10 Tips for Choosing and Building the Perfect She Shed for You

Can you think of anything better than having your own private space to escape to? A place where you can relax, be yourself and do whatever you want? Me neither. Which is why every woman needs her own She Shed. What’s a she shed, you ask? Basically, it’s a small backyard building or garden structure that’s all yours – perfect for weekend relaxation sessions, girl time with the besties or just getting some peace and quiet away from the family. Plus, they come in all sorts of adorable styles these days so you can really make them your own. Interested in learning more? Keep reading for everything you need to know about adding a she shed to your backyard!

What is a She Shed?

Call it a She Shed, a Backyard Bungalow, Craft Corner, Offsite Office, Reading Retreat, Mom Mansion – there are plenty of reasons to have a space just for you, separate from your main living quarters. She Sheds started with the trend of repurposing existing backyard structures into rustic hobby spaces. Now, folks are using their She Sheds, whether they’re new construction, the detached garage or even the kids’ old playhouse, for all manner of side hustles and self care. 

I discovered very early on in our foster care journey that working from my home office was not viable with kids in the house. Have you ever tried to write a book while attempting to prevent teenagers from committing crimes and burning your house down? 

Fortunately we had the perfect spot in the yard for a big white barn from Coastal Portable Buildings, and we’re getting close to finishing the drywall/painting/flooring in the interior so I can finally move my stuff in. If you think you might want a She Shed of your own, read on!

How much does a She Shed cost? 

Like any DIY home improvement project, you can build your She Shed on a budget or go absolutely wild and create what’s essentially a 2nd home. (Oops.) 

  1. The easiest option is to repurpose an existing structure if you have one. An old shed or barn with good bones can be whipped into shape with some new wood, a coat of paint and some thrifted furniture. And repurposed structures have so much character! They are just about guaranteed to pass the vibe check.
  2. Order a shed kit and build it yourself. If you’re handy and have the time, this could be a fun project. Ideal for smaller buildings with simple instructions though. You would not want to attempt to build a ginormous barn from a kit on your first try.
  3. Custom order your building to your specifications. This is what we did! I designed my She Shed online and ordered it from Coastal Portable Buildings. There are ready-made models you can have delivered quite quickly, or you can choose every last detail: colors, windows, barn, garage or glass doors, porches, roof material, etc. Coastal was incredible to work with – honestly, everything on their end went smoothly and we got exactly what we wanted. It’s us (and the City’s hilariously inept permitting office) that have held up production.
  4. Find a used shed on Facebook Marketplace. This is a great budget friendly option if you don’t have an existing structure. You won’t have the same freedom as designing it yourself, but you can definitely get started and then upgrade the space as you go. (Coastal Portable Buildings offers sheds for resale on their Facebook page so if you’re in Florida, take a look. Delivery is included when you buy from them.) 

To Build or To Buy? 

That is the question. Initially, we considered ordering a shed kit from Amazon. We certainly could have built it… but when? Maybe if you’re retired or have nothing else to do, this could be a fun way to spend your time. But if you’re not extremely handy or bored, definitely go the ready-made route. 

My main takeaway from this never ending She Shed project is this: don’t DIY. We were smart to custom design our building and have it dropped right in our yard. 

Coastal Portable Buildings offers the Stellar package, an upgrade that finishes the interior for you so it’s ready to go when it arrives. We very, very foolishly skipped the Stellar package to save money… deciding to do all the drywall and finish work ourselves. (a.k.a. Rick is so handy and amazing at big projects but he also underestimates how much time something will take!) And that my friends, is why it’s still not ready, eight months later and why we’ve probably spent double what it would have cost to just have it finished by Coastal.

No matter how handy you are, there’s always something in the way of a big project – you almost chop your hand off, you have a wayward child who requires much attention, your puppy is an actual gremlin. And you wanna hire a contractor? IN THIS ECONOMY?! Good luck, y’all. So take my advice, if you’re going this route, just spring for the finished product and move in on delivery day, not a year later.

Just a few Coastal Buildings options

How big is a She Shed?

Again, it all depends on your needs, your budget and how much space you have to spare. For a writer’s retreat with a desk and cozy chair, a 10×12 would be more than sufficient. A gardener’s shack could even be smaller than that, unless you wanted extra space for a greenhouse or yard tool storage. 

