Storage ShedsPortable canopies and tents, and storage sheds and playhouses, can add entire new dimensions to your backyard and property. They provide shelter, storage space, and dozens of decorative opportunities. For parents determined to provide a safe environment for their children, they also present some unique challenges. But more importantly, they provide chances to teach your kids important lessons while enjoying their company.

Canopies and Tents in the Yard and Away

The most important fact to remember – and, not surprisingly, among the most obvious – is that canopies and tents are not toys, and they are not playground equipment. In fact, children climbing on canopy frames can seriously damage the legs and support trusses and tear the canopy material. Even canopies with weight bags, ground stakes, and other anchoring systems can capsize if a child hangs from or climbs the legs. Under no circumstances should a child sit atop the canopy cover while the canopy is deployed.

On a more upbeat note, setting up and taking down a canopy or tent is a great way to teach children the importance of caring for their possessions and to help improve their motor skills. Placing children in charge of the assembly before an event, or letting them take care of the maintenance afterwards, gives them a character-building task that’s not too complex or that requires elaborate physical exertion.

Canopies also make good central, outdoor meeting places during lawn-keeping projects or for times when too many trips indoors for glasses or water or sunscreen would eat up too much time. Just deploy the canopy in an area of the yard and use it to shelter a water cooler, towels, sun protectant, and other supplies.

Canopy Care Involves the Whole Family

CanopiesAs an ongoing practice, parents should always dismantle and store the canopy away when it’s not in use. This will protect children from possible injury but also make sure the canopy stays in top condition for as long as possible. For a complete guide to family canopy safety, click here.

Backyard Storage Sheds Bring Something for the Entire Family

One of the modern storage shed’s greatest advantage lies in its variety. Suitable for dozens of purposes, storage sheds are also available in a giant array of sizes and styles. They’re constructed from vinyl and metal as well as the traditional wood, and some wooden models feature decorative elements including cupolas, window shutters, front porches, and decorative eaves.

But for all the external variety, the storage shed isn’t necessarily just for storage. Sheds also make great centerpieces for flowerbeds and other landscaping. Families can also renovate their interiors, as well, making them display spaces for collections or for holding household items and supplies (off season holiday decorations, extra linens and clothes, et cetera) that need the extra storage space. Many storage sheds include floor kits as optional extras, making the shed more like an “outdoor closet” than a separate, exterior storage container.

Shed Safety and Preservation

A properly maintained storage shed can last as long as your house itself. And like the house, it should be kept safe from the elements. Follow all instructions in the owner’s manual, and remember to keep the interior clean and free of insects and small animals.

Proper maintenance will vary according to your shed’s particular construction. Vinyl and plastic sheds will need little more than an occasional washing and rinsing to remain in good condition. Wooden storage sheds, while more attractive, will often require more care and preventative treatment.

Storage Sheds and Family Safety

Storage ShedsEven though their low roofs may offer an irresistible climbing temptation, parents should keep their children from using the sheds as climbing or playground equipment. This is also true of the exteriors of playhouses, and even (perhaps especially) the frames and support beams of swing sets and play sets.

If sheds are used to store hazardous equipment – such as lawnmowers, power tools, and saw blades – the shed should be kept locked whenever not in use. Remember at the end of tasks to lock all entries to the shed, including any opening windows. Use a heavy-gauge padlock or combination lock, mounted high up on the doors, to prevent children from simply snapping the doors open.

Storage Shed Decoration and Renovation

Storage sheds and playhouses also present incredible opportunities to teach children about renovation, including painting and landscaping. Read about the best – and most cost-effective ways – to renovate and beautify your wooden storage shed by reading our complete guide here. For additional details on adding flowerbeds to your storage shed, read our easy how-to tutorial.

Children’s Playhouses Are Fantastic Dreams Come True

PlayhousesSimilar in size and scale to the storage shed, children’s playhouses represent probably the ultimate in children’s toys. Large enough to become a “house” of their own, they are available in many different styles and themes, from fanciful cottage to frontier schoolroom. They’re sturdy enough to last all childhood long, too, and assemble from a prefabricated kit that comes with complete instructions.

