Metal shed with open sides housing a boat.

Shed Layouts That Work: Designing for Your Unique Needs

When it comes to designing sheds, layout is everything. Whether you’re a shed retailer, designer, or erector, understanding shed layouts and choosing a layout that’s going to work is crucial to meeting the needs of your clients.


Most of us have seen the ‘bad design choices’ memes and blogs on the internet; doors that are obstructed, stairs that just don’t work, toilets in the living room and all kinds of crazy. A good layout design should make sure your shed design doesn’t end up on one of those ‘ultimate fail’ sites or collections.


Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for creating shed layouts that work, using the experience gained by over 45 years in the shed industry as shed designers, erectors, and providers of shed retail solutions.

Shed layout essentials: maximising space and functionality

The key to any successful shed design is in maximising its functionality. And one of the best ways to maximise functionality is — you guessed it — maximising space. 


As both functionality and maximising the space in a shed are mission critical for great shed layout design, we’ll explore both of these shed layout essentials in detail. 


Let’s start with functionality.

Shed layout tips for best functionality

To design the best shed layout for functionality, the best way to go about it is to think of how the shed is going to be used, and look at the practicality around that.

Design with shed purpose in mind

The purpose of your shed and the intention of how your end customer is going to use it will really dictate what design choices you’ll need for shed layout for functionality. 


For example, if the shed you’re designing is going to be used as a workshop or project space, designing the shed layout with purposefully designed work zones will make a huge difference to functionality. You could allocate specific areas for the main types of work that will take place in the shed — like a woodworking station, a painting station and an assembly station. From there, you’ll need to talk through the workflow with the customer to make sure the layout accommodates this. Does one station need to be near the door for best ventilation? Do you need more room around a certain station? Do you need to work in tool storage options in certain parts of the shed?

‘Map out’ the end-use logistics during the layout design process

Of course, every shed’s use will be different depending on the purpose. You’ll really impress your customers and potential customers though, by asking the questions that show them you’re paying attention to their needs. And committed to creating a design that’s going to meet them.  It’s all about thinking through what is going to happen in the shed, and what layout choices you need to make to allow for that. This will help to make sure that your shed layout design ticks all of the boxes

Make good choices with stairs and other internal structural elements

Adding second levels or shed mezzanine floors to sheds is a popular choice and can really add to a shed’s functionality and effective use of space. But it’s important to consider the logistics involved in accessing both levels. 


You want to make sure the mezzanine floor is high enough to allow for the full use of the ‘main’ level (keeping in mind if there’s any extra tall objects or tools the customer will be using on the bottom floor, or items being stored, like tall fishing rods in a boat shed, for example). 


The placement of the stairs needs to be strategic, so that they don’t become a nuisance, a tripping hazard or hard to manoeuvre equipment around.


And the same goes for any other internal structural elements, like support beams. Be sure it’s engineer-approved, of course or your layout will need more work when it gets to building approval times.

A large open plan shed layout with open sides

Ensure clear walkways and access

We’ve touched on this a little already but it’s good to be clear: don’t forget to think of walkways and access to the different areas of your shed, and in and out of the shed itself (both for people and the equipment that needs to move in and out of the shed) when you design the shed layout.

Place windows, doors and ventilation points carefully

The same principle applies to the placement of windows, doors and ventilation points

Windows and ventilation points are important for comfort, air circulation, and, if any tools needing ventilation or temperature control are needed, safety too. 


Doors need to be positioned so that there is easy access to the shed, and that the door opening arc doesn’t cause any obstruction or manoeuvrability issues. 


And window placement can play a part in many things, from shed temperature, to light and visibility, access, aesthetic appeal, and even storage.

How to maximise space in your shed layout

Now that we’ve covered shed functionality, let’s take a look at how to design a shed layout to maximise space. This goes hand in hand with functionality, and can significantly impact on the overall functionality of the shed. 

Use vertical space

Mezzanine floor, anyone? We recently took a look at tips for designing mezzanine floors in sheds. This covered some of the many benefits of mezzanine floors, and one of the key benefits was the use of space this allows for. 


Whether it’s a mezzanine floor or allowing for vertical storage solutions, overhead storage solutions, tall shelving units or hooks, racks, and boards on the walls for the storage of tools and equipment, making the best use of vertical space possible will help make your shed layout something special.

Consider flexible design

Designing a shed layout with adjustability and expansion in mind ensures that the space can evolve with your customer’s needs. 


Keeping future flexibility in mind in your shed layout can help future-proof the shed for the customer if they decide they want to change up the way they use the shed in the future.

