Backyard sheds are incredibly versatile buildings that can be used for many purposes. Whether it be housing animals, a workshop, or a personal space away from the home, backyard sheds have many uses.
You can use either a prefabricated shed or a home-built one for most applications. Prefabricated sheds from major home improvement stores offer great solutions for those who don’t want to build their own structure and can be made out of wood, metal or durable hard plastic.
Sheds for Animals
Backyard sheds make great houses for outdoor animals and can be retrofitted easily.
People have been turning sheds into chicken coops for years, and now it’s easier than ever. All you need is to build some nesting boxes inside the shed, add a few perches and you are ready to go.
Backyard sheds are naturally sealed so they keep your birds dry and warm in the winter, and provide shade from the sun in the summer. Your chickens will generally lay their eggs inside the nesting boxes, which makes collecting eggs easy. If you worry about night time predators, you can even close them up in the shed at night.
Attaching a run to a backyard shed is easy to allow your chickens some exercise while staying safe. All you have to do is build a frame and attach some chicken wire or hardware cloth to it in order to prevent predators from entering. Most 8×10 sheds can house up to 10 chickens easily, which is more than enough for a family looking for fresh eggs.
Dog house and run
Backyard sheds can be used to make dog kennels and runs if you don’t have a fenced in yard. The great thing about turning a backyard shed into a dog kennel is that it can be as luxurious or basic as you want. Some people finish the interior with drywall, carpet, lighting and air conditioning. Others will put a bed inside and not much else, just like a traditional dog house.
Much like the chicken coop, attaching a run to a dog house backyard shed is easy to do. You won’t have to fully enclose it like chickens, and can use regular fencing to allow them easy access in and out. If you don’t have a fenced yard but your pup wants to spend a ton of time outside, this can be an inexpensive solution.
If the backyard shed is close to your house you can run power to it to add lights, air conditioning, a fan, or other luxuries for your dog. Finishing the walls and adding carpet ensure a comfortable home that your dog will want to spend time in.
When it comes to a workshop, a backyard shed makes a great space to set up tools and projects. If you can run power to it you can work power tools and air filters to make it a perfect place to wood work, forge, or do other work.
Wood Working Shop
A backyard shed is a great space to set up a woodworking shop. You can use it to put together hand tool projects, or run power to it for electric saws, lathes and other tools. Getting a shed with windows will allow air to flow and help prevent excessive saw dust build up.
If you add a lean-to to your shed you can have a great indoor / outdoor space to maximize your use of tools. If you are using a smaller shed this can be a great option for storing tools inside, and working outside. This also will help make your backyard shed cleaner.
If you are using only hand tools in your woodworking, you can install a workbench and some wall hangers / pegboards for tools to maximize your space. You can even mount vices and clamps to your shed walls to provide space to clamp projects down.
Forge and Metal Work
Much like a woodworking shop, you can use a shed as a forge or place for metal work. Blacksmiths have always preferred dark spaces for forging as it allows you to see the redness of your metal more easily and know its temperature. If you do not want to forge outside, or in your garage because of the fire risk, a backyard shed is a great alternative.
Of course using a metal shed is ideal, especially because you will be working with fire. If you use a metal shed, it will trap in heat, which can be great in the winter. If you decide to not use a metal shed, you can always heat your metal outside and hammer it inside.
Forges use external heat sources so you also don’t need to worry about running power for heating and hammering your metal. If you need power to do finish work, you can either build a lean-to attached to the shed or run power to it as with a woodworking shed.
Yet another use for a backyard shed is to make a potting shed. This one lends itself to gardeners who need an area to set up plants or store their equipment. A potting shed is easy to make, just a table and some tools should suffice.
If you want to make your potting shed even more versatile, you can run water out to it or use an external water source, like a rain catcher, to have the ability to water your starter plants and wet your soil. There are kits for setting up external water sources to small work sinks that can be easily installed.
You can use greenhouse plastic to attach a greenhouse to a backyard shed potting room, or even enclose your backyard shed to make it a place to have your seedlings sprout. This will also give you a warm place to store plants in the winter that won’t survive outside.
With the proliferation of work-from-home more people need a home office than ever. Some have turned backyard sheds into their home office away from home. It can be nice to separate your house from your work space, even without having to leave your property.
By running power out to a shed (we suggest a full dedicated circuit) you can run computers, air conditioning, and other items you would need in order to make a backyard office a comfortable place to work. This can help tune out the distractions of home, give you a dedicated work space to get in the right headspace, but still save you the hassle of a morning commute.
Personal Space/Man Cave/She Shed
Turning a backyard shed into a personal space is an easy way to make your own little refuge. You can also turn it into a great place to entertain guests outside.
Man Cave/She Shed
Turning a backyard shed into a man cave or she-shed is as simple as outfitting it with your own decorations and hobbies. Sheds have been used for this purpose for years, giving individuals their own space away from it all to just relax and decompress.
Adding a fridge, TV, or other amenities is easy if you can run power out to the shed. If you want to really make it feel like another room in your house you can add insulation and drywall, which is especially easy if you have a wood shed that has studs.
For those who love entertaining and backyard parties, turning a shed into a bar can be very easy. You can run power to it for a mini-fridge and lights, and an external water source or main water line for a bar sink.
Stocking with liquor, adding a bar counter, and some stools can transform your backyard shed. If you add some speakers and an extended canopy you can even have outdoor seating for friends and family. Much like other ideas on our list, you can make this as luxurious or simple as you please, which gives you the ability to always upgrade and make it even nicer.
If you don’t have a playroom in your house or you want to get your kids off the couch and outside, turning a backyard shed into a playhouse can give them hours of entertainment. Many wood sheds come with decorations on the outside that already make them look like mini houses, so turning the inside into a small house or dollhouse can be easy to do.
This is a great option for backyard sheds as it allows children to use their imagination and play outside while offering them their own space, something all kids want. Whether you make it into a castle, pirate ship, or doll house you can find endless hours of entertainment for your children.
Using Your Shed for More Than Storage
Sheds may have started out as outdoor storage areas, but thanks to the availability of prefabricated buildings and ideas shared on social media they have become much more than that. They offer an inexpensive and easily customizable option to build a space away from the house that suits whatever need you may have.
A lot of the ideas on this list require the addition of electricity. The easiest and least expensive solution is to run an extension cord from your house, though this is limiting in what you can plug into it. Remember that drawing electricity over a distance does cause a loss in power so you want to make sure your fuse or circuit can handle whatever you plan on plugging in. If you can run an outlet out to a shed that would be better, and a dedicated power box is best if you are going to run high draw tools.
Another option for electricity is adding solar panels. Do-it-yourself kits can be bought at most major home improvement stores, though you will likely need a bunch of them if you plan on running large tools or air conditioning.
For water, you can add a rain catcher barrel or a water line from a spigot with little work, though you will only have cold water. If you want hot water you will need to add a solar heater or an external water heater which can become expensive and cumbersome quickly.
Lastly, if you want your backyard shed to really feel like a home away from home, you can add flooring, drywall, insulation, and lighting. All of these supplies are needed in small quantities due to the size of the shed, and as most are simple squares or rectangles, installing it is a simple do-it-yourself project.
A Shed for Every Use
Backyard sheds are great options for spaces away from home. Whether you want a workshop for your hobbies, a personal space to call your own, or an area to entertain guests or kids a backyard shed can accomplish them all. One of the best parts of a backyard shed is that it is a blank slate, so you can add as many luxuries, or features, as you want. The possibilities are endless!
For more great backyard ideas, check out the Backyard Living page on our website.