How to Match Your Outbuilding to Your Home

Debra Lopez

June 12, 2021

Are you considering adding an outbuilding or shed to your property? Do you enjoy “tinkering” and wish you had a workshop? Do you have frequent overnight visitors, and a guest house would help? How about a quiet “she-shed” in the backyard for lounging and reading?

Whatever the reason, a separate outbuilding may be the perfect solution.

However, when adding a shed, pool house, workshop, etc., to your property, it is very important to create visual harmony between the building and your home. Do it wrong, and it can bring down the value of your house. Add a shed successfully, and your property value will be enhanced.

Here are some tips to make your outbuilding project more successful.

Plan Your She-Shed, Pool House, or Home Office

Before you break ground, plan out the design first. You don’t want your outbuilding to look misplaced or overwhelm your yard and home. Address several considerations such as:

  • Where on the property should the shed be built?
  • How large is the area where it’ll be built? Will it fit?
  • How will the shed be used?
  • How large do you need the building to be?
  • Will the shed be seen from the street? By your neighbors?
  • Should it be in a more private space on the lot?
  • Does the building need to be adjacent to a swimming pool or the back of the house?
  • Do you want electricity? Air conditioning?
  • Do you need to check with an HOA or review board before building?
  • Will you need a building permit?

Answering all of these questions first will help determine the placement, size, and function of your outbuilding and save you from many headaches in the long run.

Determine the Exterior of Your Shed Details

She sheds

Probably one of the best ways to increase your property value is to be certain that your house and shed look like they belong together. Your home’s exterior – the roof type, paint colors, and materials – should be the same for your outbuilding. Consider using some of the same architectural details as well: dormers, style of windows, shutters, etc. For example, if your house has a Spanish-style tile roof, is painted tan, and has an arched doorway, but your shed has a composite roof and painted bright blue with a standard door, the flow will be off because the buildings don’t work together.

Another tip is to landscape around the shed and create a nice walkway to it from your house, driveway, or sidewalk. This will help it look like it belongs and has been there since the house was built.

Talk to the builder or architect who designed your home for suggestions, and consider having your original contractor construct the outbuilding for you. It can become very costly if the HOA forces you to remove the shed after it has been built because the design is too modern for the area, you didn’t follow the requirements or some other reason. Many communities monitor their sheds and outbuildings very carefully, so ask first.

Heating, Cooling, and Electricity for Your Shed

HVAC and electricity may seem like a luxury for your she-shed (reading by candlelight is so romantic!), but you need to decide early in the construction process whether or not to include it. It will cost less in the long run if you add it now rather than waiting until later. How you use the building and whether you want the space available year-round is a major consideration. A space heater or window air-conditioner is not as efficient as HVAC, and things such as tools and towels will rust and mildew more easily without it.

Outbuilding or Shed Flooring

sheds for backyard

Types of flooring are also an important aspect and are dependent upon how the outbuilding will function. Looking for a cozy, quiet space to read or do office work? Consider a nice, thick plush carpet. Is this a place for you to build things or do mechanical work? A heated concrete floor is your best bet. If the shed is for gardening or changing out of wet swimsuits, then tile is what you need. Don’t just pour a concrete slab and call it a day.

Shed Windows and Doors

Not only do the building’s doors and windows need to match your residence, but you should also plan their function. If you need a workshop or storage for a boat, snowmobiles, an RV, etc., should it open on both sides to drive through it? Does it need a higher door opening for easier access for special vehicles, etc.? If it’s an office or she-shed, would you like to add more windows on the far side to look at the nearby flower gardens? Speaking of gardens, should you add skylights to enhance your plant growth?

What Kinds of OutBuildings or Sheds Are Best?

Frankly, not every family needs or wants an outbuilding. But as you think about your lifestyle and how it might benefit your family, consider what kind of building would be best. The ideas below serve a wide variety of purposes.

Workshop or Tool Shed

If you enjoy working on projects or own tools for yard work, carpentry, etc., a barn or shed may be right for you. Large or small, this outbuilding can be designed to complement your abode. You’ll also reduce noise and keep hazard risks away from your kids and nosy visitors.

A Guest House Shed?

Do family members or friends visit often? Will they stay for an extended time? Are your parents getting older and you’d like to keep them close? Your home may need a matching guest house. The best part of having a guest house is that it not only adds property value, but you can also enjoy the company of loved ones without sacrificing your personal space.

A Gazebo/Pool House

Does your family love spending time outdoors? Do you own a pool? A pool house or gazebo may be the ideal addition for you. Both of these structures offer the ability to enjoy your backyard but stay safe from the burning sun and mosquitoes (if the gazebo is screened). You can also leave wet swimming suits and towels outside to dry instead of in a pile inside the back door.

A Greenhouse Shed

Greenhouses won’t necessarily be used the same way as an outbuilding, but you can still create a beautiful one. Because gardening is the number one hobby in the United States, the resale value with a greenhouse is often higher. Having one that looks great on the outside is a plus, too.

Careful Planning with Joseph Douglas Homes

Before you begin construction, be certain that your outbuilding “flows” with the rest of your property. Take your time and carefully plan how it will look, how it will be used, and where it will be located. Discuss this with a reputable contractor like Joseph Douglas Homes and save yourself future problems. The right shed, pool house, outbuilding, or storage garage will feel like it belongs, give you pleasure for years, and best of all, will increase your property value.

Joseph Douglas Homes has been designing and constructing award-winning custom homes and matching outbuildings throughout southeastern Wisconsin since 1998. They will bring your dream to life using your plans, one of theirs, or design something one-of-a-kind.

Don’t build a shed, garage, or outbuilding that looks out of place or like a last-minute decision. With the proper planning and the right builder, you can have a great separate space that perfectly serves the purpose of your lifestyle and matches your home, too. Enjoy the process with the professionals at Joseph Douglas Homes. Contact Joseph Douglas Homes today!

Meet the Author

Debra Lopez

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