I’m in the process of building my own home. My father is a contractor and so I’ve grown up around the process my whole life. But I’ve never done it by myself. Needless to say it’s a daunting task and it takes a lot of my time but I enjoy it.

Most of the beginning stages I’ve subbed out to contractors. But as the house starts to take shape (we are in the framing stage), I’ve begun to think about building my own shed. We have over one hundred plans available now and so I have many options. But I have to ask myself, what is the right shed for me? Because size is such an important factor, I wanted to expound on in this article. Let’s break it down into a couple different questions you’ll want to ask yourself.

What is my budget?

Most of us don’t have an unlimited dollars when it comes to building sheds. Usually we scrape together the money needed and built it on a budget. You definitely will save money if you decide to do it yourself, but depending on what materials you use, it still can be expensive. The general rule of thumb we use at DIY-Plans.com is for every square foot, you can count on a cost of $10-$20. So if you want to build a basic 8×10 shed using composite panel siding (T1-11), it would cost around $800. Of course material prices can vary wildly based on where you live. So do you research, use our material list (included in every plan), and price out your material options.

What am I using the shed for?

If you are reading this article, you probably have a good idea of what you are going to put in your shed, and therefore have a good idea of how big it needs to be. Small sheds, like 4×4 or 4×6, are only big enough to storage basic yard tools, a small lawn mower, and little else. Other midsize sheds like 8×10 or 10×12 have more ample room to store a riding lawn mower, store lots of yard tools and probably most of your construction or automotive tools. If you are looking for a large shed, bigger than 150 square feet, you will be looking to store small vehicles, maybe use it as a long term storage solution, a workshop, office, or backyard bedroom. Most of the time, this size of out-building will require a building permit from your local municapality. Knowing the purpose of your shed will help you understand the size it needs to be.

What sizing constraints do I have?

Many people would love to build a huge shed but simply cannot due to yard constraints. For example, you may have a small backyard and don’t have a big enough area to build what you want. You don’t want your shed to overpower your yard. Having the shed too long, wide, or tall could make your property less appealing to the eye. Once you have a tentative size in mind, I suggest outlining your outside dimensions with spray paint or lumber where the shed’s final resting place will be located. That way you will have a good idea of size before you start building.

Custom size vs Best use of Materials?

If you take a visit to the lumberyard, you will notice most sheet goods (plywood and paneling) are sold in only one size, 48 inches by 96 inches. Also your dimensional lumber (2×4’s, 2×6’s) are generally sold in lengths of 8, 10, 12, and 16 feet. Knowing this when determining the size of your shed will help you maximize materials. For example, it’s a lot faster and cheaper to build an 8×12 shed than a 10×10 shed. Due to the additional 2 feet for width and subtraction of the 2 feet for the length, more time will be required cutting the 4×8 sheets up to size. Also cost is more. For example, you will need 4 sheets of plywood for a 10×10 floor vs. only 3 sheets for an 8×12 floor.

Also remember no one sells 6 foot tall studs. They are all a minimum of 8 feet tall. So why build a shed wall that’s only 6 feet tall. For $0 additional dollars, you can add 2 more feet in height to your shed. Which creates more head room, and more than 25% more of wall storage area.

Good luck on your shed project and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Try out our shed finder page that helps you determine the best shed for your needs.