Most people with a garden dream of what their ideal shed might look like. From keen gardeners and allotment holders looking for somewhere to keep their tools, to the DIYers in need of a workshop, through to those who want to create an extra room or two to use as an office, a place to relax or even somewhere guests can sleep in.
With so many functional considerations for the modern shed, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of competition among manufacturers, who produce thousands of products for us to choose from. To help us put together this list of shed suggestions we consulted some experts on the subject, including Cuprinol Shed of the Year founder Andrew Wilcox (aka Uncle Wilco) and authors of Haynes Shed Manual, John Coupe and Alex Johnson.
Most of the sheds we looked at are produced by businesses with a national presence, but it’s also worth checking suppliers in your area – you’ll likely find a great choice of sheds from local specialists that you can walk around in and weigh up against those that are only available to view online. And by meeting the makers you’re more likely to be able to get a bespoke solution that suits your dream specifications.
Before taking the plunge, there are a few basic considerations to make. As Alex Johnson points out: “Picking the perfect shed really depends on what you want to use it for. If you want to use it as a garden office then decent insulation is essential, or if it’s to be used as an artist’s studio, then you’ll need lots of natural light.” But looks can be just as important, adding “of course it needs to have all the basics such as being watertight, but you really need to think about what kind of a look you are after and whether it will go well in your garden.”
So while our list features sheds that perform a range of functions, we’ve also taken into consideration the overall look of the design, along with technical and price considerations, and hopefully that dream shed is a little bit closer as a result…
Key specs – Size: 64(H) x 108(W) x 55(D) cm; Made from: FSC-certified timber; Extra features: None; Delivery: Free to most UK destinations
We may be bending the definition of a “shed” somewhat, but these shed-ish chests are a great storage solution for folks shy on space. You might not be able to use it as shelter from the rain (although you could try) or stow anything bigger than a push mower, but the 300-litre capacity provides enough space for pots, tools and other essential nick-nacks.
This solid storage box is made from pressure treated, overlap timber and boasts a pent lid/roof with a black sand felt skin. For those with a few more pounds in their pocket, a shiplap version is available for £114.99.
Key specs – Size: 1634(H) x 2070(W) x 1815(D) cm; Made from: FSC-certified timber; Extra features: Security alarm padlock; Delivery: Free to most UK destinations
While not specifically designed for the purpose, we think this shed is a great choice for people who want a secure space in which to store their bicycle. It’s quite a compact structure, featuring a strong internal 28mm x 28mm frame clad with pressure treated 8mm overlap.
The fully boarded floor is a nice touch too, but the best part is undoubtedly the adjoining lean-to, which provides a sheltered outdoor area under which to conduct your bike maintenance tasks. Just a word of warning – although the door is fitted with a hasp and staple, a lock is not included, so make sure you put one on your shopping list.
Key specs – Size: 8ft x 6ft; Made from: High grade European softwood; Extra features: Pick container of treatment, window choice, door choice, security options, cladding, frame upgrade; Delivery: Free to most UK destinations
When looking for a shed to plant on your plot you’ll be wanting somewhere secure enough to store basic kit, somewhere to shelter if it rains, and somewhere to hide if the allotment inspector makes a surprise visit.
Most allotment associations will specify a maximum shed size (usually no bigger than 8ft x 6ft) so with this in mind we recommend this fine, upstanding apex from Tiger Sheds. Featuring 12mm thick shiplap cladding and heavy duty mineral felt, it’s a sturdy old beast.
We like the large door (braced at three points), which provided good, sturdy access for wheelbarrows and other cumbersome allotment gear. An extra bonus is the high security lock, which is thrown in for free. Tiger Sheds are fully customisable at the point of purchase – you can add treatments, shelving and upgrade the window spec if that’s what takes your fancy, but obviously these optional extras will add to the final purchase price.
Key specs – Size: 6ft x 6ft; Made from: Dip-treated wood; Extra features: Shelf units, alternative bases, security options; Delivery: Included
Rowlinson produces the kind of sheds we would make ourselves if only we had more time – simple and unfussy buildings that are solid, functional and don’t cost a fortune. To add to its already extensive range, it’s recently released a garden bar – a compact unit with a full-width serving hatch situated beneath an overhanging roof that provides shade and shelter for anyone pulling up a stool.
There’s enough room to store some garden essentials, along with bar supplies, and the 12mm shiplap cladding, tongue and groove floor, and solid board felted roof not only looks smart but also provides good protection from the elements. Turning sheds into bars is an increasingly common pursuit and shed-converting expert Uncle Wilco was impressed with the “head start” this bar provides – besides being great as it is, there’s plenty of scope to customise it yourself.
Key specs – Size: 8ft x 6ft; Made from: Tanalised wood; Extra features: Pick window choice, door choice, overhangs and extensions, roof felt, tanalised bearers, height extension, internal partitions, extra floor runners, shelves; Delivery: Included depending on area and fitting
A shed can provide rich pickings for thieves, so those who need to stow expensive gear and outdoor equipment in their garden should head on over to the aptly named Beast Sheds and invest in some maximum security.
