Your Blueprint for Building the Ultimate Utility Shed

Tons of reasons exist to add a shed to your yard. Backyard Buildings has a list of ten solid reasons, but a couple stand out as ironclad reasons to get a shed.

Storage is obviously the number one reason. With a large storage shed, you don’t have to keep looking at the boxes in your closet, attic, or garage anymore and wonder where all the stuff will go. Your new shed takes care of that issue.

The same goes for your kids’ yard toys, lawn care, and gardening equipment. You’d be surprised at just how much stuff will end up in your shed.

Regardless of how you use it, your new shed will be a utility for your home. Getting started with building, though, is the place where many people get stuck. To help you get over that initial speed bump, we put together this blueprint for building the ultimate storage shed.

Start with sizes, like plans for a 12 x 20 shed

According to research from The Atlantic, the average lot size for a house in America is .19 acres. That’s a 13% drop since 1978, even though average house size has increased dramatically. Lot size and lawn size, though, differ. The average yard size is right around .14 acres, or 6,098 square feet.

Driveways, patios, and decks eat up a quick chunk of that space, as do garages and carports. However, that still leaves plenty of room for a 12 x 20 shed, which is one of the most popular sizes we sell here at Sheds.com.

But every yard is different, and so are the storage needs of every individual household. Start your plans for your large storage shed by estimating the size of shed you’ll need.

You do that by gathering all of the items you think you’ll store in the shed out on your lawn. Next, you’ll measure an even square/rectangle around those items, adding a few extra feet for additional items and walking room.

That final number is a good size of shed to consider buying. A 12 x 20 shed, for example, will comfortably hold a riding lawn mower, snowblower, bicycle, wheelbarrow, and plenty of gardening equipment.

Find your style

Once you have your size figured out, it’s time to determine the style of shed you want. You can break those choices into three general categories:

  • Cottage - exactly as it sounds. It’s an outdoor building that looks like a cottage and doubles as storage space. It’s great if you have kids and want to provide them with additional play space alongside your new storage. The Cedar Shed Clubhouse is a great example of the blending of a cottage and a storage shed.
  • Gable - this is your typical shed style, with a gabled (or pitched) roof. The gable gives you more headroom to work with. The Duramax Gable Roof Building is a popular gable-style shed.
  • Barn - this style of shed has a roomier roof than a gabled shed, with more rafter space and wall space for mounting shelves. The Little Cottage Co. Classic Gambrel Barn is a good example of what this style looks like in your yard.

What material?

Next you get to pick out the material for your shed. Since we’re dealing with utility sheds today, we’ll disregard fabric sheds as an option. While fabric is great in its specific uses, other materials are more reasonable long-term solutions.

Those materials are:

  • Metal - easily the most durable material you can buy. Galvanized steel prevents rust and corrosion, while proper ventilation keeps moisture out. Severe weather will have almost no effect on the integrity of a metal shed. They do, however, tend to cost a bit more than others.
  • Plastic/Vinyl - either term works, as plastic or vinyl sheds are built from ultra-tough polycarbonate that’s lightweight, impervious to rain and snow, but not as maintenance-free as a metal shed. Where metal doesn’t stain easily, vinly will. These sheds don’t cost as much as metal, though, and offer comparable protection from bad weather.
  • Wood - a really popular material because of its cost. Cedar is most commonly used, as it’s naturally water and UV-repellent. You do have regular maintenance with a wood shed, including sanding and staining.
  • Fabric - Looking for a more temporary and portable backyard storage solution? Our selection of fabric sheds and garages are the easiest to assemble and can withstand some of the tougher elements if properly cared for. With anti UV covers and high quality steel frames, these structures are some of the most convenient we offer.

Now what?

You’ve found the right size, style, and material for your large storage shed - now what do you do?

You can look for different utility shed plans to get a firm idea of how others have assembled and continue to use theirs. This is a good resource for that type of thing.

If you still haven’t found the right layout and use for your utility shed, you can take a look at the Arrow Woodridge or the Newburgh to get an idea of exactly how your utility shed should look and function.

All that’s left is to get your shed, put it together, and start enjoying the benefits a well-built utility shed brings to your yard.


For more inspiration and tips on storage sheds, check out our blog