There is no doubt that wooden garden sheds are the most attractive garden storage solution.
Firstly, they form a visually appealing garden feature in their own right.
Secondly, the very nature of wood means that it harmonizes beautifully with just about any planting scheme.
Thirdly, the great advantage of wood is that it can be painted or stained very easily to either complement, or contrast with, your house and other garden features.
Wooden garden sheds generally come in two forms: 'apex' and 'pent'.
These have a traditional pitched roof (an inverted 'V') with the door at the gable end.
They generally provide more headroom than a pent shed and are a good choice if you will be using your shed as a workshop or to store tall items.
You also have the option of boarding off some the 'loft' space to provide extra storage which can be very handy.
These have a roof that slopes downwards from front to back. They are usually more unobtrusive than apex sheds, which is handy if you don't want to make a feature of your shed, but not as convenient for working in.
The points below highlight the differences between wooden garden sheds in the budget ranges and their more expensive top of the range cousins.
But first, I've just got to say... It's all very well recommending that you buy one of the more expensive sheds but this just isn't practical if you are working to a low budget.
If you can only afford an inexpensive shed then you should buy an inexpensive shed. I don't see anything wrong with that.
What you don't want to do is be fooled into paying more for a budget shed than you need to.
I hope the information on this page helps you sift through the sales patter and the glossy sales brochures and work out the features that you can, and should, expect to pay more for.
There are six key features you should look at:
The framing provides the 'skeleton' and gives a shed its strength.
The lowest-priced wooden garden sheds are typically framed using 25x25mm (1x1in) timbers and you need to think about whether this will be strong enough to withstand your local weather conditions such as high winds and heavy snowfalls (think of the weight of a layer of snow on your shed roof!).
If you can afford it, choose a wooden shed with framing 50x50mm (2x2in) or more - it will be stronger, more longlasting and more secure.
The cladding is attached to the framing to form the walls of your shed.
At the cheaper end of the spectrum are sheds made from solid sheet materials such as chipboard and OSB (Oriented Strand Board). These are fine if you are working to a low budget, but they will not last as long as a shed made from solid timber and are prone to damp penetration.
In the next grade up are sheds clad in softwood. These vary in price depending on whether the timber has been dip treated or pressure treated with wood preservative.
Sheds made from pressure treated timber are more expensive but usually last longer.
Those made from dip treated wood usually require further annual treatments with preservative - an added expense which you will need to factor in to your calculations.
Top of the range wood garden sheds are made from Western Red Cedar which is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect damage.
There is usually no need to apply wood preservatives to your cedar garden shed which cuts down on maintenance time and costs. In its natural state cedar weathers to a very attractive silver grey colour but you can apply coloured oil based stains if you wish.
The style and thickness of the cladding also has a bearing on the longevity of your wooden garden shed.
Overlapping weatherboard cladding is more likely to warp and buckle than either tongue and groove or shiplap cladding, although it does give a pleasingly 'rustic' look if that is important to you.
The thicker the cladding the stronger and more resilient the shed. Economy sheds may have a cladding of only a few millimetres thickness whilst a more expensive, heavy duty shed, typically has cladding in the range 15-20mm (0.6-0.8in).
If your shed has an integral floor make sure that it is strong enough for your purposes - sheds used as workshops and to store heavy equipment need a heavy duty floor.
The roof needs to be strong and weatherproof with a thick, good quality roofing felt, usually with a stone chip finish. Cheaper roofing felt is more prone to damage which will allow moisture to penetrate the underlying timber or board.
Another important point to look out for is the overhang of the eaves. Ideally they should overhang the sides and ends of your shed by at least 5cm (2in) to give added rainfall protection to the cladding.
Windows need to fit well and should preferably be hinged from the top so that water does not enter if they are left open in the rain. Look for sloping sills with a drip groove underneath to keep water away from the cladding. The hinges and other fittings should be rustproof.
Doors need to be strong with cross-bracing to prevent warping, and substantial hinges to prevent the door from dropping which is a common shed problem.
If you know exactly what type of shed you want, and it is a standard model, you will find some of the best deals at the major online DIY and building supply retailers.
However, if you are less certain, look for a local supplier with a display of ready erected sheds. That way you will get a real feel for the sheds on offer although you can expect to pay a little more.
For most of us, the best option is to look at the online ranges of specialist shed manufacturers and retailers. They offer a wide selection and will be more than happy to give advice by email or telephone.
They are also more likely to offer optional extras so that you can tailor your shed to your requirements perfectly, and may even be able to supply fully customized bespoke sheds. Many also offer free delivery.
Finally, wherever you decide to buy your wooden garden shed, check the length and conditions of any guarantees or warranties. The best specialist retailers will offer guarantees up to 15 years for their more expensive models.
You can find an overview of choosing the right shed, including advice on size, materials and siting, at garden sheds.