a woman building a backyard shed

Tips for Building or Installing a Backyard Shed.

Published in Tips for Homeowners

Building or installing a backyard shed can be a rewarding project and a needed enhancement to your outdoor space. Whether you need extra storage, a workshop, or a cozy garden retreat, a well-constructed shed can add to your lifestyle and even increase your property value. Here are some essential tips to help guide you through the process of creating the perfect backyard shed!

Planning and Permits for Your Backyard Shed.

Before you start building, it’s crucial to plan your project thoroughly. Start by determining the shed’s purpose, size, and location—will it be used for storage, as a workspace, or perhaps as a playhouse? Your intended use will influence the design and features you need. Keep these things in mind:

Check Local Regulations: Different municipalities have varying regulations for shed construction. Check with your regional building department to understand the applicable zoning laws, setback requirements, and whether you need a permit. This step is essential in avoiding potential legal issues and fines. For example, in Halifax (HRM), a building permit is required to construct an accessory building (shed or garage) larger than 215 square feet. Click here for more details on HRM shed building permit requirements.

Assess the Site: Ensure the chosen site is accessible and has enough space for construction. Make sure you have a flat, well-drained area to build your shed. Avoid low-lying spots prone to water accumulation, which can lead to foundation problems and rot. Check out our blog on all things flood insurance for some other consideration on this issue.

Design and Size: Decide on a design that suits your needs and complements your property. Consider the size of the shed, ensuring it’s large enough to accommodate your belongings or activities and the right fit for your space. Remember, bigger isn’t always better; a shed that overwhelms your yard can look out of place.

Construction and Installation of a Garden Shed.

With your plans and materials ready, it’s time to move on to construction and installation. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth process:

Pre-fabricated vs. DIY: Decide whether you want a pre-fabricated shed kit or if you prefer to build it from scratch. Pre-fabricated kits are convenient and come with all the necessary components and instructions, making them suitable for beginners. Building from scratch allows for more customization and can be cost-effective if you have the skills and tools.

Tools and Safety: Take inventory of the tools needed to build, such as a hammer, saw, drill, level, and measuring tape. Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, goggles, and sturdy footwear. Working with power tools and heavy materials can be hazardous, so prioritize your safety.

Decide on a Foundation: There are various foundation options, such as a concrete slab, concrete posts or blocks, patio stones or wooden skids. A solid and level foundation is critical for a successful build and long-term stability. Then, you will need a floor frame on top of your foundation. Choose 2” x 6” pressure-treated boards vertically assembled for greater strength.

Finishing Touches and Shed Maintenance.

Once the shed is built, adding finishing touches and maintaining it properly will enhance its appearance and functionality.

Painting and Sealing: Painting or staining your shed will help protect it from the elements. Use weather-resistant paint and sealant to prevent moisture damage and prolong the shed’s life.

Organize the Interior: Install shelving, hooks, and storage bins to keep the shed organized and maximize space. Consider adding insulation and ventilation if you plan to spend extended time inside.

Regular Maintenance: Inspect your shed periodically for signs of wear and tear. Replace damaged shingles, reapply sealant, and check for pests. Regular maintenance will keep your shed looking great and functioning well for years to come.

Insurance Protection for Your Shed.

A crucial aspect of building or installing a backyard shed is insurance protection. Properly insuring your shed will help provide peace of mind, knowing that it is covered against potential damage or loss. Read our blog on how home improvements impact home insurance for more details.

Update Your Homeowner’s Policy: Contact your insurance provider to add the new shed to your homeowner’s insurance policy. This step ensures that the shed is covered against risks such as fire, theft, and severe weather. Some policies automatically include outbuildings, but it’s essential to confirm coverage for your specific policy.

Assess Coverage Needs: Determine the value of the items you plan to store in the shed and ensure your coverage limits are adequate. High-value equipment, such as lawnmowers, bicycles, or tools, may require additional coverage.

Consider Liability Coverage: If your shed will be used as a workspace or a play area, consider adding liability coverage. This protects you in case someone is injured while using the shed.

Document Your Shed: Keep detailed records of your shed, including photos, receipts, and a list of stored items. This documentation will be invaluable if you need to file a claim.

Navigating the construction of your new backyard build can be confusing. Following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building or installing a backyard shed that meets your needs and enhances your outdoor space.

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