Best garden shed: 8 top buys for storage or garden office space

The best garden shed is so much more than just a basic storage unit for your garden tools. Use yours for everything from displaying plants to a home office...

Best garden shed: Keter Factor Plastic Shed
(Image credit: Wickes)

A garden shed is the ultimate garden storage, with a huge selection of shapes and sizes out there for every need, from simple tool sheds to huge garden sheds that can easily be used as garden offices. From classic apex designs to futuristic pods, the best garden sheds in our guide offer the very best in garden storage with flair.

Find out how to choose a garden shed in our guide at the bottom of the page. Check out our buyer's guide to the best small sheds for your garden too.

Best garden sheds 2020

best garden shed: Crane 3 x 3m Garden Studio, blue

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

1. Crane 3 x 3m Garden Studio

Best garden shed: easily add another room to your home with this modern garden studio

Specifications
Best for: Outdoor room
Material: Scandinavian redwood
Size: H2.3 x W3m x L3m
Reasons to buy
+ Fully insulated and double glazed + Spacious modern design 
Reasons to avoid
- Need to arrange base separately 

This gorgeous garden shed cum garden room takes the cake when it comes to creating functional space outside the home. With double glazing throughout and fully insulated walls, floor and ceiling, it’s every inch the indoors, outdoors, meaning you can admire the garden from the floor-to-ceiling windows and door without sacrificing comfort. Reviewers loved the gorgeous Scandi-style cladding and contemporary shades, and commended the value – and for this combo of affordability, functionality and design, it’s our best. 

  • Buy the Crane 3 x 3m Garden Studio

best summer house shed: Crane Small Summerhouse also works as a garden shed

2. Crane Small Summerhouse

Best summer house shed: this period-style summerhouse is small but perfectly formed

Specifications
Best for: Small gardens
Material: Scandinavian redwood
Size: H2.43 x W2.5 x L1.8m
Reasons to buy
+ Petite design brings style to smaller gardens + Great build and attention to detail 
Reasons to avoid
- As before, required a pre-prepared base 

Liked the look of our first Crane pick but can’t justify (or squeeze in) a full garden room? This petite summerhouse has the same great build you’d expect from the brand, lovingly built from FSC-certified Scandinavian redwood, but with dimensions befitting of a smaller garden. It has a more traditional vibe than our first pick – we particularly love the multi-faceted roof and leaded windows – but still has a light and airy feel thanks to the front and size windows and pale matte woodwork, and reviewers gave its sturdy build a big thumbs up. 

  • Buy the Crane Small Summerhouse

best contemporary shed: Farmer's Cottage Deluxe Rotating Summer House Garden Pod is a garden shed and garden room in one

3. Farmer's Cottage Deluxe Rotating Summer House Garden Pod

Best garden shed for contemporary homes: slightly bonkers but very useful addition to the contemporary garden

Specifications
Best for: Modernised summer house
Material: Wood laminated pine, glass
Size: H2.7m x D3.4m x base D2m
Reasons to buy
+ Looks fantastic + Fully sealed and power-ready 
Reasons to avoid
- Astronomically expensive 

A name as pastoral as Farmer’s Cottage might not seem terribly fitting for this positively space-age garden pod, but then it’s full of surprises. While it’s a bit of a given, for the slightly wince-inducing price, that it’s smarter than your average shed, it’s worth outlining what makes it worthy of its spot on the lawn. Architecturally, it’s a stunner, an unusual glass and wood-beamed sphere that reflects its surroundings to blend in better than you might think. Inside, it’s fully sealed, equipped to support 240v of power, and totally waterproof, meaning you can sit out even when it’s chucking it down. Perfection, if a bit pricey!

