What Size Shed Do I Need?

A shed is an essential extension of your house. It’s a critical piece of real estate in your yard that doubles as a storage unit and place to hold tools, appliances, and even vehicles like lawn tractors and mowers. Identifying the right size of the shed is critical. Of course, you’re wondering, what size shed do I need?

There are many factors you might want to consider before acquiring a shed. This can range from the costs involved, materials, your garden space, and local ordinances.

Step #1: Determine the Purpose of Your Shed

What Size Shed Do I Need

For most of us, a shed is an extra space to store our tools and supplies. However, your shed has many other uses too! It can be used as an art studio, workshop, exercise space or a hobby house.

How you plan to use your shed determines its size. If it’s solely for storage purposes, consider what exactly you will be storing.

The shed size for a riding lawn mower, for instance, would require much more space than gardening tools or sports equipment. A medium sized shed is an ideal choice for multi-use.

I wanted a workshop in my shed, so I had to plan for ample space to fit both people and equipment. I had to plan for increased headroom and a good size door, with space around my workbench to allow me to adjust boards and still have space for my equipment. I added windows to provide some natural light too.

To fit all this, I needed dimensions of 20’ X 10’.

Step #2: How Big Is Your Yard

Yards come in all sizes and shapes. Consider sheds that can fit in your garden space without overwhelming the surroundings.

Also, consider the specific area where you will place your shed. Is there enough room for the shed and its base? For smaller spaces, I recommend going for smaller garden storage options, such as plastic utility cabinets. Small sheds of about 4*6 or 4*8 can also be ideal options for small yards.

Big Sheds

Large gardens call for big sheds. You can opt for one with a dual entrance, which not only maximizes on the space but also on the accessibility.

Check ease of access during installation and maintenance. Leave about 18 inches of space all around the shed. This allows for any roof overhang and leaves room for windows or the door opening.

Moreover, ensure your shed is at least 3 feet away from trees, fencing and other objects. The foundation should measure at least one foot bigger than your shed, on all sides. There is also need to account for setbacks, which include floodplains, roads and property lines.


What is the terrain of your yard? The location of the shed should not be entirely flat. It is best placed on an area where the lowest corner drops not exceeding 3.5 feet when measured from the highest corner. You should also consider measuring the length, height, and width of your yard. The preparation works help with proper placement of your shed.

How to Get Your Shed in Place

Is there a path to placement in your yard? You will need to plan on how your shed will be brought in. A large shed will not fit through a small yard. Look at the entrances to your yard. Are they wide enough to let a shed through?

Sheds for Small Yards

If you are still worried about limited space in your yard, consider a metal shed because some are designed with swinging doors. This eliminates space for a door opening.

Step #3: Local Laws and Regulations

Consult your local building inspector before purchasing a shed. Each city has its limitations on storage buildings. The inspector is authorized to inform you of any laws regarding the foundation, height, and the building codes for shed building. Shed dimension drawings or plans will help this process.

Some shed dimensions are allowed without a building permit. In some states, this includes sheds under 256 square feet, which is a 12’ X 20’ building. However, you may still be required to get a zoning permit before installation.

Step #5: Create a List of What You Want to Store

So, you’ve made your mind up about the best size shed to build. Before making the purchase, first, make a list of all the items you will be storing. The most commonly stored items include tools, bikes, lawn mower, toys, gardening equipment and furniture, paints, and maintenance equipment.

Ensure that all the items you have in mind make a list. A great tip is to then measure each item individually. First, arrange all your tools in a circle and measure while they are still in your garage. This will allow you to approximate the space required inside the shed.

Alternatively, you can plot out the shed’s measurement on a graph paper.  It is best to use a conversion system, which allows for one square of your paper to represent ½ inch of the shed.  Measure the equipment on your list and place them on your graph. Don’t forget to also factor in the walking space.

Leaving additional space to accommodate new equipment. A great DIY tip is adding extra storage space in your shed. This includes shelves, tables, and workbenches.

Step #6: The Style of the Shed

Sheds come in a wide variety of styles and designs. There are many options available on the market that may not require much space. Perhaps lean-to or pent sheds work best for your yard. They have a great design that allows you to position them on small properties.

Additionally, look at where the door is positioned on the shed. Some sheds have the entrance located at the end, while for others; the door is on the longer side. Choose one that allows the best accessibility.

There are three building styles worth noting. A gable shed looks like a house, with similar sloping planes of the same pitch on either side. Opt for a barn shed if you require more headspace, without necessarily having a bigger shed. A tack room is perfect for a gardener, woodworker or hobbyist, as it provides extra room.

The roof is also a vital consideration when making your choice. Do you want to install gutters or a water butt to catch rainwater? Opt for apex sheds. The door is usually located at the end, and the roof slopes down to each side. Thus, the gutter will not hinder your door opening.

Sheds come in various finishes. There are wooden, metal and plastic sheds. Metal sheds are perfect for small yards as they come with sliding doors, which saves on space. Plastic sheds also come in smaller sizes.

Conclusion – Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Without this list, I never would have been able to identify and build my shed. If you consider carefully all the factors I list here, you too can have the shed of your dreams.

I hope you will share your thoughts, good and bad about this article in our comments section. Please don’t hesitate to share this article if you liked it.

Whether it’s for your DIY projects, hobbies or storage, a shed is an excellent addition to your garden.

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