Here, Deevey offers some benefits and tips for incorporating a shed into your outdoor space.
1. Check for permit requirements
In Ottawa, a building such as the Manhut does not require a building permit. “There’s a loophole in the law here that means you aren’t required to obtain a building permit for a structure that is smaller than 100 square feet,” says Deevey. “Technically it is considered an outbuilding, just like any other garden shed—that is what is appealing for a lot of people.”
Although in many cities, building bylaws allow residents to build a shed without planning permission, this isn’t the case in all municipalities and does not mean that you can just build a shed anywhere (check out these regulations from the city of Red Deer, Alta., for example). Besides carefully investigating your local regulations, you might want to check that your neighbours accept the structure—the last thing you would want is someone complaining to the city and you being made to tear your shed down.
2. Work with your landscape
By working with the existing landscaping and making use of passive solar and shade conditions, you can create a shed that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer (although Deevey says you’ll need good shades and blinds, as you are effectively sitting in a large greenhouse!). But you are also creating a building that is very energy efficient.
3. Build an eco-friendly structure
“I wouldn’t hesitate to call these sheds net zero, which is a term we use in the building industry where the combination of people and appliances generate enough warmth to negate the need for any kind of heating,” says Deevey. Some British designs are incorporating green roofs and other enhanced eco-chic additions.
4. Make it winter-ready
Surprisingly, keeping a shed warm enough in the winter isn’t that hard. “Here in Canada, we’ve got a lot of skills here in terms of insulating, so it’s just about leveraging the best practices that we know already and combining them, and building a shed that is really well insulated,” says Deevey. He recently completed a design that had radiant floor heating, which keeps the shed toasty warm.