Expanding Your Space With a Backyard Shed

shed design

Expanding your home can be costly and time consuming, and when it comes to increasing housing space, permits and ordinances can hinder or even halt a construction project. An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to build backyard sheds, which are not ordinances in many communities because their footprints are smalloften less than 200 square feet.

But this is more than enough space to build an office, craft space, music studio, photography or yoga studio, man cave (or singer's den), workout, guest or pay room, and more. There are many possibilities.

Because the shed is a new build, not something crammed into the existing design, it allows for a higher degree of creativity. Metal, wood or plastic. With or without windows, swing doors or sliding doors. Various heights and shapes. Even curtains and flower boxes. You can work with prefab designs or build something from scratch.

Consider the purpose, size and type

What type of space do you need? Cottages are simple free-standing structures that do not take much time to build, so preparing a scheme that suits your needs is well worth the time.

Before selecting your new shed space, check with your local building department about the code and restrictions that apply.

Depending on the city or county, there may be height restrictions or setbacks, even design guidelines that you have to follow. Above all, don't waste time and money building a shed that may, in terms of building inspectors, be too big or out of place. Do your research early.

When people can't afford a full-scale renovation, they're often open to building an “extension,” says Mike Special, owner of Austin-based construction and design firm Set Studio. Speciale says accessory sheds are quick to build and very flexible in their purposes. By definition, he says, “the term 'annex' in the building ordinance is very broad, which bodes well for people looking to expand their space.”

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Penthouse ordinances usually say structures cannot be habitable, meaning that no one can live, cook, or prepare food in them. But this does not mean that he cannot have a companion. Homeowners often take advantage of a home's main electricity to provide lighting, use small appliances and even air conditioning in a new shed. An added advantage is that if the shed is not permanent or attached to the house, it is considered exempt from property taxes.

You have three primary choices when it comes to the type of shed. You can order a pre-built or modular shed to be delivered. You can think of a pre-made one that can be delivered to your backyard and put together there. Finally, you can hire an architect and design and build your custom shed. These options vary in price from the lowest (pre-made) to the highest (custom).


Typically, structures must be located within 3 feet to 5 feet of the property line. Look at your survey panel, which you should have with your home closed. This is a map of your land and will show the lines of your property and the position of the building. Once you have located the shed, you will want to think about how you can make the most of the shed through the design.

“In these small spaces, we tend to use a lot of glass,” says Speciale. “Numerous floor-to-ceiling windows create the illusion of more space. There's even a 12″ x 8-foot” product with a patio door, to allow you to feel like you're not confined to your property.

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Even if you If you build a shed that is not attached to your home, you will still need to account for the new structure on your home insurance policy.Learn more about homeowner policies nationwide, which can include coverage for other structures on your property.