Much like storage sheds, playhouses present incredible opportunities to teach children about renovation, including painting and landscaping. For a complete guide to renovating a shed or child’s playhouse a fun project for the whole family, see our guide elsewhere on this blog.

Storage ShedsIn some ways, it’s tempting to think of the storage shed as any home’s “branch office.” A storage shed provides valuable sheltering space and can increase the beauty of your yard or property. It can also serve as recreation or entertainment space for parties and other backyard events.

With the wide variety of choices available to consumers looking to add a storage shed to their backyard landscape, it’s important to understand several areas of interest.

Storage Shed Materials and Construction

What do you picture when you imagine a storage shed?

For many, the popular image remains that of the no-frills vinyl or metal shed propped against the back of a house or barn. All the same, larger wood- and cedar storage sheds provide greater amounts of storage and recreation space while also offering powerful decorative potential.

Other varieties of storage shed include plastic, plastic resin, metal (usually aluminum), and special canopy-style sheds that use a flexible tarp stretched over a rigid – again, usually aluminum or stainless steel – frame.

Many storage shed models are listed as “wood prepped-for-vinyl,” or a similar term. This means that the shed’s walls are prepared for mounting vinyl sides across their exterior. The walls may themselves be constructed from particleboard or oriented strand board (OSB.)

Storage Sheds and Weather Protection

The materials used to make the storage shed will determine its potential resistance to the elements. Many models of shelter, regardless of their materials, will list their weather resistance certifications and qualifications as a central part of their features. Such features often play a great role in determining a shed’s cost. For example, higher snow load and wind resistance sheds and portable shelters sometimes cost more than less fortified models. This is largely because the materials used to make them are more expensive and harder to manipulate during production.

Storage Shed Functionality

Storage ShedsRegardless of their weather resistance, the functions of a storage shed are limited only by the imaginations of their owners. Many owners simply choose to employ the storage shed as a kind of “backyard closet” that holds landscaping and lawn care equipment. Others use their shelters to store additional or surplus household supplies such as clothes and linens, or extra furniture or appliances.

Storage sheds, especially those that are sealed against the elements, can provide ideal shelter and display space for collections, memorabilia, and family keepsakes. Qualified electricians can rig many models for electric light, adding to their display potential.

Choosing the Right Size

The answer to any size question remains purely subjective. Nevertheless, when shopping for a storage shed, remember to leave “room to grow.” By buying a larger shed than you need right now, you give yourself the blessing of extra space to store equipment and other goods you acquire in the future.

Wood Storage Sheds’ Decorative Potential

Storage ShedsSome wooden storage shed models include “real” house decoration features including wooden floors (either optional or standard) and glass windows and shutters. Others include gable windows, eaves and shingled roofs, and fenced or semi-enclosed porches.

Standard and optional decorative features vary – often wildly – among manufacturers but also from model to model. When deciding which storage shed to purchase, it’s important to carefully understand what comes as a basic feature to each shed and what must be ordered at additional costs.

Sunroom and Greenhouse Storage Sheds

These versatile shed models combine the horticultural advantages of greenhouses and sunrooms with the storage functionality of the basic storage shed. Several such models are available from a variety of manufacturers.

Children’s Playhouses and Cottages

Similar in shape and construction to storage sheds, children’s playhouses – also called children’s cottages – offer any child a wonderful playtime destination. They’re available in a variety of motifs and themes: cottage, schoolhouse, country church, and many others. Like storage sheds, they’ll require assembly and decoration, including painting. They also include the same range of options as many storage sheds.

How To Build The Shed: DIY vs. Contractor

Storage ShedsStorage shed kits are built for relatively quick assembly using basic carpentry tools. However, to the novice builder these instructions can appear complex and hard to understand. Local contractors and woodworking professionals (carpenters, handymen, et cetera) may be available to complete the assembly for shed owners reluctant to risk time-consuming setup mistakes. As with any construction job, an estimate of all costs should be obtained before an agreement is finalized.Shed owners should also feel free to ask for references when making their contractor selection.

PlaysetsFor most homeowners, the summer months are the prime time to enjoy their backyard. The long days, mild nights and of course the holiday weekends and vacations can make the lure of the outdoors irresistible.