Rick has a knack for convincing budget-minded me that we should always get the biggest and the best. Initially, I was thinking about one of those 8×10 plastic tool sheds from Home Depot and calling it a day. Sure, it would be boiling hot 10 months out of the year here in Florida and wouldn’t have electricity, but at least I could lock the doors and hide from the children work on my book. 

But we discussed and researched and discussed some more, and wouldn’t you know we ended up designing a 16×28 barn-style shed with an 8-ft. loft on one side. You know what they say about Big Rick… he does everything BIG. And yeah, it’s not really a shed so much as a tiny house at this point. There absolutely is enough room to install a bathroom and small kitchen if we wanted to. Or you know, raise horses or something. 

We divided the space into two sections: 8×16 for Rick’s tools / hobbies (he has maxed out the garage already with fishing and woodworking gear) and 20×16 for me. I have some exciting ideas for how I want to lay the space out, but suffice it to say my She Shed will have a reading nook/library, writing desk, yoga space, TikTok studio and green screen, crafting/painting corner and storage up in the loft. 

I’m still workshopping names… I don’t actually love She Shed so I’m on the hunt for better ideas. I kinda like La Casita? What do you think? 

No one needs this much space, we’re just bonkers. So think about how much space you actually need and go at least 25% bigger than that. You want room to grow your hobbies and it never hurts to have extra space for storage. 

Do you need a permit for a She Shed? 

Where I live, you need a permit for any freestanding structure larger than 80 sq. ft., I believe. So we definitely had to get city approval. It was the most difficult part of the entire planning process, because for whatever reason, the City of Jax just could not get it together. I don’t think it’s normally that challenging, I was just assigned an incompetent employee. You also have to take into account plumbing, easements, right of ways, trees/plants and a dozen other things I never really thought about until I started. Don’t rush into it! Take your time and cross your t’s to make sure you don’t have to move your structure once it’s in place. (Extra expense and not fun!) Many places, especially more rural locales, don’t require any permitting, so you really just have to check your local Building Codes to make sure. 

Sometimes, permitting depends if the shed is permanent or portable. We were initially going the permanent route and looking to pour a concrete slab, but I’m glad we went with a Coastal Portable Building instead because in the event we ever decided to move, we can call them and pay to have the She Shed taken to our new house. Isn’t that cool? I love that this is an investment that can come with us!

Want Your Own? 

Dream it up. If money were no object, what would your dream She Shed have? Inflatable hot tub? Wine fridge? 1,000 compartments for craft supplies? Cozy nap chair? Karaoke stage? Seriously. What would make your life better? What would really bring you some joy? 

Pick a spot. Do your due diligence to find out where on your property you can put a She Shed. Start with the local zoning codes and go from there. Make sure your shed can fit within your property lines and isn’t going to be a nuisance for your neighbors. (Our neighbor built a structure that can only be compared to Noah’s Ark and now it lords over our swimming pool and blocks out the sunset. Don’t be that guy.)

Decide on a budget. We did this, and then promptly spent… yeah, I don’t want to think about that. But I don’t regret it one bit because I’m obsessed! But a budget is always a good starting point for a big project. Now these are all just estimates – you can absolutely spend more or less. There are some great deals out there depending on your flexibility! 

  • $1,000-$5,000 Repurpose existing structure / remodel garage
  • $5,000-$10,000 Used building, DIY shed kit
  • $10,000+ Custom building delivered to your home

Draw your vision. Get a piece of paper – graph paper is super useful for scale – and plot out every piece of furniture, craft table, easel, Peloton bike. Don’t forget storage space! Think about where the sun rises and sets on your property, and if you are going custom, plan windows and doors accordingly. 

TIP: Even if you’re not in N. Florida, you can use Coastal Portable Building’s online design tool to get you inspired about the She Shed of your dreams. It really helps to be able to visualize windows, doors, lofts, etc. and not just have to imagine it. 

Once you get to this point, you’ll have an idea if you’re on the hunt for a new or used portable building, or if you might want to take on the challenge of building your own She Shed from a kit. I can’t wait to see what you do! (Send me photos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!)

Stay tuned for more She Shed inspiration once mine is completely finished. Soon, really!

So, are you in the market for a She Shed of your own? Or a Man Cave? How about a kid’s playhouse? The sky is the limit, y’all. Tell me your inspiring She Shed ideas in the comments!

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