Sheds are great to have and can serve all kinds of different uses for you.
I currently have 3 and will soon be building number 4.
When you are contemplating getting your own shed you have plenty of choices available to you. Here are a few;
- Buy one ready-made and have it delivered and installed for you
- Hire a builder who will deliver all the materials and assemble your shed for you
- Buy a kit and assemble it yourself
- Get a set of plans (buy or free) then get your materials and build it yourself
- Design it and build it yourself from the ground up
Each choice has it’s benefits and it’s drawbacks.
The two big issues are price and space.
The first, and for many the main issue is cost. It will almost always be far more expensive to have it built for you because you have to pay for the labor of other people – and that is not cheap. But it is quick!
The second one is space – if the cost is not an issue a ready-built shed can be delivered and installed for you – and only takes a few hours from their arrival until you have your shed ready to use. The space issue comes in to play when you have a tiny yard, or you have a pool, shrubs, fences, landscaping, or other things you do not want to move, damage, or destroy.
If that is the case – you can still have your shed – it just has to arrive in pieces and be carried in by hand and then assembled by hand in its spot. That means either you pay a shed builder to do it for you – or you can save the money – but you have to do the labor yourself.
The three sheds I have now were purchased from a shed builder and delivered because I had a time crunch when I got them and needed them immediately. Time was more important than money to me at the moment. Then I built two of them out – one to serve as a cottage basically – think tiny house – and you get the general idea.
The second one we needed for a multitude of things – including temporary shelter for my wife and myself while our house was being remodeled/rebuilt, and later to use it as an office and workspace for our business. It is currently being used for filming some of the courses I teach, as basic office space and as a shipping office where we package and ship many of our smaller products from.
In the past we have remodeled and rebuilt homes while living inside them – with all the dust, the mess, the tools, and everything that goes with it – and I have no intention of ever doing that again! It is much better to have a nice clean and quiet little habitat in your own back yard (a modified shed) where you can enjoy your life until the work on the main house is done.
The third building currently houses all my tools, my kayak, and a few other things. It is my shop – though I still have to finish building it out the way I want it. It will continue to be my shop where I will build and make many of the other things I will be creating. Some are things to sell, such as signs, crates, wooden critters and ships (home interior decorations basically), and other things such as sheds, cottages, campers, furniture, boats, and more.
Some of it will indeed be to sell for profit – and other things will be used to develop content for my YouTube channels and sites, as well as to develop plans, manuals, and guides from for the more extensive projects. But before I can do any of that I need to get all the stuff out of it so I can finish building my shop.
That’s why the next one I build will actually be used as a storage shed – imagine that!
In the past, I built a shed of comparable size (think 12×16 or so) from the ground up – and that was the first complete building I ever designed and built myself. It was used for years for our candle and soap making business, and I really hated to leave it when we decided to move a few years later.
Sure I could have had it loaded on a truck and taken it with us, but that would not have been practical for us at the time since we were doing a major life reset and had decided to live in a 35-foot travel trailer for a year. That’s a whole other story… and a great adventure which both my wife and I really enjoyed!
How I Built My First Shed and You Can Too
When I decided to build that candle and soap shop shed many years ago, I had no real idea of how to build a shed.
What I did have was quite a bit of general knowledge about how homes were built, and general construction skills. Information I had learned over many years. One of my first paying jobs as a kid was as a brick masons apprentice working on new construction homes. Each house took us about a week to brick (all sides – not just the front) and build a fireplace/chimney, etc.
During that time I spent a lot of time on-site looking at how the homes were put together and the general progression of the trades. Many times we were working across the street and next to other homes that were in various stages of being built – so I got to see everything from site prep to foundations to framing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, finish, and landscape on many homes as well as the sales and move-ins of the new owners in some cases.
That was probably the true beginning of my life long interest in real estate. Later I became a real estate investor and a licensed agent, then a property manager and a broker. Since then and over many years I have been involved in countless real estate transactions and have personally been in, toured and inspected thousands of properties.
I love houses and other homes of all sizes, from tiny to huge, though smaller and even tiny structures, in particular, fascinate me the most.
Many other things are interesting to me too. I like boats, sheds, campers, tiny houses, and all sorts of other things and have always been curious about how they all go together, and as a result, have spent more than a little time reading books and plans and looking at how stuff is put together.
But it’s a funny thing when you actually set out to build something that you have never actually built before, even when you think you know somewhat how to go about it.
There are a million small details that make a big difference.
So I was rudely awakened and surprised to learn how much I really did not know about how to actually build the thing myself.
