If you want to choose the best shed for your garden or allotment, these are the top five things you need to consider:
1. Wooden shed, metal shed or plastic shed?
Wooden sheds are made from softwoods – usually pine (sometimes referred to as redwood or red deal) or spruce (white deal). A few are larch or Douglas fir, and in theory these should be slightly more resistant to rot. Most rot-resistant of all are cedar sheds, but these are almost twice the price of pine ones.
The majority of sheds sold in the UK are made from wood, but there are other options. Metal sheds won’t rot or burn down, but they aren’t exactly pretty and can be tricky to assemble. Also, condensation tends to drip from the roof of these, limiting what you can store inside. Some have sliding doors which won’t blow shut when you’re struggling to bring in bulky items.
Plastic sheds are relatively maintenance free, and usually fit together easily. Taking them apart when moving house should also be straightforward. However their looks may not appeal to all.
If you have space, we'd recommend you opt for a shed measuring at least 6ft x 8ft. This size has double the floor area of a 6ft x 4ft shed, and room for a work bench along one side.
If the shed is to go in a very confined space, make sure you know its precise dimensions. The size quoted by the supplier may not include the roof overhang.
3. Shed sturdiness
With time, a flimsy shed is likely to develop a sagging roof, distorted sides and a door that won’t shut properly. Check for sturdiness by standing inside it, jumping in the centre of the floor and pushing against the centre of the side and roof panels. You should feel firm resistance rather than flexing.
Also, check that the wooden timbers supporting the roof have no large, dark-edged knots, as these are prone to fall out.
4. Keeping the rain out of a shed
Wooden sheds often leak and rot because of rain running down the walls. To minimize such problems, the roof should overhang the sides by at least 5cm, and the front and back by at least 7.5cm. Measure from the inside edge of the roof, not the outside.
Rain is less likely to run inside the top and bottom of a door if it has a strip of wood (weather bar) over it to deflect the water. Ideally, there should be a weather bar at the bottom, too.
Windows are prone to rot at the bottom unless they have sloping sills with a drip groove - a groove cut beneath the sill to help water drip to the ground. When standing in a closed shed, the only place you should see daylight is through the windows. Avoid sheds with gaps - if they let in light, they'll also let in rain.
5. Shed access
You'll need to ensure that those who will be using the shed can get in without tripping over the doorway threshold or banging their head. Also, check the doorway is wide enough. Single doors range from about 3ft wide to just 2ft 2in. The wider the opening, the wider the items you’ll be able to bring inside.
If a shed you like has poor access, check whether higher eaves (allowing extra headroom) and/or a wider or double door are available as optional extras.