With all of the tools necessary to keep your yard looking good - lawn mowers, trimmers, snow throwers, shovels, rakes and more - it's hard to find enough storage space for everything. Outdoor storage buildings alleviate the strain on your garage, basement and attic by providing additional storage space that is conveniently accessible. With a variety of materials and styles to choose from, you'll have no problem finding a unit that looks good alongside your house. Prior to building or purchasing one, check local building codes to make sure it's okay to have a shed or similar structure in your yard. Some municipalities have rules dictating where buildings can go and how large they can be. Once you've discovered those rules, use the following questions to hone in on the right type of outdoor storage building for you:
• How large of a shed do you need?
• How much are you looking to spend?
• Where in your yard will you install the unit?
• What tools do you require to construct it?
• What types of materials are available? What are the benefits of each?
• What other types of outdoor buildings can enhance your yard?
Materials, Durability, Size Considerations and Building Types
Storage sheds are often made from wood, metal or vinyl, each of which presents different benefits. Knowing which one best fits your climate and how to maintain it are key to ensuring longevity. Sheds can be purchased prefabricated, making them easy to assemble with the aid of a hammer, screw driver, tape measure and level. Choose from a variety of different styles and colors to find one that best complements your house while providing the storage room you need. Place the shed in a conveniently located area that provides enough room for you to get in and out easily with big items, such as a lawn tractor or mower. Prices range from a few hundred dollars for a simple solution to several thousand dollars for larger, more versatile structures. Keep your budget in mind as you consider different options.
Shed Materials and Bases: Depending on where you live, some materials may work better than others. Metal offers an economical choice and may be composed of materials ranging from galvanized to vinyl-coated steel. Vinyl requires a little larger up-front investment, but its surface won't peel and it provides strong resistance to both rust and rot. Wooden sheds are attractive and should be coated with sealers and preservatives to prevent rot and protect them from ultraviolet rays. Proper preparation ensures that wood will continue to look good for years. In addition to choosing what material you want the shed to be made from, you'll also need to select a location and material for the base. You'll want to find a spot that's smooth and level. Placing the shed directly on the ground can make it susceptible to rot and insect infestation, so installing a foundation can reduce maintenance. Concrete and gravel make good bases, as does wood. Wood should be pressure-treated to prolong its life.
• Sheds may be made from particle board, plywood, wood, metal or vinyl
• Look for rust-free metals to reduce maintenance and prolong life
• Vinyl is a high-quality, low-maintenance choice that won't chip or rust
• Cedar provides natural resistance to rot and insects
• Cinder blocks provide another foundation alternative
Kits: Kits provide sheds with utility as well as enhance their durability. Consider the following kits to determine whether or not they would be a useful addition for your shed:
|Attic Frame||Storage||Creates extra storage space in the roof area|
|Auger Anchor||Durability||Prevents damage from strong winds|
|Extension||Storage||Expands shed's size to provide greater storage capacity|
|Shelving||Storage||Mounts easily on wall or door to provide extra storage|
|Skylight||Design Enhancement||Provides natural light for enhanced visibility|
|Snow||Durability||Strengthens roof to withstand heavy snow loads|
|Vent||Design Enhancement||Increases air circulation for greater comfort|
|Wind Load||Durability||Increases wind resistance in severe-weather areas|
|Window/Shutter/Flower Box||Design Enhancement||Adds a touch of style to the exterior|
Maintenance and Size Considerations: With proper maintenance and care a shed will last for years. Purchasing sheds made from materials such as vinyl or cedar will help ensure longevity, particularly if you live in an area with a harsher climate. Treat wood to ensure that it remains impervious to rotting. When determining the size, consider everything you may want to store - including tools, mowers, tractors, snow throwers, lawn and garden chemicals, soil and more - and make a list to help you assess how big of a shed you'll need. Take note of how many items you'll need to hang on the walls and ensure that ample space is provided. If you plan to build the shed up against a fence or row of hedges, leave enough space so that you can easily make repairs or touch up paint if the need arises.
• Stainless-steel bolts and screws will resist rust
• Avoid placement at the bottom of an incline where water can collect and promote rot
• Be sure the door is wide enough to accommodate the largest item you plan to store
• Lofted sheds provide increased storage capacity
• Place doors in middle of sidewall on large sheds to ensure easy access to all items
Other Types of Buildings: Sheds are not the only type of storage building that can add utility to your yard. Other structures can provide storage along with a number of additional benefits. Greenhouses and potting sheds are ideal for storing soil, lawn chemicals and garden tools while providing a place for plants to grow. Deck patio boxes and storage lockers provide space for storing everything from dishes and barbecue equipment to toys and tools. Some outdoor benches feature storage areas for holding small tools, birdseed and other items you might need while working in the yard.
• Gazebos enhance outdoor living and may provide additional storage space
• Playhouses can be used to store outdoor toys when not in use
• Add smaller corner, vertical or horizontal sheds to supplement your primary unit
Architectural Features: Sheds may have any number of architectural features that help them both blend in with your house as well as complement it. A partial list includes French doors, cupolas, gabled roofs, window boxes and weathervanes.
Ramp: If you plan to store a snow thrower or lawn tractor in your shed, a ramp will make it easier to get it in and out.
Built-In Shelving: Keeping tools and other small items organized is much easier with the help of built-in shelves. Hangers are another useful feature for storing tools. If you don't want to install elaborate hangers, a simple nail can be used to hold a number of different items.