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Planning and Designing a Shed
Sheds have become multipurpose, must-have buildings that are competing with pergolas and gazebos as your next backyard project. Pictures on social media only grab people's desires more. Before going any further, do your research. Figure out what you need it for and why, and whether you will build the shed yourself, or hire a pro. Check with your local planning department to comply with codes and guidelines. Determine if the shed will mirror the architectural features of your home--always a good idea. Assess your budget, materials needed, and the time it will take to complete the project.
Excuse Me, Your Roof Is Showing
Because a shed is not as tall as a regular building, the roof will be clearly visible. Design a roof with a pitch and materials that are attractive and feasible. Common roofing materials include:
- Cedar shingles
- Cedar Shakes
- Real or faux slate
- A green or living roof
Sources and DIY or Pro?
If you have the do-it-yourself skills and an open timeframe, check out the various plans available online or for purchase. Make sure you thoroughly understand the instructions and actually have the ability and tools to do the job. Other sources for sheds include prefabricated buildings that you would order from a reputable company and kits. Some include pre-cut lumber that is shipped to your house. Before ordering, find out if additional milling, drilling, or cutting will be needed, along with necessary tools.
Additional options include ready-built sheds that are shipped completely assembled. Find out if these will need to be finished, sanded, and painted or stained. Prefab and already-built sheds are an attractive concept but investigate shipping costs. Consider feasibility and logistically how you'll manage the project. Some sheds are delivered by a truck equipped with a crane. Will the crane be able to drive on your property and deliver the building without tearing down walls or fences or plowing over a lawn or garden?
Ambitious recyclers build sheds from existing materials, like doors, reclaimed lumber, windows, and the ever-popular crates. If you are on a tight budget but really want a shed, research the DIY projects featured on social media, in books, and home and garden websites like The Spruce. Whatever you decide, try to follow through with the project. You don't need the added stress of a half-finished shed every time you walk out your back door.Continue to 2 of 27 below.
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Architect's Cozy Shed
Accessible via a path or the alley, an old-fashioned looking garden shed in the Eugene, Oregon, yard of architect David Edrington is tall and narrow with lots of details. Designed by Edrington, of course, the shed features a front porch, a door and 11 windows painted to match other architectural elements and trim, and exterior shingles.
Edrington used recycled and repurposed materials to build the shed. Restored garage doors were used for the south wall to allow light to filter through, good for seedlings. The floors are made of recycled brick on sand. A pull-down ladder leads to the second floor, where the architect built beds and tables as a cozy sleeping nook for his grandchildren. In the afternoons, Edrington and his wife enjoy a cup of tea in the shed.Continue to 3 of 27 below.
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A wooden shed in Louisville, Kentucky, built by Graham Design and Construction sports a lovely green roof planted with sedums, a type of succulent. A rubber roof membrane was installed prior to planting the growing medium and plants. Without its protection, the roof would rot.Continue to 4 of 27 below.
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Vintage Cottage She Shed
The female version of man caves is she sheds: havens to escape that can be designed and decorated in whatever style the owner desires. Inspired by a tiny hummingbird viewed nearby, this shed is aptly named Hummingbird Cottage. Lovely photos on Instagram reveal that the shed is used for art projects, as a retreat, displaying vintage pottery, and for entertaining friends. Extras like a hanging faux-crystal chandelier, potted flowering plants, wreaths, and stained glass give it a personal touch.Continue to 5 of 27 below.
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Where Maple Syrup Is Made
Osborn Studio + built a farmhouse-style shed in Burlington, Vermont, that includes a cupola, which is a dome-like structure on top of a building. The reason? In the spring, maple syrup is made inside the shed and steam from the evaporator is released through the cupola. It also makes a charming addition.Continue to 6 of 27 below.
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A tiny shed in a Denver backyard gets the modern treatment from Affordable Views by RJB Construction with a red retro door, steeply pitched roof and clerestory windows.Continue to 7 of 27 below.
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In the backyard of her Texas home, Kathy works on her crafts in her "she shed by the woods," named Kattz Cottage. The shed is a smaller, stylized version of her 1891-built full-size cottage.Continue to 8 of 27 below.
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Seattle-based wedding and event florist and designer Tara Millar use the custom-built shed studio in her backyard to store and arrange many of her beautiful creations that feature large blooms and assorted local greenery. The studio includes a wooden deck and glass-paned doors and windows.Continue to 9 of 27 below.
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Plenty of Room With a View
A shed-like companion residence was built adjacent to the existing house on this property in Austin, Texas. Designed and constructed by Moontower, the structure features exposed plywood, blackened steel, clear sealed cedar, and pine, exposed structural elements, and utilitarian lighting fixtures. A balcony gives the building a treehouse feel and offers views of the Austin skyline and a nearby college bell tower.Continue to 10 of 27 below.
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Urban Greenhouse Shed
Since outdoor space is limited in a big city, everyone knows you must make smart use of vertical real estate. For a greenhouse/shed in San Francisco's Bernal Heights, Step 3 Studio designed in an open-framework structure that provides shelter for a garden shed that stores potting materials and plants on the ground floor. A steel staircase was built on site, which leads to a second level surfaced in steel grid mesh. The higher elevation is the perfect spot for container plants that require more sun. It's also a nice place to hang out and enjoy views of the city, day or night.Continue to 11 of 27 below.
