Sizing up a garden shed

A garden shed purchase should not compromise quality to make a cost saving. That said there are many stores (e.g. garden centres) selling over priced garden sheds for no improvement in quality.

For good quality, price, service and optional shed erection in the U.K., all accessible online click here... or read on for more advice on sheds first…

I prefer wood, it’s natural, but not as consistent as man-made materials. You can get a few knots, small holes, or gaps that need sealing. Wood readily swells or shrinks and the sun and the rain bring deterioration, but if you protect your garden shed with wood preservative, annually if possible, it can easily last you a long long time.

Never choose cheap overlap, always tongue and groove for a sturdy construction. The grain on a properly machined and finished timber garden shed will be better sealed. A good quality shed won't give you problems.

A timber shed – indeed any shed - that is not erected on a firm level site or not erected square and true, will quite simply fall down before you know it. Some shed deals come with a metal ground frame that you fill with concrete. My advice is to get a flagger to put some concrete flags down. Timber sheds ordered at Shedstore usually come with optional shed erection and sometimes a free base thrown in.

If there's an option to get a thicker stronger shed frame – it’s well worth the small extra cost, indeed it’s probably essential if you’re going to screw in tool hangers and put up shelves. If you live in the Merseyside area of North West of England I recommend Atlas Sheds for unbeatable quality, price and a complete all round service.

Apex roofs have the advantage if you want to store bean poles or long tool handles in an overhead cradle. If the door and windows are at opposite ends of the ridge, both side walls can be used for tools and shelves. A small potting bench can be placed under the window.

An apex garden shed may be cooler than a pent roofed as heat absorption is divided between different roof slopes, while heat loss is greater as the overall roof surface is larger for the same ground area.

The ridge on an apex roof can more easily succumb to roof felt cracking. A pent roof has a slight advantage for putting up gutters to collect rainwater.

Specialised potting sheds are sold with larger sloping windows to get maximum light on your bench. Sheds can get very hot when the sun is beating down. Ventilation in the form of an opening window can be useful especially if you store chemicals.

You may want one garden shed to store everything from tools and machines to fertilizer, seeds and a potting bench. But a useful option to consider is having a smaller shed, and a separate bunker for composts and grow bags. Then if you only wish to store a few tools, perhaps in a more convenient place, small tool cabinets are available.

Gardeners sometimes buy a garden shed solely to store large lawn motorise mowers. Then, if you don’t plan to hang machine accessories on shelves you could get a larger shed with a lighter frame. Larger double doors sited for wide access may be necessary.

If you plan to store anything valuable in your shed think about security. Barred windows, a good padlock, alarms, and special screws are among the kit you can get. Check out the links above.