Step 1: Choose Your Size
This is the most important decision to make correctly for the perfect shed design for your storage building.
Storage Building Sizes
Size is the most critical part of shed design. Storage buildings are available in two foot increments (odd numbered sizes are available, if necessary) all the way from 6X6 to 28X40, so there is no reason not to get exactly the size you need. While the most common problem is not having enough space, we have seen situations where clients purchased buildings that were too large for their needs. Either dilemma is equally frustrating, and it’s worth spending a little time up front to figure out exactly how much space you will need.
Storage Shed Size: 3 Considerations
There are essentially three shed design considerations when choosing your storage shed size:
Storage Space, Yard Space, and Permit Requirements.
This is the first one, and perhaps the most important. If you know exactly what large items you will be storing for the entire life of this building, you can simply lay them out on the ground and measure what you need. Just remember to allow room for the smaller items, as well as access and movement within the building! If you just need “AS MUCH SPACE AS POSSIBLE!!!” then it would be best to proceed directly to the other two items regarding size.
While this is not a problem for some of our clients, most people do have a finite amount of yard. However, having the building overpower the yard is not a common problem except with the very smallest of yards. The more common considerations have to do with whether or not it will fit “between those two trees and the swing set” or some other similar issue. Just make sure it will fit where you want it to go!
Storage Building Permits
We are frequently asked, “Do I Need a Permit to Build a Shed?” This is the consideration that ends up making the size decision for many people. In the state of Virginia, a “building permit” is typically required for any building over 256 square feet (a 12X20 building is just under that benchmark).
(Note: most localities still require you to verify the placement of the building with the zoning office prior to installation. This is usually called a “Zoning Permit” or something similar, and is not as involved and costly as a typical “building permit.”)
256 square feet is also the size where a “permanent foundation” is typically required. While this is not a “deal-killer” necessarily, it does add another dimension, some extra costs, and an additional inspection to the process. A 12X20 building is the largest that can be easily installed with only blocks or a gravel base. We’ve addressed the foundational questions of shed design in The 5 Most Popular Shed Foundations.
You’ve just finished Step 1 out of 5. Congratulations! You are on your way to a great shed design that will serve you well for years to come.