Sure, you can buy a shed, but because it’s not a complex structure, if you have some building experience, why not design your own shed and build it yourself (see our detailed how to build a shed guide)? This way you get exactly what you want and will probably save some money. The starting point is to start sketching out some ideas and then put together a solid shed blueprint plan together.
While you can do this with pen and paper, you might get better results using a shed design software program. Below we set out 5 shed design software options that offer shed-specific options. Some offer free access and features; others are paid software (i.e. you need to pay for them).
FYI, if this is your first introduction to the concept of design software for the home, there are options for pretty much every aspect of a home and garden.
1. Home Stratosphere’s 3D Shed Design Software (Free)
We’re pleased to offer a free software application that’s entirely online (nothing to download). You start by choosing a basic design and then you can customize it in many ways. There are 9 templates to start with.
From there the sky is the limit.
Design features include:
- Custom sizing
- Awnings and porches
- Door (different types)
- Many wall configurations
- Color customization
2. Home Designer Suite
Home Designer Suite is a middle-of-the-line of the many software products by Chief Architect. It updates with a new version each year and can be downloaded from the website. As a 3D home design software for DIY home enthusiasts, it tries to replicate the processes and considerations taken by professionals when it comes to home planning.
When done right, the result can be comparable to a professional work. Although it should be great news for the novice and simple DIYers with no CAD backgrounds, this also comes with its own downsides. Getting to grips with the tools, buttons and controls take time.
Don’t expect to primary the program overnight and certainly not in an hour. Once you’re already starting your shed project, the program won’t allow you to just go on a roll and create right away. To start with a new plan, you’ll first have to deal with the House Builder Wizard which would ask you numerous questions about important details such as style of the house, minimum square footage, framing defaults, exterior siding, etc.
This software certainly demands patience to be a virtue. The difference with Home Designer Suite from other design softwares is it doesn’t start with a drawing or a sketch but with a wall that’s built one at a time. So to create a garden shed, go to the Build drop down menu, Wall and Straight Exterior Wall.
There’s a detailed instruction to go about it posted on its website.
- 2D and 3D designs with automatic 3D rendering
- Automated tools
- Built-in style templates and 6,000+ library items
- Extensive landscaping tools
- Cost estimator
- Virtual 3D tour
- 3D viewer app
- Rotate symbols in 3D
- Home Designer Suite 2019 costs USD $99 with a 30-day refund warranty
- Compatible with MAC and PC
- Save designs to the Cloud
- Sophisticated features
- Professional-quality CAD tools
- Amount of tools can be overwhelming
- Entails a learning curve
- Limited to only one computer at a time
Home Designer Suite Video
Click here for Home Designer Suite
3. Shed Boss App
Shed Boss App is a design tool created by Shed Boss as an outlet for clients and home DIYers to easily design their dream shed right at their fingertips. It’s a simple app with straightforward and dead simple tools and features. To start with, just click on the button that indicates you want to start creating a shed.
It will then take you to the app’s basic user interface. The tools and features are found on the left side of the screen. The app will not allow you to skip on a process so you will have to build the shed by order of the features as you see them.
It will first ask you to choose from a few selections of building types, then enter the dimensions and pitch dimensions. To zoom in or out, use the scroll wheel on the mouse or pinch the screen if you’re using your mobile or tablet. To build the shed, it’s really just a matter of selecting from the app’s available features.
Basic tools, basic shed.
- Customizable 3D view of your project
- Extensive design features including windows, doors, rooflines, insulation, mezzanine floors, and skylights
- Detailed input for technical details to make your building safe, sound, and up to standard
- Photo Mode lets you get a picture of what your new shed will look like in the exact location you want it using Augmented Reality
- Share on Facebook or Twitter
- Available on the Apple Store and on Google Play
- Very easy to use
- Informative tips about the ideal location for a shed
- Can’t design or customize
- Limited features
- Dimension feature doesn’t recognize decimal points so it can’t set precise measurements
Click here for Shed Boss App
4. Fair Dinkum Sheds Designer
Fair Dinkum Sheds Designer app is created by Fair Dinkum Sheds, an Australian-based distributor of steel buildings. The app allows users to design their own shed, barn, garage or carport. If they choose to, users can also request a quote for their designs.
