So you want to build a shed. Nothing too fancy, just something that can fit the Christmas decorations, store the bicycles in the winter and other miscellaneous things to keep the garage cleared out. Sounds great. How big do you want it to be? Where are you planning to put it? Do you have to get this approved by your Association’s architectural committee? Is it allowed per your city’s zoning codes? Wait, what? All of this for a simple shed!? Yes! And if you are surprised at this, keep reading. There is definitely more research you need to do before this project can begin!

Following are real examples of shed definitions per city codes in the metro area.

City 1: Accessory structure. A structure detached from a principal structure, incidental and subordinate to the principal structure or use, including but not limited to garages, sheds and fences.

City 2: Sheds are one story detached accessory structures, used for tools, storage, and similar uses. A tree house is not a shed and regulated differently.

Following is an example of how one city determines this. All cities are different!

A shed constructed in the rear yard entirely behind the house is required to maintain a 3-foot side yard and 3-foot rear yard setback, including any overhang. A shed located in a side yard is required to maintain a 5-foot side yard setback. And if you have a corner lot? The website says to contact the city directly!

One city explains: A concrete slab is not required. Maximum height is 15 foot measured from the ground to the peak of the roof. Sheds must be anchored by attachment to a slab or in-ground anchors. All corners of shed need to be anchored.

Most cities have a rule about this based on the size of the shed. Many cities determine that a permit is required if a shed is larger than 200 square feet.

If you live in a development with an association, you may need to get approval from the architectural committee. They may have a rule about the style needing to match the house and / or they may have a say about color choices.

Feeling overwhelmed? Do not despair! People all over the cities are building and enjoying their sheds and you will too ?. But chances are, you will enjoy it even more if you first check the rules in your specific city and neighborhood.

By Kristin Beise, Realtor, RE/MAX Advantage Plus