Toronto, Ontario

25 Things to Consider When Designing your Modern Shed

March 13, 2023

The 25 Essential Aspects of Shed Design

We have helped our clients design literally hundreds of sheds over the years and this is our comprehensive list of everything we believe is essential to the process. Everyone will place a different weight on different aspects, but no element should go ignored.

1. Shed Size

Make sure it is large enough to accommodate your storage needs.

When considering a garden shed, choosing the right size is crucial. A shed that is too small won't be able to accommodate all of your tools and equipment, while a shed that is too big will take up valuable space in your backyard and can be a costly investment. To help minimize footprint while maximizing storage, our standard front wall height is a full 8' tall. This gives you plenty of extra storage space for shelves or hanging things from the exposed rafters. We prefer to build our structures in 2' increments to reduce waste (8x8, 12x8, etc.) but we can build custom to any unique footprint you need.

12 x 8 Cube Shed With Black Beauty Pine

2. Style of the shed

We specialize in modern sheds, but our Essential, Cube, and Ecosheds all have unique styles.

When it comes to selecting a style of shed, there are many factors to consider, including functionality, aesthetics, and budget. Consider the overall aesthetic of your backyard. You want the shed to complement the existing style of your home and outdoor space. If you have a modern home, a sleek, contemporary shed may be a good fit, while a more rustic or traditional shed may be better suited to a more traditional home. All of our designs will easily handle the snow load of any city in Ontario, so please don't be afraid to order a Cube for your home in Ottawa!

3. Siding Materials

We offer wood, steel and composite materials.

When selecting the material for a shed, it's important to consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetics. Determine your budget. Different materials come with different costs, so you'll need to consider how much you're willing to spend before making a decision. Think about the maintenance requirements. Some materials require more upkeep than others, so you'll want to choose a material that you're comfortable maintaining. Evaluate the aesthetics of the material. The material you choose will impact the overall look of your shed, so you'll want to select one that complements the style of your home and outdoor space. Consider the lifespan of the material. Some materials, such as wood, may require more frequent replacement than other materials, such as metal or vinyl.

If you'd like to know more about the benefits or drawbacks give us a call! We're happy to help you make a more informed decision.

12 x 8 Advanced Shed with Kendall Charcoal Pine

4. Roof type

We offer single slope and flat roofs.

A single slope roof, also known as a mono-pitched roof, slopes in one direction and is higher on one side than the other. This style of roof is often chosen for sheds that need to shed water or snow in a particular direction. Additionally, a single slope roof can add visual interest and dimension to the shed, giving it a more modern and contemporary feel. On the other hand, a flat roof is a more traditional option for sheds and is often chosen for its simplicity and affordability. A flat roof is easier to install and maintain, and can also provide additional storage or workspace on top of the shed. Ultimately, the decision between a single slope roof and a flat roof for a shed will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the shed.

5. Roofing material

We offer asphalt roofs in one or two-ply applications, steel roofs, and EPDM for our cube models.

Choosing the right roofing material for a shed is important to ensure that the shed is protected from the elements and lasts for many years. There are several factors to consider when selecting a roofing material for a shed, including durability, cost, maintenance, and aesthetics.

One popular option for shed roofing is our roll-out roofing with a self adhering membrane. This roofing is affordable and easy to install. However, they may require occasional maintenance, such as cleaning and repairs, and may not be the most durable option for extreme weather conditions.

Metal roofing is another popular option for shed roofs. It is durable, long-lasting, and requires little maintenance. Metal roofing is a great option for sheds in areas with harsh weather conditions. However, it can be more expensive than other roofing materials and may not be as visually appealing as other options.

Our Cube sheds and studios come with an EPDM roofing system. It's self adhering, extremely durable, and the same roof system used in commercial applications like factories or schools.

Ultimately, the best roofing material for a shed will depend on individual needs and preferences. It's important to consider factors such as climate conditions, budget, and maintenance requirements when selecting a roofing material for a shed.

