Last updated: August 5, 2021

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A well-maintained garden requires a lot of work and care, as is generally known. But where to put all the tools and utensils without spoiling the beautiful garden? Tool sheds offer a remedy for this. They not only offer you additional storage space for your garden tools and machines, but also protect you from the weather.

They come in a wide variety of designs. You can find out how to find out which garden shed is most suitable for you and fits best in your garden here in our large garden shed guide.




Summary

  • Sheds differ not only in terms of material, but before you buy you should be aware of possible different features and think carefully about what you are looking for.
  • Not all garden sheds require an official permit, but this can vary from state to state.
  • Depending on the shed, you should plan for more work and maintenance for some than for others.

The Best Garden Shed: Our Selection

Garden shed: Buying and evaluation criteria

In this section, we will show you some decision-making criteria that will help you find the most suitable garden shed for you and what you should consider before buying.

The criteria you can use to compare garden sheds with each other are:

In the following paragraphs, we will explain exactly what the individual criteria are.

Purpose

A garden shed can fulfil various purposes. Primarily, garden sheds serve to protect machines, tools and garden equipment from the weather and to keep the garden tidy.

Not only handicraft items can be stored in a garden shed. They are often used to store larger equipment such as lawn mowers, bicycles, or even items such as bins.

Before buying, you should therefore think carefully about what you want to store in your garden shed and what purpose it will serve. Do you only want a small garden shed for garden tools and equipment? Or do you want to combine it with other useful elements for your garden?

Material

Whether made of wood, metal or plastic, the choice of material for your garden shed is just one of the other aspects you should consider before buying. However, it is not a negligible factor.

The various materials have very different properties and therefore differ not only in appearance.

Tip: Wood from climatically colder regions such as northern Europe is considered to be of particularly high quality.

Wood: is considered to blend particularly naturally into the garden landscape. However, it also requires special care to keep your garden shed weatherproof, safe and in tact. The advantages of wood are its elasticity, resilience and sustainability.

However, wood is a natural product and tries to adapt to the climatic conditions of the environment. In terms of humidity, this means that wood expands in humid climates and contracts and cracks in dry ones. When building a wooden tool shed, you should therefore pay particular attention to the quality of the wood used.

Therefore, robust woods such as spruce or larch are popular for the construction of garden sheds, because they are particularly weather-resistant due to their high resin content.

Before buying, you should also check whether the wood has already been impregnated. If this is not the case, it is advisable to treat the wood with a wood stain before building. This way, it remains weather-resistant for the time being.

Metal: Compared to wood, a wooden garden shed has the great advantage that it does not require any special care. Ideally, the shed is made of aluminium or hot-dip galvanised sheet metal and will not show signs of ageing even after several years.

However, metal sheds are basically only used to store garden tools and are rather unsuitable as a place of retreat. If you want to use your tool shed for other purposes, we recommend a shed made of wood or plastic.

In addition, the choice of colours for metal sheds is often limited to silver, anthracite or green.

Plastic: Just like the metal shed, a plastic garden shed is very easy to maintain. Here, too, there is no need for ongoing maintenance with sanding down and painting the wood.

Plastic is UV and weather resistant, it can neither rust nor rot and is therefore the easiest place to store your garden tools. The assembly is also usually quite simple, with the help of plug-in connections, and often requires no tools.

A plastic garden shed is made stable by solid posts (often made of metal) and therefore does not necessarily need a proper foundation.

Plastic tool sheds come in all sorts of shapes and colours. Whether it can also serve as a place of retreat is ultimately up to you.

Type of construction/ possible combinations

Anyone who thinks that a garden shed is just a tool shed is mistaken. There are countless different designs of garden sheds, from the type of construction to the possible combinations of different garden elements.

Before buying a garden shed, you should therefore consider the following points regarding the type of construction:

  • Foundation: Do you want a garden shed with or without a floor, on stilts, or perhaps with wheels for more mobility?
  • Shape: You should also think about the shape. Depending on the intended location, a rectangular, square, 5-cornered, L-shaped or round tool shed may be more suitable
  • Number of rooms: You usually have the choice between 1 or 2 rooms. 2 rooms are particularly suitable if you also want to use the garden shed as a garden shed and retreat
  • Roof: You should also think about the roof before building a garden shed. Just as with the construction of a house, there are the options of a flat roof, gable roof, monopitch roof, pitched roof, hip roof or other special roof shapes with all their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Statics/wall thickness and roof load: With regard to weather conditions and the maximum snow load, the statics of the tool shed should also be taken into account.
  • Glazing: The question is whether you prefer a garden shed with or without windows. If you decide on windows, you should also think about the possible materials of the windows. Here you usually have the choice between real glass, Plexiglas or isoglass.
  • Door: There are also various options for the doors of a garden shed. For example, there are double or sliding doors for particularly large access. But perhaps a single door or lid opening will also suffice.
  • Combination options: If you want to build a multi-shed instead of a simple garden shed, you can combine it with a greenhouse, wood store, playhouse, garden shed, sauna or even a carport, for example.
  • Electricity connection: If you want to work in the tool shed or use it as a garden shed, you should also think about an electricity connection. There are two options for this. Either electricity with the help of renewable energies through solar panels on the roof, or by laying an underground cable from the house. In both cases, it is advisable to consult an electrical engineer to avoid short circuits, cable fires or worse.
  • Water connection: A water connection in or on a garden shed can also be advantageous. With the help of rain gutters, rainwater could either be collected in the rain barrel or, somewhat more elaborately, a water pipe could be laid.

Location

The intended location for your tool shed can also have an impact on the choice that is right for you. The decisive factor here can be whether your garden shed is to be placed in the garden, on the balcony, in the front garden, on a lawn or on a paved area.

For a tool shed on the balcony, a pre-paved area such as the patio, or adjacent to the garage, you should be able to ensure that a garden shed has enough stability and sturdiness to not be susceptible to wind and storms.

In the garden, front yard or on a lawn, the right foundation can be important for the longevity of your shed. If this is not the case, defects may occur after the first winters or autumn storms.

In general, a free-standing garden shed requires more stability than one that is adjacent to the wall of a house.

Size

You should also think carefully about the size of your shed. In Germany, the size of a garden shed, in addition to other criteria, can be a decisive factor in determining whether it requires a permit.

Apart from the other criteria, you can assume that a tool shed whose dimensions are smaller than 10 cubic metres does not usually require a permit.

We have summarised in more detail when you need a permit for a garden shed and what exactly you need to consider in our advice section.

Purchase costs/construction

Before buying a tool shed, you should also be aware of the effort required to erect it. There are different construction methods for garden sheds, some of which require more and some of which require less manual dexterity.

Generally, a distinction is made between the following construction methods:

  • Block construction
  • Plug-in construction
  • Screw construction
  • Element construction
  • Frame construction

In addition to the construction method, you should also consider that a shed that requires a foundation is more expensive to purchase than one without. You should also consider whether you are in a position to do this yourself or whether you would prefer to call on professional help.

Garden shed: Frequently asked questions and answers

In this guide, we want to answer the most important questions about tool sheds. Here you will learn everything from buying a garden shed to how to care for it. After you have read the guide, you will be an expert when it comes to garden sheds.

Who is a garden shed suitable for?

A garden shed is basically suitable for anyone who wants to protect garden tools or machines from the weather and needs additional storage space.

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A garden shed not only keeps things tidy, but also protects your tools from damage caused by the weather.
(Image source: Eco Warrior Princess/ Unsplash)

The prerequisite for a tool shed should be sufficient space. This can be on the terrace, in the garden or on a balcony. Basically, there are different types of garden sheds that differ depending on their location.

What types of Garden sheds are there?

As mentioned above, there are many different types of tool sheds. Here we have summarised the most typical ones with their advantages and disadvantages.

Wooden garden shed

The biggest advantage of a wooden tool shed is its stability, resilience and sustainability. A wooden shed blends in perfectly with the garden and harmonises with nature.

The only disadvantage is that it is often more expensive to build and maintain than other alternatives.

Advantages
  • Natural product
  • Sustainable
  • High elasticity, resilient
Disadvantages
  • High-maintenance
  • Often more demanding to build

Metal garden shed

The metal tool shed is durable, long-lasting and particularly easy to care for. However, it is also limited in its choice of colour options. And in any case, a metal tool shed only serves to store garden tools.

Advantages
  • Durable
  • Easy to care for
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used as storage space
  • Limited choice of colours

Plastic garden shed

Just like the metal shed, a plastic garden shed is particularly easy to care for and durable. Its unique selling point is the variety of colour and shape options, as well as its often simple construction.

However, the plastic shed often scores negative points when it comes to stability and appearance. A metal or wooden shed often looks better.

