Outdoor Shed Buying Guide

Things You Need to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Shed

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Purchasing an outdoor shed is often a significant purchase within the household budget so as part of your due diligence, it makes sense to learn a little about the various types of outdoor storage units and then marry them up against what you actually need for your yard. An outdoor shed buying guide can help steer you in the right direction so you end up purchasing a shed that will meet your storage needs and remain within your budget. You need to feel you are receiving value for your money and that the shed you buy will meet your purchasing criteria.

Set Your Boundaries

Yes, you need some boundaries. You can easily become carried away with the huge range of enticing sheds available, complete with skylights and windows, but first of all, you need to work out what you will be using your shed for, why you need it, how large it needs to be, maintenance requirements, long term durability, strength, and price. You should consider where in your yard it will be located, what type of preparation is required, and if it will look as though it belongs in your yard and not stick out like a sore thumb. Aesthetically, you need to think about the overall look of your house and yard and select a shed that will complement it.


One of the best ways to work out what size shed you will need is to gather up all the things you are going to store in there and arrange them in your yard. Then measure the space it takes up, taking care to allow a couple of feet extra all the way around. You might be surprised at the size of storage space you will need, but this beats guessing any day and getting an unwanted surprise when your things don’t fit.  A rule of thumb is that the larger the amount of yard you have to care for, the more shed storage for tools you will need. It doesn’t hurt either if you measure the largest items as well. You could even try setting out the items in a sample floor layout plan to get a feel for what could go where. After that, measure the space again.

What is Going to be Stored?

You need to consider this one, particularly if others plan to store things there. For example, you might want to store pool cleaning equipment and chemicals there, but the kids want to put their bikes in. Kids and chemicals don’t mix, so you need to think about either two smaller sheds or a different option for the kids’ bikes. Maybe kids’ bikes and pool toys have a separate storage option. You will need to determine if one large shed will suit your yard in terms of size and function or if two or three smaller storage solutions will work better.

Types of Sheds

The most common types these days come in kits, and you put it together yourself. It is an easy way to achieve the finished product quickly and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Outdoor storage comes in many different styles and sizes and includes everything you need to build your shed. You can choose different material types as well. For example, plastic and/or vinyl, metal, or wood are the most common. Everything is pre-cut to size for you as well, and some include internal shelving, windows, and skylights.

You must do some research and look at all the available options. For example, you can add extra modules onto some sheds as your storage requirements change. It would be a shame to find out about this three years down the track after you have purchased a shed that doesn’t have an extension option. Financially, purchasing one new module is better than a whole new shed. Also, check how difficult it might be to assemble. What is thought to be easy for some can be difficult for others. The easiest sheds to assemble are usually the vinyl variety.


Storage Sheds can range in price from under $100 to in excess of $5000 and more, depending on the size and quality. The saying that you receive what you pay for is especially true regarding outdoor sheds. Budget is always an important consideration, which is why you need to be sure about what you are buying and why you are buying it. As with most things, do your research, read reviews on Amazon and other sites, and make sure you have a flat-level area to erect your shed.

Here are a few sheds that we have reviewed on the site. We’ve put the more popular sheds in the table below. This isn’t an exhaustive list; you can find many more shed reviews by browsing our site.

Our Review
Read Review
suncast GS17500
Suncast GS17500
Rubbermaid horizontal Shed
Rubbermaid Horizontal Storage Shed
Suncast BMS4900 Glidetop
Suncast BMS4950 Glidetop slide lid shed
Rubbermaid X-Large Storage Shed
Rubbermaid Roughneck X Large Storage Shed

Site Preparation

This is possibly the most critical part of assembling your storage building. The prepared area, regardless of whether it is concrete or anything else, must be perfectly level. The base must be level for all parts of the shed to align correctly. A lot of people who try to erect an outdoor shed don’t understand the importance of this and become upset with the shed because it won’t align correctly. The misalignment will generally not become apparent until it is time to put the roof trusses in. A perfectly level base will avoid this and save you from having to pull it down and start over. Factor this in right from the get-go. Read more about shed site preparation.


One of the most overlooked yet critical is whether or not you will need a permit to erect your new storage space. This can depend on the size of the shed and your local building codes; if so, it will need to comply with your local codes.  You should do some quick research before investing in a shed. Also, be sure to check your homeowner’s association requirements.  Even if you don’t need a permit, there can be height restrictions and rules about how close the shed can be to the property line.  Some require this type of thing, and others do not, so it is important to check first and avoid possible fines and delays.

Shed Maintenance

Vinyl is the most popular material for outdoor storage sheds because of its low maintenance requirements. If you are careful not to stack firewood against it and keep grass away from the edges, the durability of vinyl will ensure it holds its shape and color. Basic cleaning is generally adequate for man-made sheds as opposed to wood and metal sheds, which require much more regular maintenance.

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