10 Things to Consider When Building or Buying a Garden Shed

10 Things to Consider When Building or Buying a Garden Shed

. 7 min read

If you want to add storage, versatility and value to your garden, building a shed is the perfect way to do it. Garden sheds are the idealplace to store everything from the kids’ sports gear and bicycles to garden tools and other garden gadgets, your power tools and more.

They add an extra dimension to your garden that will serve you well for years to come. You can’t go wrong when buying or building a garden shed! Ah, well, actually, you can - if you don’t consider the whole process. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips to consider before erecting a shed in your garden.

1. Decide the Purpose of Your Shed

The first step in building your garden shed is to decide how you will use it and as such what size shed you will need. You might plan to store just garden tools, or you might be looking to create a workspace.

When choosing the size of your garden shed, take a look at the items you want to store. These may include lawnmowers, bicycles, motorcycles, wheelbarrows, and barbeques. Also consider the accessories you have chosen, as well as things like shelves or workbenches and how they would affect the size.

Generally it's good to get a shed a bit bigger than you think you need for flexibility if you have the space available and it won't look wrong.

2. Materials

You're going to want your garden shed to look great and last for many years to come, and for that, you need to find the right shed material. Choose a material that will match your garden décor and maintain its appearance and functionality through rain, hail and shine.

Some of the materials you can choose for garden sheds include timber, plastic resin, and steel. Plastic is lightweight and rustproof and timber boasts beautiful, traditional warmth, but steel is the most common option due to durablity, low maintenaince and cost.

In addition to being affordable and sturdy, steel comes in a range of colours, meaning it is most likely to meet all your needs. Look for a provider who offers premium steel materials, including Colorbond, Zincalume, and BlueScope Steel cladding.

3. Where Should You Put Your Shed?

Where in your garden will you build your shed? Do you have the space to build one large shed or is your yard more suited to several smaller garden sheds?

Be careful not to place your the shed so that it is blocking the sun. Also, sheds need to be placed on some sort of flat level base. The best option for longevity is a concrete slab, which you can lay yourself or have a concreter do for you, however if you think you might want to move the shed later then perhaps it is not the best idea after all as concrete is hard to remove. Other options include gravel, brick or over an existing paved area.

Have you considered the different features of your property and how this affects the location you choose? You need to ensure your shed is built in the most appropriate location to ensure safety, access, and structural integrity. When you work with a professional shed builder, they can survey your space and use special engineering software to ensure your garden shed is ideally located.

4. Colour

Once you’ve picked your material, you can go ahead and choose your colour. This is all about choosing a look that suits your environment well. Luckily, if you do choose a Colorbond Steel garden shed, you can select from a broad range of classic and contemporary colours.

5. Shed Accessories and Security

The garden shed design you choose will come with a range of standard features as well as extra accessories. It’s important to determine exactly what’s included in your shed design, as well as what extras you need.

Some shed accessories to consider include roller doors, wall insulation, skylights, and glass sliding doors.

Shed Security is an important subset of garden shed accessories. As well as the roller doors mentioned above, you may should also consider security screens, remote control access, and the good old-fashioned lock and key.

6. Shed Safe Accreditation

If your garden shed design is Shed Safe Accredited, it comes with complete peace of mind. Whether it’s a shed kit or a professional installation, your steel garden shed will meet the highest industry benchmarks with Shed Safe Accreditation.

7. Garden Shed Permits

Depending on the size of your shed and your location, you may not need to apply for permits. However, if you do need a permit to build your garden shed, ensure your shed builder can take care of this for you. Garden shed permit approval generally takes between two and three weeks.

8. Affordability

When it comes to the cost of your garden shed, consider both the price of the shed and additional costs for design, manufacturing, and installation. Keep in mind that extra accessories can increase the overall price of your shed, while opting for a DIY garden shed kit may save you some money on installation.

9. Hiring a Contractor vs buying a kit

If you want to build a garden shed yourself, it’s probably best to opt for a shed kit. Garden shed kits come with premium materials and quality fasteners, as well as clear instructions and plans. This ensures the best of both worlds –quality parts and support provided by professionals, and a DIY project you can enjoy.