In the summertime, parents and party hosts alike can follow these tips to keep their backyards, pools, decks and patios clean, safe, and healthy.

Make Sure Your Lawn Is Enclosed and Secure

Especially for people living in the outer suburbs or countryside, loose wildlife and stray pets can pose a significant health risk to yourself and your pets. Secure your backyard or property by checking your fence for holes or for burrows along its base.

For areas without fences, use an animal repellent system to discourage stray pets and local wildlife from coming on to your lawn.

Inspect Your Deck, Gazebo, Playhouses and Playsets

The elements and normal wear and tear can leave your wooden backyard areas unsafe. Check foundations and sunken posts to make sure the concrete is secure and that rot and mildew have not eaten into the wood. Also, make sure that no nails, screws, or splinters protrude from the lumber’s surface. Playsets and playhouses should be on level ground and secured to their foundation.

The undersides of railings, eaves, and elevated decks and tree houses are common areas to find wasp and hornet’s nests, and small wildlife like snakes will sometimes nest in the dark areas beneath decks and raised playhouses. Use an exterminator to check beneath such areas, or carefully spray them with pesticide from a safe distance.

Keep Your Grass Clear of Debris, Holes

Storage ShedsLoose trash, rocks, leaves and branches, and small holes or divots can present risks for twisted and sprained ankles, painful falls, and cuts and bruises. Use extra sod or loose dirt to fill any holes, and call an exterminator if the holes persistently reappear. Remember that loose leaf piles and other organic matter can serve as breeding grounds for insects.

When mowing and trimming your lawn, keep children at least 30 feet away from the machinery, and remove all debris before cutting and trimming. Even small pebbles and sticks can become dangerous projectiles when they collide with a mower’s or edger’s blades. Remember to wear long pants and protective shoes when conducting any lawn cleanup or repairs.

Spray for Insects, But Stay Wary of Pesticides

Keep pesticides locked up in the utility room or storage shed at all times. When spraying for pests, keep the lawn closed off from children and visitors for the recommended time found on the insecticide’s instructions.

Mosquitoes and other flying insects can present not just an annoyance but also a risk of disease and other infections. Reduce mosquitoes’ breeding capacity by clearing your property of standing freshwater, especially within shaded areas. Mosquito repellent systems can also reduce local insect populations when used consistently over time.

Keep Your Patio Furniture Looking Like New

Patio Dining SetsIronically, heat and humidity are the natural enemies of patio furniture, leading to mildew and rot that can spoil both good looks and comfort. If you use lawn sprinklers, cover the furniture or move it out of the spray area to prevent standing water from helping mildew spread. Clean vinyl and plastic furniture by using warm water and gentle detergents. (Check the furniture instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.)

Clean your patio or deck floor by sweeping up loose debris and trash. Using or blower or just pushing the stray matter into the backyard only causes small bits of it to get trapped or stuck under furniture and in nooks and crannies. Trash and debris swept into the yard will eventually finds it way back onto the patio floor.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Finally, protect yourself in the backyard by using sunscreen and wearing appropriate clothing when participating in backyard activities. You’ll prevent sunburn and avoid simple injuries like nicks, cuts, and scrapes. Keep a first aid kit either on the patio or nearby: for example, within the pantry of the laundry room, guest bathroom, or any room located just inside the house.

Party Canopies Memorial Day is just a couple of weeks away, and after the long, lazy days of June comes the excitement and spectacle of Independence Day. If you’re planning on throwing a backyard party for the holidays or just to get some friends and family over, you want the celebration to be the best you can make it.

Renovating your backyard to be the best space it can be is another matter entirely. But despite what you may think, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your backyard or patio looking party-ready. Simply take the following steps.

Get Your Backyard Into Clean Shape

Just opening the doors and cracking open the ice chest was fine for the parties you threw in college. But as a homeowner, you want your backyard to make the same statement about your sense of class that your house would make during an indoor fete.

Take the opportunity to spruce up your backyard, too. Install a popup canopy to offer a place beyond the patio where guests can congregate. Plant flowerbeds around your storage shed, and use its front porch (if it has one) as a second place to serve drinks and food.

