How to Buy a Storage Shed

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For people without a garage or basement to store their garden necessities, a prefabricated shed can be a lifesaver. Sheds and shed kits for every budget are available at home and garden centers, and online at sites such as Gardensheds.com. Choose a size and material that works with your space, and you can keep your tools, bags of soil, lawn mower and assorted junk out of sight and safe from the elements.

Decide how much storage space you need. A lean-to shed 6 feet (1.8 m) long and 3 to 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 m) wide is big enough for tools and might cost a few hundred dollars. If you'll be storing a lawn mower and more, look for a freestanding shed measuring 6 by 8 feet (1.8 by 2.4 m), which will cost $1,000 or more.

Consider the material not only for looks but for what you need to store. Cedar siding is long lasting, readily available and weathers to a gray color, or you can paint or stain it with wood preservative to keep it brown. Vinyl siding that looks like wood is a less expensive and even longer-lasting alternative. Metal sheds heat up quickly to high temperatures in the summer, so they're not recommended for storing gasoline or other volatile liquids and fertilizers.

Make sure the entrance is wide enough to get a cart, wheelbarrow and other equipment comfortably through the door-- say, 3 feet (.9 m).

Choose a combination greenhouse and storage shed to maximize the pace. One measuring 8 by 10 feet (2.4 by 3 m) can accommodate both tools and plants, with special shelves for setting seedlings out.

Take advantage of features to help you work: windows and skylights for natural light, benches for work space, ramps for easier wheeled entry.

Visualize how the shed will look in your yard. Even a small one can seem large. Landscaping around it with shrubs and trees can make it blend into the garden.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do-it-yourselfers can pick up a shed kit or buy plans and build one on their own.
  • If you're willing to pay twice the money for the convenience, you can have a prebuilt shed delivered and installed by one of the large home-improvement stores.
  • Consider turning your shed into a potting room come springtime. You can pot up seedlings or sit down with a cup of coffee while you plan your next harvest.

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