From Backyard Storage to Shed Workshop

Workshopshed: Today’s post is from writer and home improvement/DIY lover Cory from productadvisor.com. When he told me about his plans to build a workshop I thought it would be great to share them and help answer some of Cory’s questions.


Cory Yeakel : Like most people, my current workspace is in the garage. I’ve got a rather standard setup with a workbench, tool box, and a few other goodies. However, we also have an old shed out back that I’ve been thinking about renovating. It currently serves as storage for various household items and bigger tools (like my table saw), but the idea of a shed workshop has always been interesting to me. After looking around at numerous setups and resources on Andy’s site, I’ve laid out a plan for my renovation and wanted to share it to see what other people thought and whether you all had any additional ideas.

We live in a rather tight housing track, so the shed takes up about half the backyard space (not like we really need it, no kids as of now and we spend most of our time elsewhere). It measures about 10 feet wide, 12 feet long, and 8 feet high in the middle (with the lowest part of the roof coming down to about 6.5 feet), so it’s a decent amount of space.

Step 1 is pulling all of the existing stuff out. I may decide to keep one or two of the shelving racks on the sides, but we’ll see (more on that below). At least one side needs to come out to open up space.

Once everything is moved out, my next step is installing lighting. I know many people choose to put skylights or windows for natural lighting, but I think I’m going to go with full artificial instead. Natural lighting in our backyard isn’t that great because of the position of the house and surrounding trees, and on top of that, I just prefer it. I work with small parts often and enjoy the insane brightness that LED lights can provide.

I’ll probably do a larger double-tube fixture in the middle with smaller LED clusters in each corner for shadow elimination. Having experimented with different lighting setups in the past and helped a few friends set up commercial shops for work, I’ve personally found multi-directional lighting like this provides the best coverage, but I’d love to hear anyone else’s opinions too.

The right side of the shed is where I want the work bench to go. I love the idea of an L-shape like Andy’s so I can work more efficiently (my current bench is one-sided) and maybe install one or two tools permanently. In addition, I’d like to install a pegboard above the work bench area to mount certain hand tools and free up a little space in my tool box for other things.

As for the left side of the shed, I’ve figured out I want to do a storage shelf on the left half with my tool box on the right (this way I get the best of both worlds when it comes to storage), but I’m trying to decide whether I want to keep one of the existing shelves or build a new one. There’s nothing wrong with these current ones other than a little rust which can easily be detailed; I would literally only be making a new one for the sake of having new equipment. Decisions, decisions!

I figure lighting, workspace, and storage are the top three aspects to look at when building a workshop, so that’s what I thought about when creating this brief plan. There’s undoubtedly things I left out. Would anyone care to weigh in with some suggestions? Thanks in advance!


About Cory

Hey guys, I’m Cory! I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of some. I got into woodworking in high school when I took a woodshop class. Funny thing was, the new teacher happened to be a long-time friend from my mountain bike racing days, so I ended up spending a lot of time in the shop learning and experimenting. Since then (almost 10 years ago now!), I’ve learned to appreciate many different DIY projects and renovating my shed is my latest idea.

2 thoughts on “From Backyard Storage to Shed Workshop

  1. Deanna Friel says:

    Rolling work shelves for extra work surface can be a great advantage if you tend to vary your project sizes. When you need additional surface for working, you can roll out your extra work shelves and when they are not in use, they can be extra storage space. It becomes even more appealing if your storage cabana/shed/garden room is multi-purpose and not just for storing garden equipment or treasured trivia. Thank you for sharing your article about From Backyard Storage to Shed Workshop.

    • Cory Yeakel says:

      Hey Deanna, thanks for the suggestion! I’ll keep rolling shelves in mind when the renovation begins. I’ll just have to decide how much storage I really need (my current stationary shelves offer a bit more storage space because they go almost to the ceiling).

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