Shed ideas: 16 ways to transform your outdoor storage solution into a fabulous feature for your plot
On the lookout for shed ideas? Take a look at our favourite ways to give your storage solution a fresh new look
Looking for an update to your garden storage? Then these shed ideas are exactly what you need. For not only is the humble shed a fantastic way to keep your plot organised, but it can also be a stunning feature point.
Of course, sheds are primarily for keeping a plot free of clutter and all your tools safe and dry. And if you've recently treated yourself to a BBQ, pizza oven, or some stylish garden furniture, then you'll want somewhere to safely stash them when the weather turns temperamental. But that's not all that sheds can offer – they can also be used for garden jobs such as potting up seedlings, or simply as a place to relax with a good book.
We've already listed our favourite options for best sheds, but this guide will inspire you when it comes to the all-important styling. From fabulous she sheds, to window boxes and living roofs, keep reading for lots of ideas for plots of all sizes.
1. Add quaint details
Shutters, a scalloped roof and a lick of pastel paint – if you think sheds can be an eyesore, this example will surely show you otherwise. Adorable stepping stones make a lovely addition to our garden path ideas too.
You see, a shed definitely doesn't have to be a ramshackle structure crammed at the bottom of the plot. With a simple makeover and some pretty details, it can become a beautiful focal point.
Whether it's perfectly curated inside or an explosive jumble of pots and tools is another matter. But we think if you have a shed that looks this good, you'll want to keep the inside in tip-top order, too. You could even turn it into a cosy garden retreat, decked out with comfy seating and cushions. Our she shed ideas will have you inspired.
2. Go modern with metal
A chic metal shed is a perfect addition if you love our modern garden ideas. Choose a sleek design such as the example above and it will sit beautifully amongst your plot. Plus, not only will it add to a contemporary vibe, but it will also be strong and sturdy against the elements.
A light grey colour feels stylish rather than imposing, and windows along the top will allow natural light to filter through, helping you see what's what inside. Soften with ornamental grasses and minimal outdoor furniture to complete the look. You can find out how to grow ornamental grasses in our guide.
3. Try miniature sheds for small spaces
We're not all blessed with massive gardens, complete with a spacious patio or one of our decking ideas. So, if all you have is a tiny garden or courtyard with a few colourful pots, then a mini lean-to shed is a great option.
Big enough to store wellies and a few garden tools, it slots neatly against a wall and won't dominate the space. This one shown above has a handy shelf and a good sized storage section underneath, plus there's a lockable door to keep everything secure.
4. Opt for a traditional vibe
Sometimes a good wooden shed is beautiful enough without having to do much to it. Timber panels can be treated with a wood preserver to add a layer of protection from rot, water and woodworm whilst letting the natural colouring shine through. It's a good job for a sunny weekend, but if you're short on time, look for spray versions (try Ronseal).
Topped with a shingle roof, this is a gorgeous example of a shed that's stylish yet subtle and it works beautifully with our cottage garden ideas. Complete the traditional look with a stable door and quaint windows, and place at the end of a sweeping gravel pathway lined with alpine borders.
5. Adorn with wildlife shelters
It's always good to encourage pollinators to your garden as well as other wildlife. So why not use the sides of your shed to hang an assortment of bee boxes, bug hotels, or bird nesting boxes?
Not only will it help to provide them with shelter from predators, but it will give your plot a new lease of life. Take a look at our guide on how to make a bug hotel to get started.
6. Add a stable door
Give your shed a shepherd's hut vibe by combining a curved top, corrugated sides and a stable door.
This classic type of cladding is a great option if you're after something inexpensive and low-maintenance for your shed. Its slightly industrial look is softened by the doorway, which, due to its halfway divide, is wonderfully versatile as well as attractive. Perfect for letting in a breath of fresh air whilst keeping pets or little ones out.
We love the steps too – a great place to perch with a morning cuppa.
7. Double up as a handy log store
If you're lucky enough to have an open fire indoors, or perhaps one of our best fire pits, then you will need somewhere to store your logs as well as your other garden bits and bobs.
This ingenious design will satisfy all your garden storage needs in one, by keeping tools dry and logs neatly stacked. We love the rustic charm it brings to a plot.
8. Go small, but stick to full height
If your garden is on the small size and you haven't got room for a shed with a large floor area, look out for more compact designs that still offer plenty of head height. This will ensure you have room to fit in folding garden furniture and tall garden tools, such as the best hedge trimmer and maybe even the best pressure washer.
Opt for designs made from pressure treated timber – they will be fully protected against rotting.
9. Go big and bold
If your larger-sized shed is looking bulky and out-of-place, then this tip is for you. For a simple lick of brightly coloured paint can be all it takes to turn a lacklustre structure into a stunning addition to your plot.
Opt for a colour that will complement the rest of your garden's theme. We love the beautiful blue colour of this one pictured above – not only does it look stunning alongside the neighbouring Agapanthus, but it will be sure to brighten up even a dull, cloudy day.
10. Match your shed to your plants
Are you perfectly happy with the size and style of your current shed (once you've sorted out the clutter that is), but think the exterior has seen better days? Give it a much-needed spruce and protect it from bad weather with a couple of coats of best exterior wood paint – it'll soon look as good as new.
