consider eliminating the windows and adding a reinforced door and lock.
- Consider adding lighting and an electrical outlet. While some builders may offer an electrical package, this can always be added later after the shed is already in your backyard. One cost-effective option is to add an inexpensive solar-powered light.
- Keep the critters at bay. After the shed is installed, all possible points of entry should be closed to keep unwanted critters from taking up residence under the shed. Check with your builder to see if they offer this option. (Building a shed base also helps with this)
Was that helpful? Your level of satisfaction with your backyard building will most likely be a direct reflection of the effort that you put into designing and planning for your building. One of the best ways to get expert advice and help with your project is to contact your local building expert for a conversation on which backyard building would suit your situation the best.
Are you thinking about buying a garage but not sure if you're ready to make the investment? Reading our blog posts on modular garage prices (by the way, what are modular/prefab garages?) and garage space for rent may help to get you the information you need. If you've already purchased a building you may want to read our blog post on preparing for the delivery of your wooden storage building.