Choosing a new shed for your garden should be a simple matter. On the face of it, it would appear as easy as measuring the available space, visiting your local garden centre, choosing one you like and placing an order.
Sure, I’m not about to suggest that buying a shed should be complicated! However, I’ve worked in the outdoor retail industry for many years, and have seen countless examples of costly mistakes made when people fail to pay attention to some basic considerations.
I’ve chosen what I believe are the top 5 common mistakes people make when choosing a garden shed. I’ll share them here with you in the hope that you don’t make the same mistakes too.
1. Buying the wrong size
The first thing that most people get wrong is buying the wrong size shed. Don’t believe me? You’d be surprised! In your local garden centre a shed might look the perfect size for your garden, but it’s important not to overlook the size of the shed in relation to the size of space you have available.
There’s nothing worse than finding out only when the shed arrives that it’s far too big for your garden.
Measure your available space very carefully before you buy. It goes without saying that you should have at least space for the shed’s actual dimensions, but do also consider leaving space for access to the doors, leaving plenty of space to swing the doors right open, with ample room to move large garden tools in and out easily.
Moreover, if you intend to modify the interior of the shed with additional shelving, do bear that in mind when considering how much storage space you’ll need. Your lawnmower will have significantly less room for manoeuvre when closed in by 2 feet of shelving on either side!
2. Not considering positioning
When choosing a garden shed, what is often overlooked is the position you want the shed to be in the garden, in relation to everything else in there. Will there be enough distance from surrounding hedges, fences, flower beds and washing lines, for example?
Don’t forget that you’ll still need to be able to move around the outside of the shed to carry out maintenance on the shed over the years. It’s almost impossible to treat a wooden shed, for example, if it’s positioned so close to the garden wall that there’s no room to paint it.
3. Choosing an inappropriate material
The choice of materials for garden sheds are fairly straightforward. You generally have a choice of either metal, plastic or wood.
However, don’t forget that the most common option, wood, is the one that demands the most upkeep! A wooden shed will swell or shrink in the cold and heat, so it is important to treat the wood every year without fail to keep it in top form for the all year round weather conditions.
Also it’s important to remember that if you plan on putting up shelves and hooks inside the shed, make sure the wood is thick enough beforehand. I’ve seen many people skimp and save money on cheap, thin-walled sheds, and then be disappointed that they can’t make the additional interior modifications they had in mind at the time.
4. Forgetting to ask about a warranty
Does your shed choice come with any warranty? A lot of the big DIY chains offer a two year warranty on their sheds. However, it’s not unheard of for many independent suppliers and online stores to simply not mention warranty at all. I’m not suggesting that means that there isn’t one supplied. However, please do ask the question before buying your shed and be very clear on your rights to return and a refund. If there isn’t a warranty, walk away. At least you’ll know upfront, rather than finding out the hard way a year down the line when the walls begin to crack.
5. Paying the wrong price
Cost is often given highest priority when choosing a new shed. Certainly it pays to have a budget in mind before beginning to look around.
However, at the risk of stating the obvious, it really does pay to shop around. If you find a shed you like in a major DIY store, for example, it’s always a good idea to compare it to your local garden centre, and also online, to see if you can find a similar product and make a saving. These savings can often be considerable, and you’ll kick yourself if you find out after the purchase.
I personally saved a great deal recently on almost exactly the same shed, simply by visiting a smaller, local specialist shed merchant, as opposed to accepting the price at my local garden centre. What’s more, the service was friendly and product knowledge more in-depth too – a result!
Don’t forget that a local garden centre or specialist merchant will often have much more knowledge of their sheds and they won’t compromise on quality. Of course, doesn’t always mean better, and it’s worth bearing in mind that paying a little extra now could result in years of extra use and enjoyment of your new garden shed.
While a garden shed is probably the most functional garden furniture purchase you’ll make, it’s nonetheless important to get it right. Avoid these 5 of the most common mistakes I’ve seen people make over the years and look forward to happy shed ownership for years to come.
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