Advantages
  • Durable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Available in a wide variety of shapes and colours, Often simple construction
Disadvantages
  • Stability
  • Optics

Garden sheds for the garden

Garden sheds are available in all sizes and made of a wide variety of materials. However, a stable foundation is often recommended for a safe stand, which can cause additional costs.

Advantages
  • Various sizes
  • Easy to fix and secure
  • Additional storage space
Disadvantages
  • Requires foundation

Garden shed for the balcony

Tool sheds for the balcony are usually smaller and simple. They can be placed well in the corners of the balcony. However, care should be taken with garden sheds for the balcony to ensure that they are well secured to prevent storm damage.

Advantages
  • Additional storage space
  • Keeps things tidy
Disadvantages
  • Size is limited
  • poor securing and fixing options

Garden shed and garden shed

The combination of a tool shed and a garden shed is obvious, at least if you choose a wooden shed. Then the shed not only offers additional storage space, but also a place of retreat.

When combining a garden shed and a garden shed, however, you should always keep an eye on the country-specific regulations and whether the construction requires a building permit.

Advantages
  • Retreat in the garden
  • Additional benefits
Disadvantages
  • usually requires a permit from the building authority
  • takes up more space

When do I need planning permission for a garden shed?

Whether a permit is required for a tool shed depends on three key points:

  1. The size
  2. The intended location
  3. The intended use

The specifications regarding use and location can be found in the respective building regulations.

Geräteschuppen-2

Tool sheds are made of various materials, with wood being the most natural.
(Image source: Sebastian Huxley/ Unsplash)

Do I have to take out additional insurance for a garden shed?

If the tool shed is on the same property as the home, it is usually included in the homeowner's insurance. However, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to explicitly include it in the contract.

The garden shed should then be protected against damage caused by storms, hail, fire, tap water or even burglary.

What does a garden shed cost?

The price of a tool shed varies depending on the type of shed, construction, material and quality. The price range can go from 50 to 8000 euros.

Here we have listed the approximate prices of the different types of garden sheds.

Type Price
Wooden garden shed approx. 80-8000€
Metal garden shed approx. 170-8000€
Plastic garden shed approx. 50-1500€
Garden garden shed approx. 50-8000€
Balcony garden shed approx. 50-3000€
Garden shed with garden shed approx. 1000-8000€

How do I build a garden shed myself?

If you are a skilled craftsman, you can of course try your hand at building your own tool shed. You can find a wide variety of instructions on the Internet. Whether you are looking for a large or small shed, you will find what you are looking for.

There are no limits to your imagination when you build your own shed (except perhaps the official requirements).

How do I care for my garden shed?

The care of your tool shed depends entirely on the material. As mentioned above, wood is a little more difficult to maintain. In general, you should clean your garden shed regularly and remove dirt and cobwebs.

Metal or plastic sheds can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth or garden hose. Wooden sheds require more care.

After cleaning, you should regularly sand off the old paint on wooden sheds and then repaint the shed. Wood preservative varnishes and paints protect the wood from UV radiation and moisture, and they also prevent the penetration of fungi such as mildew.

When choosing a colour, make sure that it does not affect the wood's ability to breathe. Therefore, open-pored paint is best suited for your woodshed.

Proper care of your woodshed is particularly important, because otherwise windows or doors may warp and no longer open or close properly. You should therefore always paint the outside and the inside.

How can I keep my garden shed weatherproof?

Just as with maintenance, a metal tool shed made of aluminium or galvanised does not require any special effort to keep it weatherproof. The same applies to garden sheds made of plastic.

Geräteschuppen-3

Regular painting ensures that your wooden tool shed remains as durable and weatherproof as possible.
(Image source: Bricoydeco/ Pixabay)

Only with wood should you make sure that the shed is repainted at regular intervals to maintain the weather protection.

What alternatives are there to a garden shed?

If the sight of an additional shed in the garden bothers you, you can of course also make sure that there is enough storage space for garden tools and machines in the cellar or garage.

However, a tool shed is particularly practical in that it saves you unnecessary lugging of the tools and they are directly on site.

Conclusion

For anyone looking for a clever solution for more storage space in the garden, a garden shed is definitely the right choice. With a variety of possible combinations, you can quickly find a tool shed that suits your individual needs.

Today, there are many alternatives to the high-maintenance wooden shed made of metal or plastic, some of which are even cheaper. Even the construction is often no longer witchcraft. Modern garden sheds therefore offer a simple and quick solution to space problems and the storage of garden accessories.

Image source: gioiak2/ 123rf

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