Selecting a suitable Garden Shed is not as straightforward as it seems.
There is such a variety of styles, materials, sizes and construction methods, you can easy spend weeks driving around various garden centres trying to pick the right one.
Our overview of Garden Sheds for sale in the UK and Ireland, provided below, can hopefully save you a lot of time by helping you narrow down your options.
Garden Sheds – Roof Shapes
Apart from contemporary styles like the UK-designed Archipod (top right), garden sheds usually come with one of two roof styles – pent or apex.
Pent garden sheds (bottom left picture) are built with a gently sloping roof, with the highest part of the shed in the front or the back.
Apex garden sheds (pictures top left and bottom right), are tallest in the middle with the roof sloping to the sides of the shed (sheds with side entrance) or to front and back (sheds with front entrance).
Apex sheds can have either high-peaked roofs (top left) or gently sloping ones (bottom right).
Apex or Pent Roof?
The choice between an apex or a pent roof may seem like a trivial point, but it is not.
Pent roofs are better suitable for areas where height is limited or restricted e.g. under overhanging branches or next to a wall. They are however a bad option if you experience a lot of snowfall. Snow tends to accumulate on a pent roof weighing it down. This can, in extreme cases, cause the roof to cave in. Apex sheds are better suited for such extreme weather conditions.
Apex sheds also offer a little more storage capacity due to the extra height. This can make it easier to store taller items, such as parasols, fishing rods, or sports equipment. However, your neighbours might object if you place your apex shed close to the fence and they can see its roof sticking out above the hedges.
Apex roofs are generally more suitable for larger sheds, while pent roofs are traditionally applied on smaller sheds used to store garden tools, lawnmowers, firewood, bikes or pool equipment.
Another important point to look out for is the size of the overhang of the eaves. Ideally they should overhang the sides and ends of your shed by at least 5cm (2in) to give added rainfall protection to the cladding.
Garden Sheds – Construction Materials
There are three types of materials used in building garden sheds:
- metal (steel or aluminium)
- wood (timber)
- plastic (PVC/Vinyl)
Wooden sheds are the most popular due to their traditional, rustic appearance, allowing them to easily blend into the garden. Steel sheds are popular due to their ease of assembly, durability and low maintenance requirements.
Wooden sheds are more suitable to cold weather and do not suffer from condensation issues (like metal sheds). They can therefore be used for housing small pets, such as rabbits or guinea pigs.
Wooden sheds can be constructed from different types of timber, their price therefore can vary vastly. Most commonly used softwood is pine.
Sheds made from pressure treated timber are more expensive but usually last longer. Those made from dip treated wood usually require further annual treatments with preservative – an added expense which you will need to factor in to your total cost.
Undeniably the best timber for garden sheds is red cedar, as it is weatherproof and more sturdy than other timbers. With less than half the swelling and shrinking tendency of lesser softwoods, cedar timber lies flat, stays straight, retains fasteners and provides a firm base for paints and stains. Maintenance is therefore minimized for real long-term savings.
Cedar wood is a natural insect repellent that also resists rotting and fungal attack.
Most cedar wood trees are grown in controlled forests. With strict management codes governing harvesting and reforestation, cedar garden sheds are an environmentally friendly choice . Unfortunately they are also the most expensive.
Metal sheds are made from corrugated iron (steel) or aluminium sheets. Some manufacturers use rust-resistant pcv coated steel or galvanised steel. The best known brand of metal sheds is Yardmaster.
Whereas wooden sheds usually require annual treating (Fire-proofing, Insect-proofing, Weather-proofing, Rot-proofing), metal sheds merely require an occasional hosing down .
One drawback often associated with metal sheds is rust. Unless you buy a shed made from galvanised steel or pvc coated steel, your shed will rust after a few years, especially if your ground is wet and the shed is placed in the shade.
Another drawback of metal sheds is thermal insulation – they heat up excessively in high temperatures and have mildew, condensation or rust problems in the rainy season.
The third garden shed material, quickly gaining in popularity, is plastic. Most of the plastic sheds are manufactured from uPVC, a thermoplastic polymer used to manufacture window frames, gutters and fascia boards. The best known brands of plastic sheds are Arrow, Keter Duramax, Rubbermaid and Suncast.
Plastic sheds are waterproof, do not require painting, will resist fungal attacks and are virtually indestructible.
Plastic sheds will withstand the harshest weather conditions like severe winters and heavy snow or rainfall. Unfortunately plastic sheds don’t blend as well with the environment like wooden sheds. If the plastic shed is not UV-protected or not made from uPVC, the colors may fade over time and the shed may become brittle.
Plastic sheds are also not as flexible in terms of putting up shelves and accessories as wooden sheds, you cannot just stick a nail in them to hang something. To put up shelves and hooks you need to purchase special brackets and accessories.
