The best sheds will enhance any home. They're a space to store those garden essentials, somewhere to put bikes or camping equipment, a place to potter and tend to new plants, or even an escape from a busy house.
As we get out to enjoy the garden in the summer, we can be nipping in and out of the shed regularly as we tend to lawns, flower beds and vegetable patches, or set up the garden chairs, sunbeds and parasols ready for some serious lounging.
Of course there's more to sheds than their traditional uses – those who are a dab hand at DIY have turned them into everything from micro pubs to mini cinemas to hobby rooms.
We take a look at some of the best sheds you can buy to suit your garden style and needs, whether its a big workshop you want or somewhere that can hold all you need to keep a small garden in order.
This compact shed is a useful addition to a small garden. The Forest Garden 4x3 Apex Overlap Timber Shed is traditional in style with an apex roof, smooth-planed barge boards and decorative finial.
Tuck it neatly into a corner or against a wall. Easy to assemble (a two person job) and move around if necessary, it offers sturdy storage big enough to hold essential garden tools, such as forks, mowers and hedge trimmers. Security features include anti-tamper hidden hinges.
This unusual five-sided shed will make the most of an unused corner of the garden. Robust and durable, the Mercia Shiplap Corner Shed has ample inner space for tucking away not just garden tools, but also barbecues and some furniture that could benefit from being stored over winter.
Lockable double doors make it easier to get awkwardly shaped objects inside. On the exterior it has exterior shiplap cladding, with a solid sheet floor and roof. A styrene glazed window lets in light, making it suitable for workshop use.
This charming shed can be given a cabin-like feel with a lick of colourful paint, making it pretty enough to act as a summerhouse or studio. The Sarno Shiplap Apex Wooden Shed is made from high-grade FSC approved timber clad in a shiplap design.
An apex roof means there is plenty of height and, with access via double doors, it is wide enough to park a ride-on lawnmower inside and still have space for garden tools. The opening joinery window is storm resistant. The flooring is attractive tongue and groove timber, with a solid sheet roof. Available dip treated or pressure treated.
A reasonably priced small shed with a lot going for it. The Forest Garden Reverse Apex Overlap Dip Treated Shed is easy to put up thanks to an improved design. Some thought has gone into making it strong and long-lasting with increased framing and a pressure-treated timber door braced for rigidity. It has hidden hinges and is lockable to protect garden tools.
The apex roof, which is made of sheet material and black sand felt, gives good head height, while the window at the front lets in natural light – the better to pot your seedlings by ready for planting. It has been dip treated and comes with a 10-year guarantee against rot.
An Englishman's home is their castle, even if it might not be all that stately. But the National Trust by Crane Blickling Garden Shed can give you a taste of such grandeur right in your own back garden.
This classic shed is inspired by the outbuildings of National Trust properties, right down (or rather up) to its corrugated roof, and has fine finishing touches like cast iron black door furniture.
It is made by craftsmen in Norfolk from FSC certified Scandinavian redwood, and is delivered and installed by Crane. The sheds come in a choice of six National Trust colours, such as Disreli Green (pictured), and this style includes a log store to keep your wood-burning stove well stocked.
If security and durability are a primary concern, the Billy Oh Partner Woodgrain Pent Roof Metal Shed could be the answer. This galvanised steel shed is strong, spacious and lockable. The sliding double doors make it easy to slip everything from bikes to tools to furniture in.
Fire resistant with vents for added air circulation, the metal it's made from is roll formed with deep ribs for extra strength. The hot-dipped panels means it requires no maintenance and there is a 10-year no rust perforation warranty. The woodgrain and brown colour scheme gives it a more traditional shed-like appeal, rather than a functional garden lock-up.
A shed to warm a wood-chopper's heart, this comes with a lean-to that is perfect for stacking lots of freshly cut logs to dry until they are needed. The Rowlinson Oxford Shed with Lean-To has quite a traditional look and is reasonably compact so won't dominate a small garden.
It is pressure treated against rot and covered with mineral roofing felt (including the log store). The sturdy shed offers enough space to store a reasonable amount of gardening tools and equipment, including axes, of course.