Don’t Skimp On the Decorations

A party is the chance to transform your backyard into a celebration space that your guests won’t soon forget. Decoration schemes for Independence Day are self-explanatory: flags, banners, streamers and other patriotic gear. But you can also use light strings (just like at Christmastime), banners and streamers, and other party decorations throughout the party area. Your gazebo, canopy, storage shed, and backyard deck all make great places to string with lights, banners, and other decorations.

Be Prepared for Unpredictable Weather

Patio Furniture In the event of sudden showers, where will your guests go? If you’re partying in the park, a party canopy makes a great shelter to wait out the rain. On the patio, a sail shade canopy will keep rain off but also protect guests from the hot summer sun, too.

Monitor weather forecasts, of course, but keep your eye on the weather around your party area. It never hurts to have a contingency plan, including asking a group of family members or friends in advance to help you scramble the food and drinks inside when the wet weather arrives.

Remember That Seating Is Essential

If you’re serving food (and let’s face it – it’s not really a backyard party without food) you need to anticipate seating for all your guests. Patio tables and chairs will provide places for some, but for the overflow you’ll need to take special considerations. Borrow chairs from your neighbors, or take the opportunity to invest in new patio furniture that will replace the set you already have.

Some guests will be happy to eat in lawn chairs, so make sure there’s plenty of those available, too. Plastic lawn chairs can be attractive while still lightweight and durable.

Take Precautions Against Insects

Mosquito MagnetsAsk most people their least favorite thing about the great outdoors and you’ll likely hear “mosquitoes” or “bug bites” more often than not. For backyard parties, installing a mosquito magnet can drastically reduce the local mosquito and flying “no see um” population when used continuously. Plan to use the mosquito magnet well in advance of your celebration, to give it time to work its pest-clearing magic.

Storage ShedsWhen you’re planning to beautify your storage shed or playhouse, there are few better ways than adding a raised flowerbed. Relatively inexpensive but long on color and texture, even the most basic raised flowerbed adds depth and structure to your backyard or garden landscape.

Building a raised flowerbed is not difficult, but it’s a project that takes careful planning and especially good time management. The right tools and supplies also play a vital role in making sure your new flowerbeds bloom and stay healthy all spring and summer long.

Plan Your Garden Before You Dig

Know your soil and your climate before you decide on which plants you’re going to include in your new flowerbeds. Plants and flowers react differently to different soil types, and your soil’s moisture level will vary according to rainfall and time of year.

Assemble the Right Set of Tools

You’ll need the following tools to build a raised flowerbed:

  1. Can of spray paint – bright orange or red works best
  2. Garden rake
  3. Speed shovel
  4. Weed and grass killer
  5. Leaf rake
  6. Bags of Soil
  7. Flower plants from a nearby nursery or garden center
  8. Knee pads, sunscreen, and old clothes

Tip: Save money by borrowing the tools from friends and family. Just make sure to clean the tools before returning them.

Mark Out the Flowerbed Territory

PlayhousesUsing the spray paint, sketch out the shape and contour you want the flowerbed to follow around your storage shed or playhouse, painting a line in the grass to show its outer edge. It’s a good idea to make a diagram first, to act as a “map” for the flowerbeds’ final shapes. As the old saying goes, “measure twice and cut once.”

After the shape of the flower bed is marked off, spray the weed and grass killer everywhere inside it. This will remove the weeds and grass in a couple of hours. Remember to take all safety precautions described on the product’s label.

Get Digging!

Once the grass and weed killer has done its work, it’s time to dig! Use the shovel to dig around the flower bed’s outer edge, to a depth of about six inches. And don’t waste the dirt you dig – just throw it into the center of the flowerbed.

Add Potting Soil and Conditioner

Mix in potting soil, soil conditioner, and compost with the soil you’ve moved from the flower bed’s edge. Ideally, the finished soil mound will rise several inches and then gradually slope down to the outer edge. Use the leaf rake to pulverize larger clumps of dirt and soil, and get a thick topcoat of potting soil spread evenly throughout and around the storage shed or playhouse.

Plant Your Flowers

Storage ShedsRemove the plants from their transport containers and arrange them according to the directions on their label or name card. Start from the outer edge of the flowerbed and work your way in. Tip: you might have to use your garden rake to bust up stubborn clods of earth and soil.