  • Buy the Farmer's Cottage Deluxe Rotating Summer House Garden Pod

best budget garden shed: Forest Garden Maplehurst Summerhouse

4. Forest Garden Maplehurst Summerhouse

Best budget garden shed: a sweet little summerhouse for holing up or entertaining

Specifications
Best for: Entertaining
Material: Wood, OSB, solid sheet OSB
Size: H2.23m x W2.25m x D2.11m
Reasons to buy
+ Traditional design with a twist + Integrated veranda 
Reasons to avoid
- Veranda could be a little larger for seating 

When you’re thinking “shed”, this one from Forest Garden might be more in line with what you imagine, but it still has a few twists on the classic that make it far more than just a place to put your bike. Just the right size for a couple of chairs, a lamp, a table, and a big pile of books to work through, this is a great affordable shed-meets-summerhouse for shutting out the world on gloomy days, or welcoming the sun as you kick back with guests in the warmer months, and we particularly like the sweet integrated veranda. 

  • Buy the Forest Garden Maplehurst Summerhouse

National Trust by Crane Ickworth Summerhouse, pale blue

5. National Trust by Crane Ickworth Summerhouse

Best garden shed for seaside style: when it comes to stylish summer houses, trust the Trust

Specifications
Best for: Design
Material: Scandinavian redwood
Size: H2.47m x W2.4m x D2.4m
Reasons to buy
+ Lovely traditional design + Hook-back doors 
Reasons to avoid
- Requires some groundwork 

Leave it to the National Trust and Crane to make a solid, stylish garden shed. The vertical cladding, elegant elongated windows and angled roof give this one a Cape Cod feel, perfect for adding that finishing touch to a traditional garden as well as giving you another way to enjoy the garden. Reviewers commended its beautiful finishing, and especially loved the way the doors could be hooked back to let light and air in on warmer days, and draw the outdoors in (or would that be the indoors, out?) 

  • Buy the National Trust by Crane Ickworth Summerhouse

Mercia Pressure Treated Shiplap Apex Windowless Shed

(Image credit: Wickes)

6. Mercia Pressure Treated Shiplap Apex Windowless Shed

Best garden shed for storage: keep your stuff safe and sheltered, no matter how much of it there is

Specifications
Best for: Storage
Material: Pressure treated timber
Size: H1.98m x W1.6m x D859mm
Reasons to buy
+ 12-year anti-rot guarantee+ Water and weather resistant 
Reasons to avoid
- Fairly unexciting design 

If you need something robust and durable for storage only in a smaller garden, the Mercia Shiplap Shed is for you. The walls are made from 12mm thick tongue and groove cladding, making this shed very robust and completely weatherproof. It's the perfect size for storing garden furniture or tools during winter. This is a windowless design, which maximises on the shed's ability to keep moisture and cold out. 

  • Buy the Mercia Shiplap Shed

Keter Factor Plastic Shed

(Image credit: Wickes)

7. Keter Factor Plastic Shed

The best plastic garden shed: a tough and practical customer

Specifications
Best for: Durability
Material: Wood- Look Polypropylene
Size: 8x8 ft; 4x6 ft; 6x6 ft; 8x11 ft
Reasons to buy
+Virtually unbreakable+Includes a window+Looks like wood
Reasons to avoid
-It's plastic

This plastic shed is great for those looking for a practical, value-for-money solution that will not rot or lose its looks too quickly. Constructed from strong and durable polypropylene and and boasting a 10-year warranty, we can confirm that it's a tough customer. This garden shed also comes in a variety of sizes, making it easy to choose one that fits best in your garden. There is a window a skylight, and ventilation grills to ensure the shed doesn't get too hot. Oh, and it looks like wood, so no one will know it's plastic.

  • Buy the Keter Factor Plastic Shed

best metal garden shed: Yardmaster metal storage garden shed

(Image credit: Yardmaster)

8. Yardmaster metal garden storage shed

The best metal garden shed: a sturdy and good value-for-money shed in spray-painted metal

Specifications
Best for: Simple and sturdy construction
Material: Metal
Size: various
Reasons to buy
+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Needs some DIY skills to assemble

The Yardmaster metal apex sheds are perfect for those who like garden shed to be functional and simple, and would rather not use wood or plastic. Like our plastic shed choice, this is one we'd want to hide away behind planting rather than put on show (we'll leave that to the more picturesque, summerhouse style sheds). That said, the green finish does mitigate this sheds hard lines somewhat. The downsides? Some people report that it's a bit tricky to assemble, but totally worth it the little bit of extra effort.