With the rising popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) sheds, is it still worth it to hire a contractor to build you a new storage outhouse? There are many kits available that provide easy-to-assemble parts for your garden shed. Though the kits are easy to put together, you will not get the same control over materials and design if you construct a garden shed from scratch yourself.

If you are happy with that tradeoff there are a wide variety of DIY sheds you can choose from. Companies that specialise in selling garden sheds, workshops and garages. These companies will sometimes deliver the walls and roof pre-assembled so that all that you only need to screw them together.

Some companies will even send someone out to put the parts together for you. If you get a kit from bunnings or mitre10 then those will be flat packed in a set of boxes, easy to get home, but requiring more work to assemble. If you don't fancy assembling it yourself you can always hire a handyman, which of course will be a lot cheaper than hiring a builder to construct a customised shed.

If you want a professional to build your custom garden shed for you, look for a team who handles the entire process from start to finish. If your shed builder designs, supplies, manufactures and installs your shed, you can ensure a greater level of quality control.

The third option of constructing a unique shed yourself can be quite rewarding, though of course it will take a lot more time to complete. You can still purchase a properly thought out shed plan online that will provide a list of materials you will need and some instructions.

The Pros of Hiring a Contractor

There are definite benefits to hiring a professional. Here are the reasons you should consider hiring a contractor:

  1. Quality contractors get you quality sheds. Hiring an experienced contractor is almost a guarantee that you’ll get a shed that will last you several years (if not generations). If you want something done well, you should consider hiring a professional.
  2. You can customize your shed to your heart’s desire. If you’re after a specific look or a particular type of wood, it’s best to get your shed customized for your needs.
  3. Contractors can help you make decisions. Wooden sheds give off a rustic appeal, but they’re expensive to build and will need protection from insects, fungus, and extreme weather conditions. Metal sheds are fireproof and cheaper than wooden sheds, but they also rust over time. When choosing between materials, it’s best to have a professional give you advice.
  4. You’re helping boost the local economy. Every time you hire someone local, you’re helping encourage local businesses and livelihood.

The Cons of Hiring a Contractor

When you’re not after a highly specific shed for a highly specific purpose, hiring a conductor might not be the best course of action. Consider these disadvantages:

  1. Contractors can be expensive. The cost difference between buying a shed and hiring a contractor can be upwards of a thousand dollars.
  2. You need to make time for the duration of the construction. If you’re going to hire a construction team, you’ll need to make sure there’s always someone at home to oversee the process. Since the contractors will have access to a large portion of your home, it’s up to you to secure your house, family, pets, and valuables.
  3. Custom sheds will take longer. Constructing a new shed will take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the number of construction workers and the kind of shed. If you need a storage shed as soon as possible, then buying a shed might be the best option for you.
  4. You might need to secure building permits. Any kind of construction will require you to cover your legal bases. If you’re pressed for time or unwilling to go through paperwork, consider buying a shed instead, as its assembly doesn’t require any permits.
  5. Contractor-built sheds are rarely portable. If you’re thinking of moving to another city in the next decade, you might want to hold off from hiring a contractor. Otherwise, you’ll be splurging on a shed that you won’t be able to take with you.

Before hiring a contractor, consider the following: your budget, your time, and your backyard needs. If what you need is a shed to last you decades, then getting a contractor is definitely your best option. If you’re looking for a portable or budget-friendly shed, then you’re better off purchasing a shed online.
Like with all home renovation and construction situations, the best option isn’t always what’s most expensive — it’s what meets your requirements and what makes you happy.


10. Finding the right contractor

There’s no shortage of builders in Australia. It’s a matter of picking a contractor you want to work with. When choosing a contractor, your three key requirements should be:

  • Proximity. Get a contractor who works in your area, so you don't need to pay additional expenses for materials transportation.
  • Experience. While sheds are relatively easy for any skilled contractor, getting someone with experience in a similar project is always a bonus.
  • Paperwork. Any contractor worth their salt should have up to date business licenses and insurance for their workers.

Get Started with Your Garden Shed Today!

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a garden shed, it’s time to get started. Think about what you want from your garden shed and then look for a designer and builder who can meet these specifications. Whether you want to install a DIY shed kit or have the whole process handled by the experts, finding a shed builder who will meet all your needs is the key to success.


Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.

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