A large metal shed with three open roller doors

Shed layout mastery: tips for a well-organised workspace

If you’d like to take designing the best shed layout to an even higher standard, a few thoughtful additions for optimising the way the space works can go a long way. 


Here are some ways that a shed layout can be taken to the next level. They’re worth considering as a shed retailer. While some of these are outside the ‘wheelhouse’ of many shed designers / shed retailers, it’s worth considering adding to your optional extras, subcontracting out to a contractor in your network of contacts, or even just passing on the advice to the customer to get the brownie points of offering excellent advice. 

Consider lighting and power

To truly achieve shed layout mastery, it’s good to think through any other elements before finalising the design. If you think through the key aspects needed to make the space as functional as it can be for its intended purpose, you can make sure that your layout caters to it.


The placement of power outlets and lights for example can be game-changers for functionality. Having ample power outlets for the power tools, and the ability to not have to run cables across the shed to workstations is good for both convenience and safety.

For workstations that need careful work, or parts of the shed that will be used plenty, good light placement in those areas will help ‘illuminate’ what good shed layout choices you made. (See what we did there?).

Consider (or recommend) customised storage for tools

Whether you have carpentry and/or cabinetry contacts and can work this into your offering, offer a referral, or simply make the recommendation, customised storage solutions can hugely improve the practicality of the shed. Here are some examples: 


  • Custom built workbenches that fit the space/intended use perfectly 
  • Work benches that double as storage units (offering plenty of dedicated storage underneath
  • Fold-up or fold-down benches or tables
  • Custom shelving & storage; vertical, full-wall, overhead & more
  • Shed furnishings that double as storage (chairs, tables and other furnishings that can store gear within it)
  • Any other specialty space saving or space maximising features you can think of. Bonus points if your competitors aren’t offering it. 


These special ‘outside the realms of shed design’ features can greatly improve your shed’s functionality, and can be worked into your shed layout design. 


If you’ve got the contacts that would be keen to partner in this area and make it happen, you can truly tailor a shed to the customers’ needs — from the layout and design, through to its fittings and furnishings. What a way to stand out from ‘the pack’. 


At the end of the day, even if you can’t offer it, giving the advice, and then working it into your part of the picture — the shed design and layout — can help get the customer the result that they need, so everyone’s a winner. 

Metal shed with a double garage and carport layout.

Thinking custom-designing a shed layout sounds like too much effort?

Think again — as a shed retailer, by offering one-off special designs, you can mark up 40-80% of the cost price. While still managing to save your customer a hefty sum in the process. For a win-win that gives you extra profit from one shed project. 


How is this possible? If you take on the jobs that are outside what your competitors can do, you effectively remove your competition from these jobs. Special designs seem too hard for many retailers, and so they steer clear of them. By saying ‘yes’ to the project, you offer the customer a solution, save them having to pay even more for someone else to do it, and you can give yourself a nice profit in the process for the extra work. 


It’s important to think about too, that while one special design shed could be a lot of effort, it’s probably more effort to quote, design, order and manage two sheds. Especially if there’s back and forth. Even harder to win two sheds. The thing is, if you’re the only one willing to take on a special design, you win by default, by being the best option in the sea of no options.


We’ve seen this first hand on countless occasions. And we can actually show you, step by step how it unfolded for us recently with a specific shed project — complete with all the details — in this case study. 


Check it out here: One off Special Designs Case study

Shed design software that makes ‘one-off shed design’ easy

The other great news is that we have a solution already made that makes it easy to custom-design sheds as ‘one off designs’ for every customer. 

Easy shed design, quoting, ordering with Quotec

At Quotec, we’re known for our shed retail and design solutions because they make it easy for you to run your entire shed business through our software, with the freedom of being an independent shed trailer, complete with the advice and support of an industry specialist. 


  • Easily design and quote bespoke shed designs with our leading shed software
  • Edit sheds easily and make adjustments
  • Easily cater to the shape, size, and features your customers want
  • Easily order at the click of a button
  • You control your profit margins, choose if you’d like to use our suppliers or yours
  • You call the shots, with our advice and support if you need it
  • No lock in contracts, barriers to entry or exit, ever. Just a simple monthly subscription.


Learn more about Quotec Live today.

CAD drawing of a shed structure

Struggling with an extra-special one-off shed design? We can design it for you

At Quotec, we can also create you one-off custom shed designs that tick all of the layout boxes your customer requires. 

Just get in touch with us toget a quote for a custom shed design — complete with all the engineering details.