By picking a tone such as this beautiful green, your garden will have an instant uplift. It will also blend beautifully with any surrounding foliage, to create an organic, serene look that's inspired by nature.
And, if your shed has windows, why not also opt for prettily patterned curtains or a blind, for a lovely finishing touch?
11. Add a window box or two
We love a window box to liven up an exterior, so adding one to a shed is a great idea for an instant update. Fill with your favourites, from miniature evergreens and jolly pansies to sweet-smelling petunias – it's a great excuse to add extra plants to your plot. Our window box ideas are full of inspiration.
Painting your shed black or dark grey will help your treasured plants pop against the contrasting darker backdrop. Meanwhile, a small light will add an extra dose of charm, as well as being practical.
12. Opt for double doors for easy access
Got lots of large items to store? Then you'll soon appreciate the benefits of having double doors to access your garden shed. It means you'll be able to get your wheelbarrow (you can find our top buy in our best wheelbarrow buying guide) and bulky lawn mower in and out without any issues.
Plus, by opting for a bigger design, there will even be space to set up a nifty potting area. And, picking a design with windows means you'll get the bonus of plenty of natural light inside, too.
13. Get organised with shelves
Good intentions aside, the interiors of sheds can easily get out of hand. After all, unless they're primarily being used as a luxurious she shed, they're generally seen as a practical place full of tools. Inevitably, this comes hand-in-hand with a build up of mud, bits of stray gravel, old plastic plots, and other miscellaneous objects accumulating over time.
So, why not put a few hours aside to give your shed a proper sort out? Start by giving it a sweep, and throw away or upcycle any rubbish.
Then, to help reduce the clutter, make the most of shelves (or add some in). Even a small shed can benefit from good use of vertical space. You can finally give your pots, brushes, balls of string, and seed packets a proper place. It's great to get organised ready for the new growing season and will make your life much easier in the long run. There's plenty more inspiration in our garden storage ideas.
14. Try a half shed, half greenhouse style
If you're after a greenhouse and a shed, then this clever idea is a perfect solution. By combining the two in a single structure, all your tools and seedlings can be kept in one place for easy access.
So, you can really bed in on colder days and crack on with your garden jobs without having to trudge back and forth across the garden. You could add a cold frame too, for extra space for tender plants.
We've got plenty more greenhouse ideas in our feature.
15. Use the roof as a mini allotment
This fantastic design is a great example of how to make the most of a smaller space.
Its fully waterproof roof is topped with a planter, ready to be filled with all your favourite plants or herbs. It's a brilliant option for those who would love a raised bed but simply don't have the room. Why not take a look at our 10 of the best herbs to grow in your garden for inspiration?
Finished with a sturdy lock, guttering and downpipe, this shed is a choice that any small-space or urban gardener will love.
16. Opt for a DIY build
Want to get your new garden shed up and running fast? Opt for a simple and inexpensive buy that you can assemble yourself and you'll be sorted before you know it.
The one above may only measure 6ft x 4ft but as it's made from smaller sections it's easier to handle for quick and easy assembly – always a bonus. The overlap design aids rain and water run-off. Plus, it has a pressure treated solid timber floor to cope with heavier items like the best lawn mower and bags of compost.
Is it better to stain or paint a shed?
'Painting or staining is more of a personal preference – I wouldn't necessarily say that one is better than the other,' says a spokesperson for Rowlinson. However, 'If you are just looking for protection, there are a number of preservers for sheds that may add longer protection than paint.'
'Generally, we would recommend treating our timber sheds with some kind of protection annually,' they add.
The team from Primrose says, 'Paint covers the wood and is very good at creating the look you want.' However, they warn that it can degrade and peel over time and needs to be removed entirely when you need to repaint. 'It can also stop the wood 'breathing', which may result in rotting,' they say.
'Stain soaks into the wood and leaves the natural variation of the wood visible,' they continue. 'Stain will fade, but can you just reapply a new layer on top. However, the colours will never be as strong as paint. Stain allows the wood to 'breathe' so gives you less chance of rot. Generally, stains are cheaper, but you will need to reapply more often.'
Metal sheds require less maintenance as can simply be washed down, as the team at Rowlinson add.
What is the best base for a shed?
For a shed, you want to go for 'a good solid base – concrete or slabs,' says the team at Rowlinson. They add that it's a good idea to encourage airflow beneath the building, which can be achieved with additional pressure-treated bearers for the structure to sit on. This is especially important if a structure is positioned on soil or grass.
The team also says that metal sheds often don't come with floors (although they give the option for their products), so a paving or concrete base is best for these styles too.
The team at Primose adds that gravel is a good, affordable option for a smaller shed to sit on.
Is it cheaper to build my own shed?
It may well be cheaper to build your own shed initially, but the costs can quickly creep up.
'Buying your shed has a higher upfront cost, but should always be your preferred option unless you have access to specialist skills,' advises the team at Primrose. 'A shed made at home may end up costing more in upkeep and may have to be replaced sooner.'
Whether you're opting for a DIY project, a bespoke build, or an off-the-shelf style, remember to check out our shed planning permission guide to avoid any surprises (or disgruntled neighbours).
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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