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Shed With a Deck
Galvanized steel stanchions, stainless steel wire, and a hardwood cap were used for the railing of this modern shed built by J. C. Stoneman Construction. Located in Port Townsend, Washington, the modern shed features a sliding glass door, clerestory windows, and a pitched roof that overhangs the porch and provides shade. The siding is made of Western red cedar.Continue to 12 of 27 below.
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She Shed Trailer
Search the hashtag #vintagetrailers on Instagram and you'll discover some 80,000 images of big, small, and mid-sized aluminum travel trailers from roughly the 1950s to 1970s. You might find gleaming silver Airstreams at a lodging rental in Joshua Tree or parked temporarily at a campground near Yellowstone. One trend that hasn't lost steam is the backyard she-shed trailer escape, a dolled-up adult playhouse where women--or men--can escape for alone time or hang out with friends and a bottle or two of wine. There's even a Vintage Trailer Magazine for enthusiasts. This vintage Aljo trailer rests in the backyard of a house in Pasadena, California.Continue to 13 of 27 below.
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Eichler Home and Shed
A 1964-built Eichler home was bought in original condition with vintage appliances, fixtures, and finishes. The new owners wanted to retain its iconic midcentury modern design but requested that Gast Architects make some updates to create a calm, light-filled, and inviting home. Gast strived to preserve the signature finishes of the house while creating a larger, more modern kitchen, opening up the floor plan, and updating the master suite. The shed in the backyard repeats the lines of the main house, resembling a mini Eichler.Continue to 14 of 27 below.
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Pasadena, California, is known for its Craftsman style homes, a great number of which have been carefully preserved and restored. Owned by a University of Southern California (USC)-educated architect, Nott & Associates specializes in the Craftsman style. For a backyard shed, Nott custom designed and constructed the wooden doors, which include period-perfect details and hardware.Continue to 15 of 27 below.
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Folding glass doors let the light into this sunny shed designed by Fergus, Garber, Young Architects, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The building is easily accessible from the main house via a wood deck.Continue to 16 of 27 below.
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Victoria, Australia-based Archiblox designs and makes sustainable, prefabricated modular residential and commercial projects. This simple, straightforward, and modern structure can be used as a studio, office, guest house, or pretty much whatever you desire. Modules can be grouped together for larger spaces and are designed to subtly echo the geometrical arrangement seen in nature.Continue to 17 of 27 below.
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A Fine British Man Cave
It's a work in progress and likely a labor of love for Rob, aka Weekend Shed Head, who chronicles the construction of his backyard man cave in Nottingham, England, on his Instagram account and YouTube channel. An experienced and enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer, he sort of makes things up as he goes along and seems to know what he's doing. Along the way, Rob posts photos of train stations, the curry dinners and full English breakfasts he cooks, and charming flowers and decor in the garden.Continue to 18 of 27 below.
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A Place to Grow recycles greenhouses to create she sheds, wine rooms, art studios, and meditation retreats. For a client in Los Osos, California, a shed is used as a sewing room and private escape. When designing studios and hobby sheds, allow room for shelving, storage, and workspace. Naturally, the space will need to be wired for proper lighting.Continue to 19 of 27 below.
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Not a Garage
In a Vero Beach, Florida, midcentury modern neighborhood, Sanders Pace Architecture retained the lines and essence of the original house while redesigning it for their client's 21st-century lifestyle. Although it's at the front of the house and initially might resemble a garage, the detached "shed" can be used as a private studio or for guests. Because it's located on the coast, hurricane-proof doors were needed, but cedar was installed over them for an attractive but sturdy structure.Continue to 20 of 27 below.
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Artist Marie Kennedy has a delightful little pottery studio in the backyard of her home in Manassas, Virginia. There, she creates vases, honeypots, mugs, and other handcrafted pieces to sell on her Etsy shop.Continue to 21 of 27 below.
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The slanted roof of a modern house in the San Francisco Bay Area is echoed in this small wooden tool shed. Conceived by Astrid Gaiser Garden Design, the shed becomes an interesting part of the landscape design instead of something tucked or hidden in a corner or side yard. Gaiser even added a chalkboard for kids and adults to draw and write messages.Continue to 22 of 27 below.
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Portland, Maine, garden designer Robin Amorello of Atmoscaper Design transformed an abandoned shed at the edge of her gravel driveway into a cheerful and inviting retreat. Planter boxes hold seasonal vegetables and herbs.Continue to 23 of 27 below.
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Count yourself lucky if you can keep your rabbits outdoors, where the wind blows and odors won't be trapped inside. While you still have to maintain their cages, a whimsical two-story shed/hutch will provide plenty of room for them to do what they do best.Continue to 24 of 27 below.
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Depending on the need, a shed can be turned into a playhouse or a playhouse can be turned into a shed. When your children outgrow their cute playhouse, transform it into a storage shed or a meditation studio. If you live in your house long enough, your grandchildren may enjoy the playhouse and you'll be glad you kept it.Continue to 25 of 27 below.
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Colorful Tool Shed
On his big lot in Texas, Jeremy Conner recently built a tool shed with a rustic door, windows, and a handsome roof. It was just a "weekend project," says Conner.Continue to 26 of 27 below.
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If your dog has a house of her or his own in the backyard, you might as well make it stylish, like this cool, modern design in West Los Angeles.Continue to 27 of 27 below.
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Japanese Tea House Shed
A midcentury modern home in coastal Orange County, California, has enough room in its backyard for a swimming pool and a prefab Japanese-style tea house. The owner, a nurse, likes to relax and take a nap in the charming escape when she is off duty.