12 x 8 Advanced Shed with Flush Swing Door

6. Door Type

Our standard option is a single sliding barn door, upgrades to a double barn door, swing door, patio door or french doors are also available.

Choosing the right door for a garden shed is an important decision as it affects both the functionality and the aesthetics of the shed. When deciding what type of door to choose, there are several factors to consider, such as the size of the shed, the intended use of the shed, and personal preferences.

One important consideration is the size of the door. If the shed is going to be used to store large items such as lawnmowers or bicycles, a larger door may be necessary to accommodate these items. Additionally, if the shed is going to be used as a workspace or hobby room, a door that allows natural light to enter the space may be preferable.

The style of the door is also an important consideration. Hinged doors are a traditional choice for sheds and come in a variety of styles and sizes. Sliding doors are another popular option, particularly for larger sheds or sheds with limited space. They can be easier to operate than hinged doors and can provide a larger opening for easier access.

Ultimately, the type of door chosen for a garden shed will depend on the individual's needs and preferences. It's important to consider factors such as size, material, and style when making a decision to ensure that the chosen door meets the functional and aesthetic requirements of the shed.

7. Window Placement and Size

We're happy to accommodate all your widow needs!

When it comes to selecting window sizes and placements for a garden shed, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, the intended use of the shed is an important consideration. If the shed will be used as a workspace, hobby room, or for plants, ample natural light is essential.

The size of the shed and the available wall space will also play a role in determining the size and placement of the windows. For smaller sheds, a single window may be sufficient, while larger sheds may require multiple windows to allow for adequate light and ventilation.

Another consideration is the surrounding landscape and the orientation of the shed. Placing windows on the south-facing side of the shed can maximize natural light, while placing them on the north-facing side can help prevent overheating during the summer months.

It's also important to consider the type of window and its functionality. For example, awning or casement windows can provide increased ventilation, while fixed windows may be more suitable for providing natural light without the need for ventilation.

8. Wall Height and Overall Height

Our standard front wall height for sheds in 8' and 9' for studios. Custom heights are also available!

Deciding on the wall and overall height for your structure can depend on a few factors. One important consideration is the intended use of the shed. If the shed will be used for storage only, a lower wall height may be sufficient. However, if the shed will be used as a workspace, hobby room, or for plants, a higher wall height may be necessary to accommodate taller equipment, shelving, or plants.

Another factor to consider is the available space and zoning regulations in your area. Local building codes may specify a maximum wall and overall height for sheds, so it's important to research these regulations before making a decision.

A Custom Storage Shed for the City of Stratford

9. Colour Options

Check out our style guide for information about our colour choices!

Backyard Escape Studios is the best place to go when you're looking for lots of colour options! We can stain our pine and barn doors in a variety of different colours and the steel siding we offer also comes in over 30 different colour options! Add to that our new siding material Chamclad and you'll be able to mix and match colour options until you find the absolute perfect fit for your backyard!

10. Foundation

In our opinion, concrete is king.

The type of foundation you choose for your shed can impact its stability, durability, and longevity. Here are some of the benefits of different shed foundation types:

  1. Concrete slab - A concrete slab is a durable and long-lasting foundation option. It provides a level and solid base for the shed, which is ideal for heavy equipment or machinery. A concrete slab can also help prevent moisture from seeping into the shed.
  2. Pressure Treated Subfloor- They are easy to install and can be adjusted to level the shed. However, they may not be as durable as other foundation options and may require more maintenance over time. We usually reccoment those opting for a pressure treated subfloor to install them on top of pavers or perma-coloums.
  3. Pavers - Pavers are a more affordable but still high quality foundation option when installed correctly. They can provide good drainage and are easy to install. Pavers also offer a level surface for the shed, which is important for stability.

11. Locking Mechanism

All of our studios and sheds come equipped with locks.