Dig holes for the plants and bury them only up to the top of the roots (the place closest to the trunk.) Be careful to bury all roots, and to spread the soil evenly around the plant base.

Apply Water And Plant Food

Once all your new flower plants are in place, spray some plant food and make sure your plants are thoroughly watered. The water will help tamp down the new soil and help your roots get started in their new settings.

Make sure to water – but don’t over-water – your flowerbeds frequently. See the plants’ directions for times and schedules.

Backyard RenovationThe dedicated homeowner understands that the home doesn’t end at the front and back doors. Decorating and landscaping the backyard doesn’t just give pretty landscaping, but actually extends the living space into the great outdoors.

Backyard renovation – sculpting and transforming your backyard into a showcase entertainment and recreation area – doesn’t have to cost thousands and consume hundreds of weekend hours. Consider the five easy renovation tips:

Start With the Patio and Work Outwards

A great patio will serve as a recreation space through spring and fall and even well into autumn. Keep off the chilly temperatures leading up to winter with an outdoor fireplace. Available in wood-burning, gas, and electric models, an outdoor fireplace becomes a centerpiece to your patio area and a great backdrop to your patio furniture.

If your patio or back deck area is too small (or if you’re looking to renovate your rooftop deck,) consider installing a fire pit. These smaller, typically roundish installations give you the ambiance and comfort of a campfire in a controlled, contained area.

New Furniture Means New Comfort, Fresh Beauty

Patio and backyard furniture have a lifespan. After a while, replacing the tables and chairs reaps the same benefits as updating the furnishings on the inside of your home: a new sense of freshness to their area, an updated sense of style, and a fresh motivation to enjoy staying home.

Getting new patio furniture gives you a great opportunity to experiment, too. You can buy furniture with a new and different motif. You can even install new fixtures (a wet bar, a TV) that take your patio’s entertainment potential to a new level.

Expand your Storage Space with an Outdoor Shed

Storage sheds aren’t just for having a place to stow lawnmowers and snow blowers anymore. Modern storage sheds also serve as a greenhouses, root cellars, wine cellars, and personal “museums” and storehouses for collectibles.

Many storage sheds feature decorative accessories, too, including window boxes and shutters, cupolas and weather vanes. These are usually sold separately but may come included with the storage shed assembly kit.

Gazebos, Arbors, and Pergolas Add Depth, Versatility

Backyard RenovationBeyond the deck or patio, the backyard will benefit from a gazebo or pergola to act as a centerpiece for flower beds, swimming areas, and gravel or brick pathways. The ancient elegance of the gazebo also makes a great place to establish a wet bar or dining area.

Like the traditional garden arbor, pergolas make ideal scaffolds for ivy and other hanging plants. All three backyard structures can be painted (white is the most elegant color), but also look handsome when left their natural wood grain.

Gazebos, arbors, and sheds are available in different wood grains, and many are sold as prefabricated kits. Some manufacturers offer cedar and redwood models as well.

Set Up A Canopy For Fun In the Shade

If you don’t want to commit to a permanent backyard structure, the popup canopy or tent affords shelter from both the sun and rain only whenever you need it. Canopies make great shelters and (with sidewalls) outdoor dressing areas for pool parties and other events. For something a little more sporty, a sail shade lends any backyard a touch of architectural grace while still providing sun-beating shade.

Here’s a bonus tip: control pests throughout your backyard by investing in a mosquito magnet to lure and trap mosquitoes and other airborne pests away from where you and your family and friends enjoy your backyard.

Storage ShedsWooden storage sheds provide ample shelter and maintenance space for any one of thousands of household and lawn items. Yet for the ambitious landscaper, the storage shed’s exterior is an opportunity to bring a centerpiece of beauty to their property’s overall decor.

Many wooden storage shed manufacturers also offer a line of accessories to help beautify their basic storage shed units. Of course, there are many decoration and customization schemes you create and bring to life yourself. Some of them are discussed below, arranged to help you organize your redecorating plans.

