Building a Shed with Modular Design

by Joe on November 17, 2010

When my wife and I (okay, it was just me, but I had her moral support) started looking for a storage shed, we didn’t really know anything about them, we just wanted a decent-looking structure that would free up some space in our carport.


I made the rounds of our local home-improvement megastores, but I found the selection was kind of limited at the Home Depot and Lowe’s in my neighborhood, and they were all a bit smaller than what I had in mind.

Returning home, defeated but undaunted, I googled around and found a “shed superstore” with every type of garage, gazebo, pole and wood barn you can imagine… and a few sheds too. :-) But they were a couple hours out of town, and most of the sheds I saw on their site were too big, I was starting to feel like Goldilocks, where would I find the shed that was just right for me?

Then, on the brink of despair, a search result caught my eye, modular sheds, long story short, this proved to be the answer to our shed search, and if you’re thinking about a 12×16 shed, then you should definitely consider the modular option.

What is modular design?


Any construction project that relies on modular design means that the structure can be broken down into component parts or sections, which have some degree of inter-change-ability and extensibility. You can swap one section out for another, say a door, window or roof, or you can add sections, usually to increase the size of the shed footprint (length x width). I have seen a few two-story sheds online, so you can go for height, just be sure you know what your residential zoning requirements are, and watch out for nearby power lines.

I’d never built a shed before, but I’m handy enough, and I’ve accumulated a pretty extensive set of tools in my workroom (which may or may not have gotten a few upgrades during the course of this project “strictly necessary” of course ;-) , but after reading a bunch of online how-to articles, and watching some videos, I felt like this was do-able, and would make a nice project for the fall.

I found a set of plans online that had flexible layout options to give us the footprint we wanted (L-shaped) — Shoot me an email if you want to know which ones and I’ll send you the link. Put in a call to my local lumberyard, and got psyched for a weekend (or four :-) of shed raising!

Well then Murphy’s law, we then proceeded to have the wettest fall on record for the past eight years. I had my plans, and the materials were on order, but weekend after weekend was lost to heavy rains, and we had to postpone delivery 6 times. Finally though, we got a break, and the flatbed rolled up with my lumber.

When building your shed, expect the unexpected

I won’t lie and say things went perfectly smoothly from there on out. I got off to a rocky start because I hadn’t done enough work to plan out my foundation. Water is a wooden shed’s ultimate nemesis, and with all the rain, I had planned to pour out a slab foundation, but the rain had made that impossible, and so I shifted to a floating, or on-grade foundation [link to shed foundation article].

Well a good thing to know if you’re putting in a floating foundation, is that you want your floor joists supported by solid concrete blocks, and blockhead that I am, guess what kind of blocks I had? Yep, good old hollow cinder blocks. So returning those and getting the solid blocks took out half of my buiding time the first weekend.

We hit a few more snags along the way, I was excited to try putting in a sky-light, but that will have to wait for my next shed. Thankfully, I live in a warm climate, and so we only had our first cold snap before my final weekend “sprint” to put on the finishing touches. My wife is happy with the way it looks, and we’ve got a nice, clean carport again.

Ready to build your own shed?

If a storage shed is your next DIY project, start with reliable, proven shed building plans. Just like me, you can find the perfect plans online, without paying out big bucks to an architect for a custom design. We got tired of all the lousy and confusing information out there on the internet, and so we put this website together to help you find your best shed design or made-to-assemble kit.

Building a shed is fun, and I love looking out my kitchen window each morning as the sun hits our backyard and thinking “Yep, I built that,” but it might not be for you. There are plenty of “off the shelf” solutions for a storage shed, but just be sure to look around and/or get in touch with any of us here, I’d hate for you to make an impulsive decision that ends up costing you big, and maybe even worse, reminds you everytime you visit your back yard. :-)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Hale July 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I'm interested in the plans you used for your L-shaped shed, if you could send me the link.
Dan hale


Carl January 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hey Dan, here’s a link that includes L-shaped shed plans.


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