Choosing a Garden Shed that Will Last for Years

Reader Contribution by Micki Brown
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Eleven years ago, my husband and I were in the market for a new garden shed to store and protect all of our gardening equipment. We had moved into our home a year earlier and all of this “stuff” had been left outside on the patio. Not only was it unsightly, but the wind and rain had started to cause the tools to rust and the wooden handles were starting to decay. Creatures such as spiders were making homes under the rototiller, lawn mower and chipper/shredder.

During our research, we discovered that there are many things to consider when looking for a shed. The first thing we needed to think about was how much space was needed to adequately store everything and still be easily accessible. I also wanted an area inside the shed were I could have a potting bench. We decided that a 10-foot by 10- or 12-foot shed would be just right for our stuff and the area we would be putting it in – a nice well-drained, high but level spot adjacent to our vegetable garden.

Another consideration was whether or not a permit was required. My husband inquired with our city and found out that the largest shed we could put up without a permit was 120 square feet – just right for our needs. The place we purchased our shed said that the 120 square-foot size is typical, but the permit requirements can vary from city to city. I suggest that you check with your city first to see what the permit requirements are.

Now for the shopping part: There are dozens of sheds to choose from, including those for the budget minded all the way to the money-is-no-object models. There are homemade sheds, metal sheds, plastic sheds, and wooden sheds. Styles vary from the standard flat roofs, peaks, or barns, to liveries and other western styles, just to get the list started. Wooden sheds offer various siding materials from inexpensive wafer board to T1-11 and everything in between. Sheds can be built on skids or be anchored to the ground. Optional items can include windows, turbines, skylights, different door styles and widths, porches and more.

Some sheds come in do-it-yourself kits, while others can be built on site or delivered completely built and placed on a level site.

Once the shed is built, some kind of protective material should be applied. If you choose a metal or plastic shed, this isn’t usually necessary, but for wood, a good quality stain and water sealant or paint can make the shed last for years and years.

After extensive research and shopping around, we ended up choosing a barn-style shed from Shed World, happens to be in the city we live in. Although their prices were a tad higher than other places we checked out, we felt that the quality was well worth it. The shed has T1-11 siding, a roof that has overhangs all around (lets dust, bird droppings and rain fall to the ground rather than down the shed walls), shingle placement to withstand relatively high winds (common here in the High Desert of Southern California), flashing around the roof line for extra durability, heavy duty hinges and latches, and long-lasting heavy duty skids. The options we chose included two windows, plus a turbine to help keep the shed ventilated and cooler in the summer months.

We had the shed built on site because we didn’t have the access for a delivery truck with the completed shed option. The company’s builders arrived around 8 a.m. one morning with all of the required lumber and parts, and built the entire shed from scratch by 4 p.m. the same day.

The following weekend we moved all of our stuff inside and applied a quality stain – a barn red color for the siding with complementary white trim. To further enhance the looks, we added some low-water use plantings around the shed’s perimeter.

Here we are 11 years later and the shed still looks great. Our research paid off in that we ended up with an attractive shed that is holding up very well, and is still addressing our needs.

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