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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Horning

Shed Placement - How to Choose the Best Location

So, you’ve decided to invest in a shed. You might be looking to add a man cave to your property, have a home office for your new business, a play house for the kids, or just somewhere to store your tools and other garden equipment. Whatever the reason, the next decision you’ve got to make is deciding on the right shed location.


The positioning of your shed will influence many of the shed's features, such as its shape, size, and type of foundation. However, if you’ve already decided on the features your shed needs, it’s not going to live up to your expectations if you place it in an awkward position or it’s too far away.

There are lots of factors to consider and in this post, you’ll discover what they are. When you know what you’re looking for, it makes the decision much easier.


How To Find the Best Location for Your Shed?


The positioning of your shed is critical because it can have a massive impact on how long it’ll last and its functionality.

You might want your shed to be a feature in your garden, in which case, it might need to sit front and center. On the other hand, you might prefer that it blends nicely with your garden’s landscape.

What Are the Most Important Things to Consider When You Choose Your Shed Place?


Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you should consider when thinking about the best shed placement.


What’s the Size of the Shed and Do You Have Enough Space?


Sheds come in a variety of sizes, from those that have just a few feet of storage space to sheds with a veranda and two levels.

A big influence on shed location is the size of your yard space. As well as your yard having sufficient space for the footprint of your shed and any extension, there must also be space for a generous path to the doorway of your garden shed and perhaps all around it.

Consider keeping room open around the perimeter of your shed in case you decide on other addons.


How Are You Planning To Use Your Shed?

What you’re going to use your shed for is a critical factor when deciding on shed placement.

For example, if your shed is purely a garden shed, it needs to be in or near your garden. Close to a water source will also be useful. If you’re going to use your shed for storing bikes, tools, lawn equipment, and various other supplies, you’re likely going to want to place your backyard shed in a location that’s accessible from the front yard.


If you’ve got a ride-on mower you want to store, you’ll want to position your storage building in a location that makes it easy to drive the mower into the shed.


For those who have decided to use their shed as a studio, a position that allows for the most natural light will be better. Your shed might look good placed under a tree and the tree will provide some shade, but it’s also going to block off the natural light.

Similarly, you should locate your shed far away from any neighboring structures, if you plan on using your shed as a:

  • Workshop

  • She shed

  • Man cave

Laws and Conventions


There are likely to be local laws and ordinances you need to follow. It’s a good idea to check what these are before you start construction. What could be worse than putting up your shed and then later finding out you’ve got to take it down because it breaks some kind of ordinance or you should have applied for a shed building permit?

Typically, your shed will not require a building permit or planning permissions if it meets the following criteria:

  • At the eaves, it’s less than 2.5 meters tall

  • It is located at least 2 meters away from a house boundary

  • It doesn’t cover more than 50% of the garden

  • The shed is for domestic use only and there is no sleeping accommodation

  • There is no balcony or veranda and if there is decking, it’s no higher than 30cm from ground level

  • The area of the floor is no more than 15 square meters

Please bear in mind that these are just guidelines. Building permit requirements and exemptions vary depending on where you live.


What are Your Setbacks (Also Known as a Property Line)?


Setbacks are ordinances that determine how far away a storage building must be from things such as:

  • Easements

  • Property line

  • Side, front, and rear property lines

  • Wetland areas

  • Swimming pools

  • Driveways, streets, and sidewalks

  • Leach fields and septic tanks

  • Telephone poles and power lines

Setback distances vary from town to town and range from 10 feet for a rear lot line to 100 feet or more for wetlands.

Before finalizing the shed placement, check with your local building department to determine what the proper setback distances are.


Closeness to Boundaries


Building your shed next to a fence might seem like a good place, but there are issues that may arise if you choose this shed location.

To start with, it may annoy your neighbors, depending on who they are. Aside from that, if the wall backs onto your neighbor's house, this is a big no-no. Legally, you’re not permitted to place your shed within two meters of a dwelling boundary. If you decide to ignore this rule, you could be bringing a whole lot of trouble to your door.