Garden sheds – Cladding and Construction
Cladding is the term that describes the external skin (or look) of a building. Cladding is responsible for weatherproofing your garden shed and its aesthetic effect.
Most wooden sheds are constructed using either overlap (1.) or tongue and groove cladding style (2.).
Overlap cladding is more cost effective, the sheds constructed using this method are therefore cheaper. It also gives the shed a nice, rustic feel. However overlap cladding is more likely to warp and buckle than either tongue and groove or shiplap cladding.
Tongue and groove cladding is the stronger of the two styles. The wooden boards interlock (like laminate floor boards), which stops the boards from slipping apart. Tongue and groove cladding is usually more expensive than overlap as it offers more sturdiness and better weatherproofing.
Some of the tongue and groove sheds use shiplap style of cladding (3.), which allows the rainwater to run off more easily, thus protecting the joints of the timber. It also gives the shed a more interesting, rustic look.
Garden Sheds – Which cladding type should you choose?
If sturdiness and security is your primary concern, choose shiplap cladding for your garden shed.
If price and rustic look is what you are after, select overlap cladding. Just remember that what you save in initial price may cost you more in the long run in maintenance.
Thickness of the cladding and overall wall thickness of your garden shed is also very important. The thicker the cladding the stronger and more resilient the shed. Economy sheds may have a chipboard or plywood wall with cladding only a few millimetres thick ,whilst a more expensive, heavy duty shed, will have a wall at least 30 mm thick.
Remember when comparing the prices of similar sheds to pay attention not only to the type of cladding but also to the wall thickness. A 20 mm wall shed will obviously be much cheaper than a 34 mm wall shed. Unfortunately the fist one may collapse with the first stronger gust of wind or some heavy snowfall.
Garden Sheds – Windows and doors
When selecting a garden shed, pay a close attention to the widows and doors. Are they well fitted? Are the hinges and locks rust-proof? Are the doors wide enough to fit your lawnmower, your bike or other tools and equipment? If possible, select windows that open upwards so the water does not run in if they are accidentally left open in the rain. You may also want to consider skylights instead of windows.
Doors and windows pose a higher security risk, so if you plan to store valuable equipment and tools, better choose a shed without windows or add the cost of installing security cameras, alarms or other security devices into your budget.
Doors need to be strong with cross-bracing to prevent warping, and have strong hinges to prevent them from dropping which is a common problem in garden sheds.
Garden Sheds – The floor
When buying a shed, pay attention to the construction of the shed floor. Some suppliers use plywood or chipboard, rather than treated wood boards. If you get seduced by a lower price, you may soon end up with a shed that looks like the one on the left.
Other floor options
If your shed is installed on top of a concrete base, you can use ceramic or vinyl tiles as the flooring. If you plan to use your shed as an office, animal shed or a workshop, a solid wooden floor, raised off the ground and insulated, will be much warmer.
Garden Sheds – The purpose
Garden sheds are used for a wide variety of purposes – as tool sheds, children playhouses, workshops and garden offices.
The purpose of your garden shed greatly influences the shape of your shed and the choice of construction material.
If you need a storage shed for your lawnmower or your pool equipment, your best choice would be a shed with a wide door and a shed that would not require much maintenance. If you are not concerned with shed security, a plastic shed would be your best option.
If you want to store your bikes, you need a shed that offers ease of access and good security. A metal shed would be the best option, but you may have a problem with condensation, if your shed is small and not well ventilated.
Wooden sheds are suitable for most purposes, but they require annual maintenance and they are therefore the most expensive in the long run.
Ready to buy your garden shed?
We hope that this guide has somehow helped you to narrow your choices. Now click on one of the links below to browse our wide selection of both new and pre-owned garden sheds for sale. Here are the links to our online store:
All garden sheds can be delivered and installed on your premises. In some cases delivery and installation costs are included in the price, in others they are an optional extra. All garden sheds come with manufacturer’s warranties. We only promote the best brands and are always willing to advise you which shed would be best for your particular application.
Although we obviously try to sell sheds, we are not biased in our advice and would never recommend a shed that you will be unhappy with. We don’t promote one specific manufacturer, but give you our honest review of the brands and designs we truly believe in.
Bespoke Garden Sheds
If you can’t find a suitable shed, maybe you should consider building a bespoke one.
You can buy Garden Shed Plans and all necessary materials via our website. We also have links to carpenters and handyman if constructing a shed on your own seems like a daunting task.
All our garden shed plans come with a full bill of materials, drawings and step-by-step instructions (including a video on “How to build a garden shed in 10 steps or less…“).
If you have any questions regarding building or buying garden sheds, you are welcome to contact us.