Include the Storage Shed In Your Landscaping

It’s no secret that flower beds and gardens amplify the beauty of a house and lawn. Planting flower beds around your wooden storage shed’s base gives it added depth and shape while also boosting its visual appeal. Flowers always present a lively burst of color and warmth to a backyard or property; storage sheds with flower beds demonstrate the owner’s commitment to making every inch of their yard lovely to behold.

Add Exterior Trim to Outside Walls and Windows

Renovating or accentuating your wooden storage shed’s outside walls and windows brings a sense of architecture and design to the overall design scheme. Many storage shed manufacturers, most notably Handy Homes, provide a complete range of window accessories that are compatible with all their various models. These add-on accessories can include flower boxes, window arches, and shutters. Like flower beds, such accessories provide depth and texture to the shed’s appearance, reducing the squarish appearance of its basic structure and giving it a more nuanced silhouette.

You can also paint the shutters and flower boxes, like the storage shed itself, to complement or counterpoint your house’s colors.

Add Design Elements That Decorate, Improve The Roof

Storage Sheds

A Sequoia storage shed with dormer windows

There’s more to maximizing your wooden storage shed’s appeal than just planting flowers and adding window shutters. You can also increase the beauty of the roof by adding a cupola. Sometimes confused with a steeple, cupolas are generally more squat and rounded yet still add height and dimension to their buildings. Cupolas also make great bases on which to add weather vanes. These ancient yet still useful weather forecasters brings a rustic touch to any property, but today feature modern durability and design, as well.

You might also add window dormers to the front of a gabled storage shed roof. This brings a classic, traditional appeal to the shed by giving it the semblance of a second story or attic space. Dormer windows are standard on some model storage sheds but optional accessories on others.

Add A Gravel or Brick Path

Adding a gravel or brick path away from or towards your storage shed demonstrates its stature among your lawn or property decorations. It also reduces the amount of grass to cut while at the same time giving you a safe, comfortable route to travel from the storage shed to other parts of the yard.

 

Playhouses and Playsets

The "Sunflower" cedar playhouse

The stories of childhood are full of special places. Knights and princesses have castles while superheroes have secret headquarters. Wizards have towers and lords and ladies have mansions. Even animals have enchanted forests. As children grow towards their teens and then adulthood, they identify having a place of their own with having a place in the world.

Adding a playhouse to your backyard (or other property) makes a fantastic addition not just to your outside décor but also gives your children the gift of a lifetime. However, playhouse construction takes a certain amount of skill. Playsets are lots of fun for smaller children, but older kids might outgrow them too quickly.

Choosing between a playset or playhouse – or opting for both – requires a well-thought out investment of time and money. It’s not a time to make an impulse purchase.

Playset or Playhouse?

Playsets are ideal for larger backyards in areas where children don’t have ready access to playgrounds or other equipment to help them get exercise. But if your house is located near a school or church with a playground, buying your own playset is possibly redundant. Likewise, if your children make steady use of swingsets while at school, a playset of their own might also go ignored.

Playhouses give your children a place to be by themselves, nurturing their imaginations. Making children responsible for its upkeep – cleaning and routine maintenance – also helps teach them responsibility. Their downside is largely a matter of time. Children may outgrow playhouses relatively quickly, abandoning them for more “mature” pursuits. That’s when parents have to either re-purpose the playhouse into a storage shed or other facility. Scrapping or selling the unit are also possibilities.

When considering which to buy, the most important questions to ask remain simple. What will do my child the most good? How long do we expect the playset or playhouse to remain useful? What happens then?

Where to Place Your Playhouse

Playhouses PlaysetsPlaysets obviously go in a wide, sunny area of the yard. Playhouse placement can be a little more tricky. The playhouse should go in a sunny area, out from under tree cover (for safety during thunderstorms) and within shouting distance of the main house.

At the same time, children will appreciate having the playhouse in their “own corner” of the yard or property, away from the figurative shadows of the house. When choosing, look for an area that’s close but still far away by children’s standards. Remember that like time, children often perceive distance differently than adults.

Storage Sheds

A Santa Rosa-model cedar storage shed

The simple, simplistic storage shed has come a long way from its utilitarian roots on the grounds of countless American farms. While the storage sheds of yesteryear were often cobbled together from scrap wood and sometimes thrown together without regard to decorative effect (or even craftsmanship,) the modern storage shed is an elegant, weatherproof addition to any home’s main house and carport.