If you're looking to upgrade the security of your shed let us know! Our swing doors can be ordered with an extra bore for a deadbolt or we can even give you an upgrade with full multi-point locking hardware.

A 12 x 8 Essential Garden Shed with Aluminum Roll-Up Door

12. Shelving and Space Saving Options

Choosing the right shelving and space-saving options can help you maximize the storage space in your shed and keep it organized. Here are some factors to consider when selecting shelving and space-saving options for your shed:

  1. Size and shape of items to be stored - Consider the size and shape of the items you plan to store in the shed. This will help you determine the appropriate shelf height and depth, as well as the type of storage solutions needed.
  2. Available space - Assess the available space in your shed and plan the placement of shelves and storage solutions accordingly. This will help you avoid clutter and ensure easy access to all your items.
  3. Weight capacity - Consider the weight of the items you plan to store and choose shelves and storage solutions that can support their weight.
  4. Material and durability - Choose shelving and storage options that are made from durable materials, such as metal or heavy-duty plastic, to ensure they can withstand the elements and last for years to come.
  5. Accessibility - Consider how easy it is to access the items you plan to store. For example, open shelving may be more suitable for frequently used items, while closed cabinets may be more appropriate for items that are rarely accessed.
  6. Customization - Consider customization options such as adjustable shelving and modular storage solutions, which can be tailored to your specific storage needs and provide flexibility over time.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right shelving and space-saving options for your shed to help you maximize storage space and keep your items organized and easily accessible.

13. Lighting

We don't currently offer lighting solutions for sheds, but here are some things to consider.

When it comes to choosing lighting options for your backyard shed, there are several factors to consider, such as the size of the shed, the type of activities that will take place inside, and the location of the shed. Here are some good lighting options:

  1. Overhead Lighting - Installing overhead lighting fixtures is a great way to provide ample lighting throughout the shed. You can choose from a variety of options, including ceiling-mounted fixtures, track lighting, or pendant lights.
  2. Task Lighting - If you plan to use your shed for specific tasks, such as woodworking or crafting, consider adding task lighting to your space. This type of lighting is designed to provide focused lighting in specific areas, such as above a workbench or table.
  3. Solar-Powered Lights - If you don't have access to electricity in your shed, consider installing solar-powered lights. These lights use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, providing a convenient and eco-friendly lighting option.
  4. Motion-Activated Lights - Motion-activated lights are a great option for sheds that are only used occasionally or for short periods of time. These lights turn on automatically when someone enters the shed, making it easy to navigate the space and find what you need.
  5. Portable Lights - If you need flexibility in your lighting options, consider using portable lights. These lights can be easily moved around the shed and positioned where needed, making them a versatile and convenient lighting option.

14. Ventilation

We offer vents for general humidity as well as pool equipment.

Proper ventilation is crucial for any backyard shed to prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors from building up. Here are some good venting options for a backyard shed:

  1. Windows: Windows can provide natural ventilation and light to the shed. They can be opened and closed as needed to regulate the airflow.
  2. Solar-powered vents: These vents use solar power to operate and help circulate air in the shed. They are eco-friendly and cost-effective.
  3. Wall Vents: Wall vents can be installed on the walls of the shed to provide additional ventilation. They work well when combined with other types of vents.
  4. Exhaust Vents: These can be installed by our team either through your roof or through a side wall to make sure the exhaust from your pool equipment doesn't accumulate in your shelter.

When selecting venting options for your backyard shed, it's important to consider the climate in your area, the size of your shed, and the materials used in the construction of the shed. Proper ventilation will help keep your shed dry, reduce humidity, and extend the life of your shed.

A Fully Insulated Cube Unit for the Canada Games

15. Insulation

We offer foam board insulation and fiberglass insulation.