Maximum Rear Yard Coverage Allowed


If your garden shed is going to be small, this section probably won’t apply to your garden shed placement.

However, if your shed is going to be a fair size and you’ll be using it as an office or for something similar, you need to consider the gross square footage of your building. There are limits on a building placed in your backyard.


It’s a good idea to run your plans past your local city regulators to make sure your plans are within the law. As an example, in some cities, the limit is 120 square feet.


The Landscape For Best Storage Shed Location


As well as the shed itself, there is also the surrounding environment that will impact your shed placement and design.

Level Ground


The ideal spot for a shed is somewhere that’s nice and flat. There should be no clumps of rocks or roots. It’s also a good idea to avoid a location that is too close to a tree because low-hanging branches can damage your shed. In the fall, there’s also the issue of falling leaves to consider.


What Kind of Soil


Soil conditions are as important as other factors in this list, but it’s something that’s often overlooked.

  • Sand - Loose soil, such as soil that contains a lot of sand is going to move around a lot unless you compact it. When the soil is not compacted, your accessory building will slide and move.

  • Clay -Clay soil is ideal for building a shed. However, you must make sure the soil is level before you commence construction.

  • Rocks - Rocky soil is difficult to level which means you’ll struggle to create an even base for your garden shed. If your soil is rocky, the best thing to do is to build the base of the building off of the ground. To do this you’ll have to dig holes for posts and then build a platform on which to stand your shed.

Foundation of the Shed


The foundation of your shed should be level as this will prevent debris and standing pools of water. In addition, it will provide a solid surface and a secure level base on which you can position your shed.

If there is nowhere that’s level in your backyard, you make have to construct stairs that lead up to the shed door.


Your shed foundations will likely be made using concrete or a gravel pad, so the location needs to be suitable for creating this type of base. The foundations on which you will build your shed have to be sturdy and durable.

Accessibility


If your shed is going to be for storing heavy equipment, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to load and unload them. Locating your shed at the end of a gravel path or a driveway would make it far more accessible.


Utilities


Another element that’s important to consider is the location of utilities such as buried power lines or drainage pipes.

Make the mistake of building your shed on top of these and you’ll need to take it down if the municipality or utility company needs to make repairs in the future.

Contact your local authority if you’re not sure where the utilities are on your property.


Security of the Shed


You might be storing some very valuable items in your shed, so security is vital.

If there is a possibility of intruders getting into your backyard, consider placing your shed somewhere that’s visible from your home. You can also protect your valuables by installing security lighting and sturdy locks.

Building a shed with no windows might also be an option if you’re only using it for storage. It will stop intruders from peeking inside your shed and then breaking in through the windows.


Longevity


The placement of your shed has a direct impact on how long it lasts.

Your shed will last longer if it’s somewhere that’s dry rather than continually wet or at the end of your neighborhood watershed.


Shed Aesthetics

Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions that relate to how your shed looks. Quite often, these restrictions will depend on your shed’s placement from the property line, how much it’s visible from neighboring properties or a public right of way.

The more visible your shed, the more restrictions there might be with regard to the color and design.


Aesthetics is also a matter of personal taste. Make your shed more attractive and it could increase the value of your home if you plan and install it correctly.

In addition, you might want your shed to blend into its surroundings. This will affect where you place your shed.


What Limitations Will You Need To Work Around?


There may be local laws and ordinances you have to follow. Find out what these are by contacting your local regulatory agency. You might also need to obtain the necessary building or shed permit.


Make sure you read through the limitations and restrictions document to ensure your shed is built within the law.

If you live in a location that has a Homeowners Association, you must consult with them to see if there are any specific guidelines. Typically, any restrictions will be much stricter than those set out in city laws and local ordinances.


More Tips for Your Shed Placement


Let’s take a quick look at a few more things to consider in relation to shed placement.