The idea of a plastic garden shed can sound worryingly like a Wendy House. However, the Keter Scala Outdoor Plastic Garden Storage Shed manages to avoid looking a child's play thing.
Designed like a cabin, complete with windows, it even has brown, wood-effect panelling. This should appeal to anyone who doesn't want to have to treat their shed yearly as it should look good after a quick wipe down.
It's double wall construction makes it fully weather resistant and fade resistant. The twin doors give easy access for whatever you want to store in there. There is built-in ventilation for safety, two fixed windows for natural light and a locking system.
Even if you only have a modest garden or a courtyard with flower beds and pots, there's a shed for you. And this is it. The contemporary Forest Garden Shiplap Apex Garden Store will look good on your patio or terrace, and is just big enough to store brooms, spades and trimmers. You could even pop muddy rubber boots in the base and keep this by the back door.
It is kept secure with hidden hinges and lockable plate hasp and staple fastening. Mounted on bearers and with a mineral felt roof, it protects the contents from the elements, too. Interlocking shiplap tongue and groove boards make it robust, and its been pressure treated to prevent rot, with a 15-year guarantee. It is unpainted so you can add your own twist of colour.
Keen cyclists will appreciate having somewhere safe to store their bikes rather than a hallway or in a cluttered garage. This Forest Large Double Door Pent Wooden Garden Storage has a 2000 litre capacity, making it big enough to pop in the mower or stack in several bikes and helmets.
Two doors open up virtually the whole of the space, and have a plate hasp and staple latch for use with a padlock (not included) and hidden door hinges for added security. The felted roof can be sloped forward or backwards, according to preference. The shiplap design and golden brown finish design give it a neat appearance, and it is dip treated with a 10-year guarantee against rot and fungal decay.
How to buy the best sheds
Sheds were traditionally made of timber, and this is still the most popular material if you prefer a natural look. It is also easier if you want to paint it a different colour. Wood sheds can be dip treated, where the panels are dipped into preservative to colour and protect the wood from insects and fungal decay. Both will fade over time so the timber will need to be treated regularly.
With sheds that are pressure treated, the protection will last longer as the panels are put into a container filled with chemicals then placed under pressure to force the treatment deeper into the wood. Highly effective against fungus and insect infestation, it is a slightly more expensive process.
Plastic is becoming a popular choice because of its practicality. Durable and low maintenance, it is weather and UV resistant, won't rot or require staining and can just be wiped down to clean the shed up. Chose your colour carefully as you can't stain plastic like wood or repaint it as easily.
These a good choice for the security conscious. They can be perfect if you have expensive bikes or equipment to store. Steel sheds can be light yet solid and come with long warranties, anything up to 25 years. Galvanised layers underneath can protect from the elements and prevent rust forming. They come in different colours or even have a wood-effect finish to recreate the character of timber.
Choose your wood panel style
A wood shed is usually constructed in one of three ways, each reacting differently to changes in the weather and the seasons.
Horizontal panels overlap each other with the bottom of each slat going over the top of the next. This lets rainwater run off easily so it is watertight. It's not airtight though, so draughts and damp can enter the shed.
Tongue and Groove
A neater and more robust alternative to overlapping, the panels slot into each other rather than sitting over the top of each other. It tends to be more mid-range quality, and though structurally rigid, the panels can be prone to warping in the heat, causing gapping.
A superior cladding consisting of wood panels that overlap in a way that creates a flat surface. Overlapping lips on the boards interlock so rainwater runs off while providing greater protection against draughts. It is more expensive to produce shiplap, which can be reflected in the price.
Think about the base for your shed
Small sheds won't need foundations but will need a flat, level base. They can be built on hard-standing or a patio. Bigger sheds can be built on on crushed stone with treated wood foundations, concrete foundation blocks or paving slabs.
For larger sheds and workshops, concrete slab foundation should offer more stability. If you want the option of moving your shed, the Hawklok system comprises interlocking grids made from recycled plastic that can be fitted together to make a firm and level base.