Custom vs. Pre-Made Garden Sheds: What's the Better Choice?

For any gardening enthusiast, a garden shed is essential for storage and workspace. The question remains, “Should I build a shed or buy a pre-made kit?” 

When choosing your own shed, there are pros and cons to customised and ready-made alternatives. Custom sheds allow you to tailor the design perfectly for your needs. Meanwhile, pre-fab sheds offer faster, more budget-friendly installation.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key factors to weigh when deciding between custom or pre-made garden sheds. We’ll cover considerations like budget, customisation required, build time, permits, and installation to help you determine the best fit. 

Whether you want a cosy storage cottage or a potting workshop, we’ll guide you through choosing the ideal shed solution for your garden sanctuary!

Benefits of Custom Garden Sheds

Going the custom route allows you to create a garden shed tailored specifically to your needs and property. Some of the major benefits of custom garden sheds include:

  • Size - A custom shed can be built to any dimensions you need, allowing you to maximise every inch of space. Whether you need a compact storage unit or a spacious workshop, it can be customised to fit.
  • Design - Custom sheds allow you more creative control over the design features. You can choose the architectural style, materials, layout, windows, colours, and decorative details. This allows the shed to match your home's aesthetics.
  • Quality Materials - You can select higher-end, durable materials like cedar, engineered wood, or redwood. This provides better insulation and weatherproofing than cheaper pre-made or flat-pack shed materials.
  • Personalisation - With a custom shed, every part of it can be personalised, from the exterior trim to built-in storage cubbies inside. You can create a new shed that suits your hobbies and needs.

  • Permits - A qualified contractor will take care of securing any need for a building permit for a custom build. This removes the hassle of navigating local regulations.

Downsides of Custom Sheds

While custom garden sheds allow you to create the perfect tailored structure, there are some potential downsides to consider:

  • Cost - The top drawback of custom sheds is the higher price tag. Between labour, permits, materials, and the overall construction, costs quickly add up compared to pre-fab sheds.
  • Timeline - Fully customising a shed takes more time, often several weeks to even months, depending on size. You'll need patience as the contractor builds it from the ground up.
  • Complex Process - Working with architects, contractors, and your local permit office can complicate the process. There's a lot more planning and coordination involved.
  • Site Prep - For a permanent custom build, you may need to prepare the site with grading, drainage, electricity or plumbing lines first.
  • Limited Options - While customisable, you are still limited by zoning laws and structural requirements. Some customisation ideas may get rejected.
  • No Trial Period - There's no backing out once a custom shed build begins. You'll need to stick to the approved plans rather than changing course.

Benefits of Pre-Made Sheds

Pre-made, ready-to-assemble garden sheds offer a faster, more affordable DIY shed solution. Some key advantages include:

  • Cost - Pre-fabricated shed kits are the cheapest way to add a shed to your yard. You can find them for a fraction of a custom build cost.
  • Quick Installation - With an entire shed, you can have a finished structure in a matter of days rather than weeks. Many kits can be assembled with just basic DIY skills.
  • Limited Permitting - In many cases, permits are not needed for smaller pre-made sheds under a certain square footage. This cuts down on paperwork.
  • Flexible Placement - Pre-fab sheds are portable and can be situated in different areas of your yard. Custom sheds have a fixed permanent site.
  • Style Options - While not fully customisable, pre-made sheds come in a variety of shed building materials like vinyl sheds, sizes, roof designs, and accessories.
  • Trial Period - If you don't end up liking a pre-built shed, it can be disassembled and sold rather than being a permanent commitment.
  • Weather Resilient - Prefabricated sheds designed for your climate are able to withstand the elements. They are durable and low maintenance.

Downsides of Pre-Made Sheds

While pre-fabricated sheds provide a quick and budget-friendly option, there are some drawbacks to consider:

  • Cookie Cutter Design - Pre-made sheds have a generic "one size fits all" look that may clash with your home's style and layout. Customisation is very limited.
  • Cheaper Materials - To keep material costs low, pre-fab sheds often use lower-grade lumber, thin metal, and less durable shingles or siding that can be flimsy.
  • No Long-Term Guarantee - While some pre-made sheds come with short 1-2 year warranties, their lifespan is not guaranteed like a custom build. If you build your own shed, these warranties are not going to be in place.
  • Self-Assembly - Unless you pay for professional assembly, following instructions, you'll need to assemble the shed properly.
  • Can't Add Features - Adding insulation, electricity, plumbing, or other custom features to a basic pre-made shed kit is impossible.
  • Resale Value - Pre-fab sheds generally won't become a long-term asset that adds property value like a quality custom shed built can.

Key Considerations in Choosing

When deciding between a custom-built or pre-made garden shed, The main driver is often budget or if you can save money. Custom sheds typically cost significantly more, given the labour, materials, all the tools required, permit fees, and overall construction costs. 

The other main factors to consider are customisation needs, build time, DIY skills, aesthetics, and local requirements. Custom sheds typically cost more upfront, given the labour, materials, tools, permits, and overall construction. Pre-made sheds are the cheaper DIY option. However, consider long-term value as well. Pre-built sheds limit you to certain sizes and styles, while custom sheds allow you to dictate dimensions, materials, features, etc. Consider the level of personalisation you need. 

For custom sheds, build time can take months, depending on permitting wait times, whereas pre-made sheds can be assembled within days or weeks. Factor in your patience and storage needs. Handy homeowners can tackle pre-fab shed assembly solo, but custom sheds require hiring a contractor. Assess your comfort with complex installations. Custom sheds can match your home's look, while pre-made sheds have a generic appearance. Decide what will complement your landscape. 

Research permits, zoning laws, and codes for your area, as custom sheds often need approval, while pre-made sheds may not, depending on size. Overall, weigh your budget, customisation desires, timeline, skills, aesthetics, and local requirements when choosing between custom-built or pre-made garden sheds.

Build It Your Way

There are convincing pros and cons to customising a shed and choosing a pre-made option. For many homeowners, the decision comes down to budget limitations. Pre-fabricated sheds provide an affordable, convenient way to add storage quickly with a DIY installation. But for others or those completing a building project, the benefits of a fully customised shed tailored to their extra storage space make the investment in a custom build worthwhile.

At Garden Depot, we offer a wide selection of top-quality pre-made sheds to suit budgets big and small. Our team is ready to help assess your needs and recommend the best shed solution unique to your yard. With decades of experience, we handle the entire process, from permitting to professional installations.

Ready to explore garden sheds for your backyard sanctuary? Reach out to the experts at Garden Depot today! We look forward to working with you to bring your dream shed to life, whether with a one-of-a-kind custom build or the perfect pre-fab find. Our collection of sheds provides inspiring options to unlock the full potential of your outdoor space. Contact us now to get started!

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