One of the very first steps in preparing for your storage-shed project is to research the building and zoning codes of your local jurisdiction. You may need a permit in order to build on your property, or to build a structure greater than a certain square footage. You also may need to set back the structure a certain distance from the property line. Find out about the specific requirements and restrictions you must follow in order for the work to be permitted before you select a plan. Then submit the plan to the building department with your permit application. Another important source to check is your Homeowners Association (HOA) -- some HOAs ban detached outbuildings such as storage sheds [source: Gibson].
Other key decisions in the planning process are the size and exact location of the building. The principal factor -- determining the best size for your storage shed -- should be what you intend to store in it. Consider taking all the things you plan storing in the shed and haul them into a square on the lawn; then use the dimensions of that square for selecting a plan [source: Carter]. Bear in mind the equipment you may own in the future. Ideally, sheds should be sited on level turf, in a location that combines relative proximity to the lawn or garden and distance from the sight lines of neighbors [source: Gibson]. You may want to let your neighbors know about your project. Some communities require that you obtain your neighbors' signatures, showing approval your project.
Now let's talk about foundations. A strong foundation like concrete will most likely ensure a longer life for the shed. In colder climates, buildings must be adequately protected from frost heaves, which can cause tremendous shifts in frozen soil. A shed employing a wood-post foundation can be frost-protected by using concrete padding around the posts, rather than a full concrete slab [source: Carter].
Move ahead to the next page to learn how to put together that storage shed you've been planning to build.