The features are found on the left side of the screen. Users may skip to other features right away but the first step is to choose the building type to work on. Unlike other apps, it gives users more leeway when it comes to adjusting dimensions and has a good number of colors and cladding choices.
But as with most shed design apps, all you need to do is click on the option available to see if you like the result. There’s no option to zoom in or out. To see from a different angle, simply hold and drag the cursor around.
- 3D project
- Extensive design features
- Set precise dimensions
- Share result to Facebook, Twitter or via email
- Available on the Apple Store and on Google Play
- Easy to use
- Limited tools and features
- Can’t zoom in or out
Fair Dinkum Sheds Designer Video
Click here for Fair Dinkum Sheds Designer
SketchUp is a 3D modeling software used for various drawing applications such as interior design, architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game design. It allows you to build almost anything from scratch and be as meticulous as possible. The free software is called SketchUp Make and can be downloaded from the website.
The paid version is called SketchUp Pro and is used by many professional architects. Unlike many design software, users in SketchUp start with working in 3D. Another difference with SketchUp is it allows you to build everything and anything from scratch.
This means there’s plenty of room for you to get wild and creative as you customize and add details. On the other hand, this can also mean that working with SketchUp can be complex. Its user interface may be daunting at first but it’s actually pretty simple.
The most commonly used tool is the pencil tool and push and pull tools. So the technique is mostly drawing then push and pull. That’s how most of the 3D models are created.
This makes it easy to learn even for those with no CAD backgrounds. Within an hour, you’ll find yourself creating shapes and house models. With SketchUp, you start off by drawing an arbitrary rectangle.
You push and pull, input the desired dimensions and create a floorboard. To backtrack a little, working with SketchUp can be complex but that’s because it allows you to create a 3D replica of the real thing. It’s no wonder professional architects use this software.
It’s up to you if you want to slouch off and create a shed with just shells on the outside or create a replica with representations of plywood, studs, roof shingles, etc.
- 2D models
- 3D models
- It’s 3D Warehouse library of free 3D models is the world’s biggest
- Lighting effects
- Layer manager
- Add model view, drawing scales, line weights, dimensions, callouts, and graphics
- Precise dimensions
- Export to PDFs, images and CAD files
- Autosave and manually save in Sketchup format
- Import JPEGs, CAD plans, PDFs and other file types
- Works under Windows and MAC OS
- Available in 10 languages
- Has a free version
- Smart and intuitive software
- You can build and create anything with it
- Lets you add complex details
- Vast library of free 3D models as well as aesthetic design options
- Plenty of video tutorials
- Tablet version for androids and iphones
- The free version doesn’t allow import of files
- Only the paid version allows export of files
- Shareable only within the 3D Warehouse
- Tendency to stop responding when the file becomes too heavy
SketchUp Video Tutorial
SketchUp Demo Video
Click here for SketchUp
6. Udesignit 3D Garage Shed
Udesignit 3D Garage Shed doesn’t differ much with most of the shed design apps. It has a simple user interface and plenty of tips from the Help menu to make it easy to use. In this aspect, the Help menu earns some points for the Udesignit 3D Garage Shed.
The controls, however, doesn’t always seem to work. It can get tricky trying to undo an action or simply choosing the color of your choice. To create a shed, choose the system unit of your choice, set the external dimensions and choose 3D.
You can customize the directions again in the Dimensions icon found on the right of the screen. The features appear as icons and are located at the left, right and above the screen.
- 3D view animation
- Siding selection
- Roofing selection
- Doors selection
- Windows selection
- Paint sico color
- Estimation material cost
- View a typical plan
- Can be installed only on android
- Easy to use
- Has a material cost estimate feature
- Limited features and design options
- Can’t set external dimensions
Udesignit 3D Garage Shed Demo Video