How Easy (Or Challenging) Will Your Installation Be?

Deciding on your shed location means you also have to consider how easy of difficult its installation will be. You need to choose a location where it’s easy to build a strong gravel pad or concrete foundation..


How Will Your Shed Fit Into The Existing Landscape?


The existing landscape is going to impact your shed location. For example:

Drainage


Is there anywhere in your yard that water gathers and pools? Make sure you build it away from these areas. If drainage is bad, your wooden shed is going to rot.


Septic Bed


Check where your existing septic access is and make sure you don’t build your shed over it.


Space for a Ramp


If you’re going to be loading and unloading heavy equipment from your shed, you’ll need to consider accessibility. It may be necessary to build a ramp so there will need to be space.


Exposure to the sun


A shed location that’s in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day is going to make it very hot in the summer and damage heat sensitive belongings. Build it somewhere that’s going to provide some shade.


Outdoor activities


Place your shed within a reasonable distance from areas you spend most of your time outdoors. For instance, if you have a garden – the proper location would be in a spot where you can easily grab what you need.


Envision Decorative Elements


You can make a more attractive shed and personalize it by adding decorative elements. Ornamental plants make a great addition.

You might also want to consider a water feature such as a fountain or pond. Size constraints may affect your decision. Some research about water lines and other elements might also be required.


Help to establish your storage shed as a permanent feature with rock and metal retaining walls, a patio space, and raised garden beds.


Parallels


Should you place your shed parallel to your house or fence? This is the ideal way to do it, but you may find it difficult if your fence and home angles are at odds. It might not be possible to place your shed in a location that’s parallel to both.

If this is the case for you, consider which feature your shed will be closest to and the issue of convenient access points as well.


Lighting inside the Shed


The position of the sun is important. How important, depends on the function of the backyard shed.

For example, if it’s going to be a greenhouse or a summer house, you might want to choose a location directly in front of where direct sunlight hits for optimum light exposure.


If your shed is going to be an office, studio, or workshop, the sun beating down on the shed interior all day might not be ideal. In this case, you’ll need at least the basic electric lights.

The sun can also cause storage shed roofing materials and exterior paint or finishes to age much faster.


If the shed placement is going to be in a shady spot, you might want to consider extra windows for natural lighting.

For more useful information, check our guide on artificial and natural shed lighting options and ideas.


Conclusion


As you can see from the list above, there are lots of things to consider when it comes to the placement of your storage shed.

Rest assured that Urban Sheds has years of experience and knowledgeable team members to help you overcome all these hurdles. Urban Sheds is experienced in backyard shed design and has the required knowledge when it comes to town and city regulations and site preparation.


FAQs


Can you put a shed anywhere in your garden?


No, you cannot. There are many things to take into consideration such as the structure of the storage shed and local planning regulations.


Which direction should a shed face?


This really depends on what you’re using your shed for as the placement of the sun will make your shed hot. However, it can also provide lots of natural light.


How far does a shed have to be from the fence?


Typically, a shed should be a minimum of five feet from all property lines.


Can I build a shed next to my neighbor's fence?


You should avoid building your shed right next to your neighbor's fence as it could cause problems with current or future occupants.


Should a shed be parallel to a house?


Ideally, your shed should be parallel to your house and fence.


How close to my house can I put a shed?


Generally, your shed should be at least ten feet away from your home. However, regulations vary and you should check your local zoning laws and regulations.

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Jeremy Horning has a passion for efficient and smooth running systems. He values beauty and  craftsmanship. When he’s not too busy building business, you’ll find him on the job constructing sheds or resurfacing hardwood decks.

After moving to Medford Ma. in 2014 he was a co-founder of  Alpha Omega Property Services, a handyman business, out of which he started Boston Hardwood Decks and Urban Sheds.

Jeremy started Urban Sheds in 2017 with the vision of connecting local craftsmen and homeowners around great shed designs, sustainable production and straightforward purchasing.​