Looking like the kind of structures you’d find defending the Maginot Line during World War 2, Beast Sheds “Security” range features tough, tanalised tongue and groove cladding mounted on a rock-solid framework. Small window apertures make entry impossible for even the most slender of larcenists, and all fittings are both bolted and screwed through the framework to prevent unauthorised removal.
It’ll have to be one hell of a determined thief to break into one of these staunch sheds. Just don’t lose your keys…
Key specs – Size: 8ft x 6ft; Made from: Treated timber and shatterproof styrene windows; Extra features: Guttering kit, base, floor upgrades, security fittings, roof upgrades, shelving; Delivery: Included for most of England with surcharges to other areas
The keenest gardeners all crave a potting shed. Somewhere to store their tools while still affording enough space to sow seeds, pot up plants and cover any spare surfaces with the things they’re growing. It will be a much-used building, so it needs to be sturdy and durable, but also offer a good amount of natural light to help those plants on their way.
The Waltons potting shed is built with strong 12mm shiplap tongue and groove cladding and a thick 44mm x 28mm timber framing, which comes with a 10-year anti-rot guarantee. A generous amount of angled window coverage helps it double up as a greenhouse on one side, with the UV-resistant styrene panes providing a shatterproof solution that means you can wield your tools with confidence. Waltons’ sheds offer exceptional value for money and, as with this choice, they don’t shirk on quality.
Key specs – Size: From 4ft 10in x 3ft 6in; Made from: Pressure treated redwood timber and galvanised steel roof; Extra features: Window, external shelf unit; Delivery: From £295 for two modules and £340 for over two modules
Uncle Wilco has picked out The Posh Shed Company’s modular buildings, which allows customers to choose from a range of sizes with options on where to place their windows and the choice of additional external shelving (ideal for storing logs).
The sheds are each hand built from solid pressure-treated wood fixed to a sturdy 38mm x 50mm framework of redwood timbers. A solid weatherproof floor is ideally suited for both the shed’s interior and exterior areas, while a galvanised sheet roof and fitted guttering keep things dry inside.
This unique modular approach enables you to design your own space for a multitude of purposes, with Uncle Wilco suggesting “it would make a brilliant potting shed or even a chill out room.”
Key specs – Size: 10ft x 8ft; Made from: PVC-coated galvanised steel; Extra features: Flooring, windows, workbench, alarm, shelving, hasp and padlock set; Delivery: Included
Metal sheds are usually easier to install, last longer and offer better value than wooden options but three common grumbles mean they’re much less popular than their wooden counterparts: they’re noisier under rain, harder to customise and don’t look as good.
Trimetals has overcome two of those hurdles with a two-tone olive shed that looks great and has a range of customisable options, including workbenches (+£108) and shelves (+£61). Two acrylic windows are supplied either side of the large double doors, but for extra workshop light you can include two more at the rear (+£62).
Built from PVC-coated galvanised steel and with an apex roof, it’s designed to last and comes with a 25-year guarantee, while a secure key-operated locking system will help keep your possessions safe.
For cheaper metal sheds, check out BillyOh and Yardmaster’s ranges, but Trimetal’s handsome features and solid build makes it the only metal shed endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society, which is reassuring enough for us.
Key specs – Size: 16ft x 10ft; Made from: Pine; Extra features: Pick choice of cladding, slatted roof, heavy duty flooring, tanalised bearers, workbench, door choice, shelving; Delivery: Included depending on location
Folks who are after large structure from which to conduct their shed-based activities should take a look at Malvern’s Heavy Duty Apex range and go large. The sheds in this range start at a modest 6ft x 4ft, growing to a garden-bursting 20ft x 12ft, all of which are designed with a ridge height of under 2.5m, so that planning permission is only needed in special circumstances.
Extra diagonal framework provides rigidity, while security is bolstered by full-framed ledged and braced doors, fitted with heavy duty hinges and three-lever mortice lock. It’s a tough old shed that will withstand plenty of misuse – extra reassurance is provided by the window panes, which are fitted with 4mm toughened glass – enough to withstand a ball strike or the glancing blow from a wayward frisbee.
Key specs – Size: 12ft minimum x 6.8ft; Made from: Tin or timber cladding; English oak doors; Extra features: Request brochure for full range of options; Delivery: Included
If you’ve ever considered a shed as accommodation then Alex Johnson has picked out a few top recommendations. Folk with pots of cash might turn to the ethical approach of Rotunda Roundhouses or the vast, bespoke designs of Tiny House Cabins. Those with an eye for tradition might be tempted by Plank Bridge’s Shepherd’s Huts, which has Alex purring: “I defy anybody to browse their website and not come away wanting one”.
Based on Victorian designs, these rooms on wheels can be commissioned with various options, including tin or timber cladding, single or double English oak doors and a range of layouts, with or without fitted interiors. The attention to detail is impressive, helping to make each hut unique and cosy, whether used as a spare bedroom or office.
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