I needed more information.
Shed Building Information Acquisition
As soon as I realized I needed more detailed information I bought a couple of books on shed building and eagerly read them both cover to cover.
I still own them to this day too and they were very helpful.
The first was “Barns Sheds and Outbuildings” by John D. Wagner and Clayton Dekorne and the second book was “Building a Shed” by Joseph Truini (Taunton’s).
Use my affiliate link and get your own copy from amazon.
The next thing I decided to do was to go look at lots of other sheds and see how they were put together.
I started at Lowe’s and looked at pretty much everything they had at the time, large and small. I took a notebook and made sketches, wrote down the components that it took to build each shed. In other words, I counted the 2×4, the plywood, OSB, siding panels, doors, windows, hinges, 4×4’s, and everything else I could see. I even counted the number of shingles on the roof or the number of sheets of metal.
The sheds I looked at were not horrible but they were not well-built either in my opinion and though I did consider buying one I quickly determined it could build it for far less – and I believed I could build it better too.
So I continued looking at more sheds on other lots.
There were a couple of chains and a few custom shed builders I found in the general area – and a couple I had to drive a ways to get to, but to me, it was well worth the trips.
At each one, I did the same thing – made more sketches and took more pictures.
I consider this to be a form of modeling – or reverse engineering if you prefer. Thank Norm Abrams for that, or at least he is one of the people I noticed using this approach. He used to routinely find things he wanted to build and he would take measurements, look at how the thing went together, and then put his own spin on it, usually with plenty of biscuits! Then you could even get a measured drawing from him to build your own if you want to.
From all of the sheds and buildings I had studied, and from the books I read, and the sites I had visited – I took all that information and distilled it down to what I wanted.
Next, I asked my wife what she wanted and how exactly she intended to use it – since it was primarily her candle and soap business and it was her areas of expertise, and she told me what she needed and what she wanted.
From all of that, I came up with a shed design.
Then I put together a materials list and off to Lowe’s I went.
Buy Plans or Develop Your Own
There are plenty of shed plans out there and readily available to you right now.
Some are free, others are a few bucks but not bad – many are under $50 and quite a few are far less than that. The quality is all over the place. Some were thrown together by people who know how to use Sketchup and how to use other design programs – but who have never built a shed in their life!
For that matter, many of them have never built ANYTHING at all with actual tools and their own hands in the real world, although they are very good at using computers to make pretty slick drawings and have some marketing skills.
So just beware.
Some of the plans available online and or by mail are great – some are terrible, and most are somewhere between those two extremes.
The next option is to develop your own plans just as I did.
It can be done – and I know that’s true since I’ve actually done it myself. It will just take more effort than finding and using a good set of ready-made plans.
Want to design your own? Go ahead and do it!
Watch a Few Shed Building Videos on Youtube
I built my first shed long before YouTube was just getting started good and I didn’t even know it existed. It certainly wasn’t what it is today!
There are plenty of shed building videos available to you right now and all are free. So be sure to watch at least a few to get a better idea of how a shed goes together before you run out and buy all your materials.
Books are great.
Good plans are good too – but actually seeing something go together from beginning to end is very helpful and even more so when you combine that with the other things I have already discussed.
Maybe I will even put my own video up when I build the next one, but until then – rest assured – there are plenty of others for you to watch as of right now.
Choosing the Right Size Shed
Sheds come in all sizes from tiny to huge and everything in between.
Some of the common shed sizes you will find include;
Keep in mind that what’s popular varies by area too, and even then it is subject to individual interpretation. All that matters is that you find one that will work for you.
In general – the smaller and simpler it is the less time and the less money it will take you to get the thing actually built and start using it.
Remember too, you can have more than just one!
It might be a good idea to start with something really easy and quick – like an 8 by 10 lean too type shed, or a simple 8×8 shed and get it built. You will learn invaluable skills, build your confidence – and you will have a finished shed in as little as a single weekend.
An experienced builder can put one together in a single day or even less – and you should be able to do it within two long days on a single weekend, even taking your time.
Tools You Will Need to Build Your Own Shed
There isn’t much that is really needed, just s few basic tools really, is all you need to easily do a nice job.
You will need;
1. Tape measure (25′ minimum)
3. Circular Saw
10. Screwdrivers or power driver (recommended!)
There are many other tools that can make the job quicker, easier, and more enjoyable – but this is more than enough to get the job done.
That’s enough to get you started and if you choose to do so – in a few days – you will have your very own shed built with your own hands!