  • Buy the Yardmaster metal garden storage shed

What is the best garden shed?

For top quality of build and material, you can't beat the Crane 3 x 3m Garden Studio. It doesn't come cheap, though, so if you want a budget alternative, go for the  Forest Garden Maplehurst Summerhouse.

How to buy the best garden shed

There are tool sheds, potting sheds, and even swanky sheds with room to sit; studios, summerhouses and outdoor offices that push the boundaries of what we imagine a garden shed to be (you can thank George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces for that, we suspect!) There are about as many types of shed out there now as there are types of gardener, and some – most notably our standout ‘Garden Pod’ from John Lewis – frankly don’t look very much like a shed at all.  

What type of garden shed do I need?

Traditional shed: if you mainly will be using yours to store tools and garden pots;
Garden room/summerhouse: these are more advanced, and garden rooms are insulated, so you can use them as home offices
Garden pods: if you want something more contemporary – and waterproof – and don't mind the cost.

Designed to be an extension of your home without the expense and fuss of planning permission and tripping over builders all day, garden rooms and studios are a wonderful middle ground that allows you to work or play outdoors whatever the weather, and while they will be pricier than your average spider-friendly shed, the potential for electricity and insulation makes them worth consideration for home workers and serious hobbyists. 

Somewhere between these and traditional sheds are summerhouses, usually more fortified and with added design kudos – these can boast everything from double glazing to integrated verandas, without necessarily costing the earth. Then, there are shed sheds, rustic wooden structures for potting, pottering and storage that always look at home, no matter your style of garden. No matter what kind of outdoor haven you’re looking for, we think you’ll find something for consideration on our list, so keep reading for our round-up of the best sheds in the shops. 

Can I use a shed as a home office?

Can you use your shed to work from home (well, from your garden)? The answer is – absolutely, but you'll need to think about what kind of a shed you'll need to buy if you're planning to use it in this way (see 'how to buy the best shed', above, for guidance). It's not just about size – you will need adequate ventilation and light (i.e. a window) and a proper base, especially if you're planning on using your shed for working year-round. If you'll be using electrics in your shed, you'll need to think about damp proofing and wiring – unless you're happy to just bring in your laptop between charges. We don't recommend plastic or metal sheds for home working, as both will get hot and stuffy. A wooden, apex shed with a window or a garden room is your best bet as a garden office. 

Where to place your shed

Choose your site carefully and work out what size shed you can fit into your space. Avoid areas that flood, don’t put it under trees where leaves and branches may fall on the roof, and don't choose the garden's only sunny spot for it. Think about whether you want to show it off or screen it – if the latter, you'll need space to plant screening hedges, too. Leave room all around your shed so that you can maintain it when necessary. Garden sheds in very exposed positions may need to be anchored to the ground.

Think about convenience. Don’t automatically put the shed at the bottom of the garden. If you want electricity, installing it at a distance from the home adds cost.

Planning permission for sheds

Consider whether you need planning permission; make a call to your council’s planning department to be on the safe side. Listed properties, homes in conservation areas or within an area of natural beauty, or where the shed will be near a boundary may require consent first. Check before you place your order.

What kind of base will your shed need?

The base must be level and secure. Install a concrete base, lay paving slabs or use the Hawklok system that creates a strong, but transferable system if required. It is completely possible to pour a concrete slab yourself, and all you need is a level and well packed surface to start on. Then you can lay flagstones on top, before constructing your new shed.

Make the base the same size as your shed or you will get splash back when it rains, or add guttering to collect the rainwater for use around the garden.

Shed maintenance: do I need to stain/paint my shed?

The answer very much depends on what condition your shed comes in when you buy it. If it says 'ready to be painted', this almost certainly means that the wood is untreated and will need some kind of a protective coat. If you don't want to paint your shed, you can used a wood stain instead. Pressure-treated sheds are generally fine, because the wood has already been processed to make it weather resistant. 

 Browse the best exterior wood paint in our buyer's guide.

Read more:

  • For more garden ideas, go to our dedicated page.
  • Inspired by our first pick studio space? Why not create a garden room?
  • Part of a bigger garden design plan? Check out our advice page.