Insulating your backyard shed can help regulate the temperature, keep the interior dry and prevent mold growth. We offer:

  1. Fiberglass Insulation: This type of insulation is the most common and affordable option for sheds. It comes in rolls or batts and can be easily installed between the studs of the walls and roof.
  2. Reflective Insulation: This type of insulation is ideal for sheds located in hot climates. Reflective insulation reflects the heat and keeps the interior of the shed cool. It can be installed on the roof or walls of the shed.

When selecting insulation options for your backyard shed, it's important to consider the climate in your area and the intended use of the shed. Insulation can make a big difference in the comfort and usability of your shed, especially during extreme weather conditions.

16. Accessibility

Making sure that your backyard shed is accessible is an important consideration when planning your shed project. Here are some tips to help ensure accessibility:

  1. Consider the shed's location: Choose a location that is easily accessible from your home, driveway, or other pathways on your property.
  2. Think about door placement: Place the door in a location that is easy to reach and use. You may also want to consider adding a ramp if the shed is elevated or the doorway is high off the ground.
  3. Add lighting: Proper lighting can make a big difference in accessibility, especially if you need to access the shed at night. Consider adding motion sensor lights or other types of lighting to make it easier to see and navigate.
  4. Ensure clear space around the shed: Make sure there is enough space around the shed for easy movement, especially if you plan to store large items like lawn mowers or bikes.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can ensure that your backyard shed is accessible for everyone who needs to use it.

17. Maintenance Requirements

We always aim for the easiest maintenance possible.

Like any other outdoor structure, garden sheds also require maintenance to ensure their longevity and functionality. Here are some maintenance requirements for a shed:

  1. Regular Cleaning: It is essential to clean the shed regularly to avoid dirt buildup, which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. It is advisable to clean the shed at least twice a year.
  2. Staining and Sealing: To protect the shed from weather conditions, staining or sealing are necessary. This not only enhances the shed's appearance but also provides an additional layer of protection.
  3. Roof Inspection: The roof is one of the most critical components of a shed. Regular inspection of the roof for leaks, damage, and loose shingles is necessary to prevent water damage.
  4. Door and Window Maintenance: Regular inspection of doors and windows is essential to ensure they are functioning correctly. Damaged or warped doors and windows can allow water and pests to enter the shed.
  5. Foundation Maintenance: The foundation of the shed needs to be checked for cracks, unevenness, and settling. Regular maintenance ensures the shed remains stable and safe.

By following these maintenance requirements, you can ensure that your backyard shed remains functional and lasts for years to come.

Pool Shed with Roll-Up Window and Bar Ledge in London Ontario

18. Price Point

You get what you pay for.

There are many factors that go into the price of our designs. Seemingly small things, like changing from a barn door to a swing door will change the price of your project by hundreds of dollars. When working with Backyard Escape Studios keep in mind our quality is reflected in our price. We're always happy to work with our clients to adjust design elements and help them reach their ideal price point, however all of our units start from a base that is already very high in quality compared to the competition. Do you want a cheap option that will fade, rot and become infested with insects or rodents in the next 5 years? Or would you rather invest in quality craftsmanship that will keep your shed standing tall and looking beautiful with minimal maintenance for decades to come.

19. Eco-Friendliness

From lumber to stain, eco-friendly options are at the core of what we do.

When building or designing a shed, there are several eco-friendly options to consider that can reduce its impact on the environment. Here are some eco-friendly options to consider:

  1. Sustainable materials: We choose materials that are environmentally friendly, such as recycled wood and sustainably-sourced materials.
  2. Solar-powered lighting: Consider installing solar panels on the roof of your shed to provide lighting, which can reduce your energy consumption.
  3. Rainwater harvesting: Install a rainwater harvesting system to collect rainwater that can be used to water plants and clean tools.
  4. Green roof: Consider a green roof, which is a living roof made up of vegetation, to help reduce the heat island effect and absorb rainwater. Check out our EcoShed for more details.
  5. Natural ventilation: Use natural ventilation by incorporating windows and vents in your shed's design to reduce the need for artificial cooling.