But the great advantage of any storage shed, regardless of its decorative appeal, remains its versatility.There are probably as many uses for storage sheds as there are varieties and models, with a wide range of sizes as well.

Storage Shed Construction

Most modern storage sheds are made from the same traditional materials as their forebears: wood and metal remain perennial favorites, but modern storage sheds also include molded plastic and vinyl models that afford a greater amount of convenience and weatherproof security. Nevertheless, wooden sheds remain the most aesthetically appealing, and many homeowners prefer the rugged durability of cedar sheds and garden buildings for their backyard.

Matching The Building Material To Your Purpose

If you’re looking for a straightforward addition to your property that’s purely functional (for example, storing hardware or landscaping equipment,) you’ll likely want to invest in a metal outbuilding or vinyl coated shed. These will protect your machinery from the elements with a maximum of stability and durability. For more genteel uses, including storing gardening tools and seeds, a wooden or cedar outbuilding offers plenty of enclosed floor space but with greater decorative appeal.

Children’s Cottages and Playhouses

Storage Sheds

A children's cottage playhouse

Closely related to the garden shed is the child’s playhouse or cottage. Essentially, these delightful children’s sets are  elaborately structured and decorated storage sheds, available in a variety of motifs and designs. Some even include porches, flower boxes and interior lofts as accessories, virtually becoming a second “house” on your property.

Some other playhouse sets include churches, fire houses, and schoolhouses. Together or separately, they make great additions to day care centers, Montessori academies, and preschools.

Five Unconventional Uses For Your Storage Shed

Of course, the storage shed has unconventional uses as well, including:

Collection display space: Storage sheds make great display spaces for sports, hobby, and memorabilia collectors.

Wine “cellar:” Oenophiles can weatherproof their choice of wooden sheds, line the insides with shelves and let their collection grow.

Man cave: Larger storage sheds, with a window-unit air conditioner and some furniture, make great places for guys to “hunker down” and enjoy their favorite pastimes.

Family museum: Store family albums, collectibles, mementos and heirlooms without taking up storage space inside the home.

Mixed use: A storage shed or playhouse doesn’t have to have just one use. For example, you may want to combine storage space with a comfortable area for the family pet, or store collectibles along with family heirlooms. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

 

Most storage sheds – also frequently called simply “backyard sheds” – fall into one of several categories based on their construction material: wood, vinyl and plastic, and metal. Making the right choice for your own storage needs will depend largely on where you plan to situate your shed on your property and also (of course) on your storage needs.

High humidity may call for synthetic materials

Residents of the Deep South, Hawaii, and other climates with a high humidity often prefer to invest in plastic resin, vinyl sided, or plastic storage sheds. These materials are resistant or immune to the effect of constant exposure to moisture, including mildew and rust. While it’s true that most modern wooden and metal buildings are resistant to such slow-creeping damage, homeowners still prefer these more damp-resistant materials.

Plastic resin and vinyl sheds

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a plastic resin storage shed

Once disdained for their unadorned, synthetic appearance, plastic resin and vinyl storage sheds have come a long way in recent years, with many including decorative touches that complement their surroundings. Compared to metal and wooden sheds, they offer better resistance to humidity and other forms of moisture and can often be cleaned simply with a garden hose and soapy water.

Metal sheds

Metal sheds are heavy, sturdy, and resistant to wear and tear as well as the elements. Their chief drawback is aesthetic: most are strictly functional in appearance, with sometimes little to offer the beauty of a backyard or grounds. Nevertheless, their durability makes them a frequent favorite for housing equipment such as tractors, mowers and edgers.

Wooden sheds

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a wood storage shed

The oldest – and still the most aesthetically pleasing – form of storage shed offers a variety of themes and styles, often with elaborate decorative elements including flower boxes, trimmed doors, and more. The chief drawback lies in wood’s susceptibility to the elements and to infestation by pests, though modern wooden storage sheds are treated against both kinds of hazards. Wood sheds frequently include architectural details including steeples, arched roofs, and even front porches, making them a great aesthetic addition to any property.