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How to Build a Garden Shed?

Dec 08, 2023

Author: Lisa Smith

Building a garden shed can be a rewarding DIY project, adding functional storage space and aesthetic appeal to your garden and property. The following is our guide to help you build your own garden shed, complete with in-copy links to useful reference sources for additional information and guidance.

Step 1: Plan Your Shed

Understanding Your Needs: Consider the purpose of your shed. Will it be used for storage, as a workshop, or perhaps a greenhouse? Your intended use will dictate the size and features of your shed.

Choosing the Right Location: Select a spot in your garden that's accessible and receives the right amount of sunlight and shade, depending on your needs. Ensure the ground is level and not prone to flooding. This Old House provides great tips on planning your garden shed build project.

Designing Your Shed: Decide on the dimensions and style of your shed. For inspiration and detailed shed plans that you can download, check out Shedplans.org.

Step 2: Consent Requirements

Before checking with your local council whether you need a consent for your shed, you will need to know:

  • dimensions of the project (height, total area)
  • location on the property where the project will go
  • size of the property in square metres
  • total pre-existing building coverage on the property
  • total pre-existing hard surfaces on the property

In general, you won’t need consent if your shed is less than 30 sqm. Most councils like Auckland City Council have good website information on consent requirements for buildings like garden sheds.

Step 3: Building Materials and Tools

Materials: You'll need concrete and gravel for constructing the foundations, timber ground posts, framing and joists, cladding, flooring, roofing materials, nails, screws, and perhaps window(s) and door(s).

Tools: Essential tools include a hammer, saw, drill, level, tape measure, step ladder, and safety gear.

Step 4: Lay the Foundation

Types of Foundations: You can choose from concrete slabs, concrete blocks, gravel, or wooden foundations. Each has its pros and cons, see our article How To Prepare Your Garden Shed Site.

Building the Foundation: Follow the instructions specific to your chosen foundation type. Ensure it's level and sturdy to support your shed.

This video shows how to lay a concrete foundation for a shed.

Step 5: Construct the Frame

Flooring: Start by framing the floor if you haven’t chosen a concrete floor. Use pressure-treated timber for durability. The following video provides helpful instructions for a timber-piled foundation.

Walls and Roof: Frame the walls and roof according to your design.

There are a number of instructive and helpful “how to build a shed” videos on YouTube including this video.

Step 6: Add Cladding and Roofing

Cladding: Cover the framed walls with cladding. Plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) are common choices. If you want a natural timber look, then pine, douglas fir, or macrocarpa are the best NZ timber options. Depending on your preference and subject to availability, these timbers can be applied in overlap, tongue and groove, and shiplap styles.

Roofing: Install the roofing material. Options include shingles, corrugated iron, polycarbonate, and others. You may need guttering depending on the size of your roof.

Step 7: Install Doors and Windows

Doors: Depending on your skill level, you can build a custom door or install a pre-hung door. For DIY door construction, and installing windows, Fine Homebuilding has some great resources.

Step 8: Finish and Customise

Exterior: Paint or stain the exterior of your shed to protect it from the elements and to match your garden's aesthetic.

Interior: Customise the interior based on your needs. Shelving, workbenches, or storage solutions can be added. Mitre10 and Bunnings have some great shelving options. 

Remember to check local building codes and obtain any necessary permits before you start your project.

Kitset Garden Sheds

Kitset garden sheds, also known as prefabricated or ready-to-assemble sheds, can be an excellent option, especially for those who prefer a more straightforward assembly process over building from scratch.

Here are some of the key advantages and considerations:

  • Ease of Assembly: Kitset sheds come with pre-cut and pre-drilled parts, making the assembly process much simpler and they include assembly plans and require fewer tools. This is particularly beneficial for those with limited DIY experience.
  • Time-Saving: Since the components are ready to be assembled, building a kitset shed takes significantly less time compared to constructing a shed from raw materials.
  • Cost-Effective: In some cases, kitset sheds can be more cost-effective than custom-built sheds, especially when considering the time and potential errors in cutting and measuring materials.
  • Variety of Designs: Prefabricated sheds are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials, allowing you to choose one that best fits your garden’s aesthetic and your storage needs.

Outpost Buildings provides a quality range of durable kitset garden sheds. These are available in a wide variety of sizes to suit many requirements and property sizes from urban backyards to large lifestyle properties. They include assembly plans and all the required fixings and can all be delivered NZ-wide to your property. To learn more about kitset shed options, reach out and talk to us about which one will suit your property best.

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