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Building a Garden Man Shed [DIY or Not?]

There is a question everyone faces when they plan a man shed in their garden. Should I build it myself, Buy a kit or get it built by someone else? It depends on several things like time, skills and resources. Let’s take a look at all the considerations and possible solutions.

If you’re already done building your man shed, you might like this post: Man Shed Decoration Ideas

Man shed building options

First let’s take a look at your options for creating a man shed in your garden. As far as I see it, there are the following options.

  • DIY everything. Planning, designing, buying materials, building, finishing.
    • The most difficult option is to do everything yourself. You’ve also got the most freedom to create whatever you want.
  • DIY some things but outsource one or more of the above steps
    • The next option is to outsource one or more steps. Most people will want to outsource the planning since not many people are capable to draw building plans. Of course other parts of the process can be outsourced as well but, many people will enjoy doing this themselves.
  • Buy a cabin kit you only have to IKEA together.
    • The third option is to buy a cabin kit. There are some beautiful cabin kits for sale that take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. It costs more than DIY but you’ll likely get great results.
  • Outsource everything
    • The easiest is to outsource everything. Hire an architect and a contractor and let them figure it out. (after your input of course).

Obviously these options are listed from most to least difficult. What’s best for you? That depends on a few things. Keep reading to find out.

To DIY or not to DIY. That’s the question.

Deciding factors

So which things decide what you should go for? What decides if you should hire someone to build your man shed or to do it yourself?

There are a few very important factors that you have to think about before making a decision.

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Skills
  • Tools
  • Customization
  • What do you want?


How much time do you have to construct your own shed? And how much time do you WANT to invest?

Of course you start a project like this because you enjoy it. But how much time is it actually going to take? Projects like this have a tendency to take longer than planned. Are you sure you can finish before winter starts?


How much money do you want to spend on this? Outsourcing is the easiest but also costly. The national average for letting someone build a shed in your garden was $17 -$24 per Square Feet in 2018. If you want to hire an architect for a nice design, that comes on top of that.

Doing things yourself obviously takes the labor costs out of the project, lowering it considerably.


What can you do? There are quite a few skills necessary to properly build a man shed in your garden. Designing, planning, buying materials, cutting, constructing and finishing are all things that need to be done.

Maybe you’re great at most of these things except one. It’s possible to find someone else to do one of these things. You’ll save some money, time and most important, frustration.


The tools necessary are another consideration to make a decision. There are plenty of tools necessary to build a shed.

If you buy a package, most things are pre-cut so you only need tools for assembly. If you want to DIY more, you’ll also need tools for cutting, etc. If you want someone else to build it for you, you don’t need any tools of course.

Tools are not cheap but outsourcing isn’t either. On the other hand you can use tools for many years. So if you’re planning to do more DIY projects in the future, they’ll pay for themselves. Alternatively, there are also places that rent out tools.


Aside from your skills, time and other factors, it also depends on how much you want to customize. If a pre-fab shed has everything you want, go for it. It makes things much easier.

If you want different sizes, looks, features, etc. You might have to go custom. That means the process will take much longer and the price will absolutely go up as well.

I do have a solution to that problem however. More about that later.

If you want to know what features man sheds possibly have, check out this post: 12 Man Shed Features You Want.

What do you want?

The most important consideration of them all is: What do you want? If you’re looking forward to building your own man shed and think you can do it, go for it!! More power to you. Want to outsource one thing but DIY the rest? Also great.

Maybe you’ve got no interest in doing anything yourself and just want to enjoy the end result. That’s also great.

In the end it is what you want to do and enjoy. In the end having a man shed is about enjoyment. The building process should be part of that. That said, DIYing will probably give you much more satisfaction than outsourcing the process.

Don’t let this be you.

What to do?

Here’s a way to help you select what you should do. Let’s take another look at the four options we listed in the beginning.

1.    DIY everything

Doing everything yourself gives you the most flexibility and is potentially the cheapest. You need a wide range of skills and tools however.

If something goes wrong, it’s completely your fault. This can be quite costly and frustrating at times. It’s also the most fulfilling option once it’s done. Something you can be truly proud of.

