Garden Shed / Playhouse specialists - what you need to know
Garden sheds come in a range of shapes and sizes and are increasingly used for a variety of different purposes, from storing tools and garden furniture, to providing spaces to work in or relax. Garden sheds are usually made from wood, plastic, or metal and, unless you’re after something bespoke, most sheds will come pre-built, requiring you or a tradesperson to assemble it. In most cases, a gardener, a handyman, or a builder will be able to do the job for you.
Costs for installing or building your garden shed
The costs of the shed itself will vary greatly on what your shed is made from and its size. Most pre-built sheds will take 1-2 days to build, with costs likely to start from £200, though this will vary based on where you live. Costs can increase if you need an area cleared to make room for the shed, are opting for a concrete base or need the ground levelled before the shed can be built.
If you’re looking to add electricity, heating, lighting and furniture, this will add to the complexity of the project and you may want to research specialist shed builders who can build you something bespoke.
Choosing the right shed
This will depend upon a number of things including:
- Your budget.
- The value of the items you’ll keep in the shed.
- Your intended use of the shed.
- Any design considerations you have relating to your house or garden.
Before you decide on the type of shed, it’s important to think about how you’ll use it. Will your shed be used to sit and relax in, to work in, or as a home for your lawnmower and other garden tools.
Wooden sheds are usually made from softwoods like pine and cedar. Pine has a greater susceptibility to rot than cedar but is also cheaper and more widely available. It’s a good idea to treat your shed before construction and then repeat the treatment each year. This will help to keep it weather-proof. Alternatively you could look at pre-treated or pressure-treated sheds. The latter has preservative forced into the timber, resulting in almost no maintenance being required at all.
Plastic sheds tend to be cheaper than wooden sheds. They’re lighter, won’t rot or burn, and are often simpler to construct. On the downside, because of its plastic construction, the hinges for the doors and locks will likely be plastic meaning security can be a concern, and you may have limits on the amount you can hang on the walls. You’ll also want to think about how your new shed will look in situ – plastic sheds often struggle for style points.
Metal sheds are made to last (but beware the cheap, thin metal sheds which corrode quickly). They’re low maintenance as the metal is galvanised, making them weather proof. They’re also heavy, meaning they’re robust and can be made very secure, but this means they can be trickier to put up, with the panels of the shed weighing significantly more than other alternatives.
Whichever option you choose, a solid base is vital to ensure your shed is able to withstand the rigours of daily use (removing tools and equipment from a shed will test how well built your shed is) and bad weather. Ask your tradesperson before they quote about whether any clearance is needed, how they plan to create a solid base for the shed and whether there’s any work required to level off the ground.
There are no specific qualifications that a tradesperson will need to build a shed. It’s always advisable to see proof of similar projects they’ve been done for other homeowners.
Planning permission for building a garden shed
You shouldn’t need planning permission to build a shed if:
- Your shed is only being used for domestic purposes.
- Your shed has a maximum height of 4 metres.
- The ground area covered by your shed is less than 50% of the total ground space of your home.
For all the latest planning permission advice and for all the qualifying criteria, visit the Planning Portal.
Insurance for electrical work
Whichever tradesperson you choose to build your shed, they should have public liability insurance. This isn't a requirement but gives you peace of mind should there be any property damage or personal injury claims as a result of the work.
Questions you should ask your tradesperson
- Do they have public liability insurance and what does this cover?
- What kind of jobs do they tend to do the most? Can they give you references for previous work?
- Will it be themselves that build the shed? If a concrete base is needed, or if you’d like electricity in your shed, will they be doing this work themselves or working with other tradespeople?