By incorporating eco-friendly options into your shed design, you can reduce your environmental impact and create a sustainable backyard space.

20. Customization Options

We offer a unique amount of customization in the pre-fab space.

What's custom about our designs? 

  1. Many different stain options
  2. Many different colours of steel
  3. Custom footprints, height and roof slopes
  4. Unique mixtures of exterior siding to contrast between wood and steel elements
  5. Many different high-quality door options
  6. Aluminum Roll-Up doors and windows are avilable
  7. Add a bar ledge to turn your pool shed into a backyard bar!
A Pre-Fab Garden Unit in Downtown Toronto

21. Assembly options

All our units come pre-fabricated as we believe it is the most efficient process.

There are several different types of shed assembly options to consider when purchasing a garden shed.

  1. Professional Installation: Professional installation is a convenient option if you don't have the time, experience, or tools to assemble your shed. Most shed manufacturers offer professional installation services at an additional cost.
  2. Pre-fabricated Sheds: Pre-assembled sheds are fully constructed and delivered to your site. This option is ideal if you don't want to assemble the shed yourself or don't have the time or tools to do so.
  3. Custom-Built Sheds: Custom-built sheds are built from scratch according to your specifications and design requirements. This option offers the most flexibility in terms of size, design, and materials used.

At Backyard Escape studios we combine these options to take the best from each world. We take your custom designs, prefabricate your build in panels at our shop in Port Stanley, and then ship it out and install it ourselves with one of our professional installation teams.

22. Resistance to Pests

Several factors can affect a shed's resistance to pests, including the construction materials, location, and maintenance.

  1. Construction materials: Choosing the right building materials can help prevent pests from entering the shed. For example, our pressure treated bottom plate can deter termites and other insects.
  2. Location: The location of the shed can also affect its resistance to pests. If the shed is situated in a damp or shady area, it may attract more pests. Ideally, the shed should be built on a well-drained, level surface away from trees or other sources of moisture.
  3. Maintenance: Regular maintenance is critical in keeping pests out of the shed. Any holes or cracks in the walls, floors, or roof should be repaired immediately. It's also essential to keep the shed clean and free of debris, such as leaves, dirt, or sawdust, which can attract pests.
  4. Pest control: Incorporating pest control measures into shed design can also help prevent infestations. For example, installing screens on windows and vents can keep insects out while allowing for ventilation. Additionally, adding a barrier, such as a gravel or crushed stone perimeter, can prevent rodents from burrowing under the shed.

By considering these factors, it is possible to increase a shed's resistance to pests and help ensure it remains a pest-free space.

23. Placement / Location

There a few main factors that go into choosing the perfect location for your new structure.

  1. Make sure it's above grade and not at the bottom of a hill so you don't have to worry about water damage.
  2. Measure the distance to your property line to make sure you're respecting local bylaws and your roof overhang doesn't extend into your neighbors yard.
  3. Choose a location that's easily accessible for all of the tools you plan on storing inside it.
  4. You can use your new shed to either change the view from your home, or add privacy for those looking into your backyard/pool area.
A Fully Custom Garden Shed in Guelph Ontario

24. Purpose

What specific purpose are you looking to serve?

All of our structures are designed well enough to be used for so much more than just storage. They can safely house expensive pool equipment or bikes. The can be used as an effective workshop place to start your gardening seedlings. They can be upgrades to a Studio like many of our customers do and used as a backyard gym, office or yoga studio. Or simply for more leisure space for the entire family to enjoy.

25. Local Regulations

See more info on our bylaws page.

When researching local bylaws do a search on your municipalities' website for the term "accessory structure". This will help you find out everything you need know about what height, footprint, and property line distance. You can always give us a call if you're unsure how to navigate these documents, we're happy to help you make sure that your design follows all of the rules and you don't have to worry about hefty fines or having your shed torn down.

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