2.    DIY Most things, Outsource one or more parts

The part most people will have the problems with it the design and drawings. Most likely that’s the part you want to outsource. Besides that, this option does still take a fair bit of time since you’ll have to buy, cut and construct everything. You’ll need quite a few tools and the skills to use them. You can customize however you like it though. Having a professional design to fall back on can help prevent costly mistakes and frustration.

If you’re up for it, it’s a fun and fulfilling project.

I’ve got a cheap way to get professional designs for your shed. Check out the next section: “Where can you get shed building plans?” The option mentioned there is much cheaper than hiring an architect.

3.    Buy a Cabin kit

By buying a cabin kit, you take all the designing, buying materials and cutting out of the project. This makes things much easier. You just have to do the construction. That means the necessary skill level is much lower and your need far fewer tools.

On the other hand it’s hard to customize things to your liking. Everything is ready for assembly so it’s hard to change things.

It’s going to be more expensive than DIYing everything but, you only have to construct. That makes it possible to do this for almost everyone.

Check out some of the best cabin kits you can buy below.

4.    Outsource everything

This option takes the least amount of your time. You don’t need any tools or skills. It’s possible to customize many things but, you’ll have to pay for the convenience.

Design plans might be the most difficult part.

Where can I get shed building plans?

So, after reading the previous segment, you’ve decided that you want to build your own man shed from scratch. There are a few things you need if you want to do this;

It’s important to have proper building plans before you start. You might have to get a building permit in some localities, for which you often have to show building plans. It also helps you get the result you want. Just starting somewhere and hoping you end up where you want to go is not the best choice for many of us.

If you can’t make your own plans, there is no shame in getting “inspiration” from someone else. There are two options. You can hire an architect or you can get pre-made building plans.

The second option is the best one in my opinion. Pre-made building plans are not free BUT, an architect is usually much more expensive. Sure, an architect can create any design you want but there is such a variety in building plans that you’ll always be able to find something you like.

Ryan’s shed plans

Enter, Ryan’s Shed plans. This is a database with many thousands of shed building plans. Sure they aren’t all meant for man sheds but i’m sure you’ll be able to find something that fits your needs. All the plans come with material lists, estimated costs and step by step instructions.

Sure, it’s a paid site but, compare the price to what hiring an architect would cost. Especially with the discount they’ve got going now, it’s going to be much cheaper. The total build will also be cheaper than getting a pre-built shed or a kit. On the other hand it also takes more time and skill to build your own of course.

Get your man shed building plans here (Click)

What are good man shed kits?

Need a little more help than only the design? Still want the satisfaction of building something yourself? A pre fab kit is a good option. Buying a shed kit is great since you don’t have to worry about designing, buying material and cutting. Just assemble. It’s almost like IKEA furniture, although it’ll take a little longer than a bookshelf.

If you’re looking for pre-fab sheds, you might not find the most beautiful examples. Try looking for cabin kits. Sheds are just for storage. Cabin kits are for living in. That’s what you’re looking for. A shed usually doesn’t have windows and looks pretty ugly. Storage sheds are much cheaper though.

Suggested cabin kits

There are some awesome cabin kits available on Amazon. It’ll be delivered to your house so, you don’t even have to get out of your house to get it. It takes all the guesswork out of the process. The only thing you have to do, except the assembly, is to build a foundation.

Here are two of the best options.

Lillevilla Escape

This cabin is simple and small. It’s only 113 Sq. Ft. so the small footprint is suitable for smaller gardens. If you’re just looking for a small cabin where you can be by yourself, this might be the one for you.

As with most of these kits, it comes with everything you need but you’ll probably build a foundation.

Allwood Bella

Many people will probably want something bigger. The Allwood Bella is a great option. It looks great and can be used for many things.

There is 237 Sq. Ft. of floor space but this cabin also features a 86 Sq. Ft. loft. It’s still not huge but that should be enough space to do what you want without filling up the whole garden.

Another great feature of this cabin kit is the porch on the front. Great for those warm summer evenings.