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By Kieran Bain on 04 Jul 2022

Big Timber Shed vs Garage: What is the Difference?

So, you’re in the market for a garden building. Maybe some storage, maybe a workshop, maybe even a vehicle? Sounds like you’ve come to the right place. But there’s one problem: timber shed vs garage, you’re not 100% sure which one you need.

You know that they are two different things, but you’re not quite sure how. This is a common dilemma. There have been so many occasions where someone has got a Shed SO huge that they may as well have got a Garage. 

It’s a tricky one.

And that’s absolutely fine, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s what.

So I know the kind of questions you have right now: 

  • What is a Garden Shed?
  • What is a Timber Garage?
  • How are they actually different, if at all? 
  • Do they have different purposes?

And that’s exactly what I will cover today. By the end of this article, you will know exactly what the difference is between a Shed and a Garage. Furthermore, you’ll know what is best for you. 

Let’s get started, folks. 

What is a Shed?

A Shed is a functional space, primarily. Got some garden tools that need to be stored away? Shed. 

Do you have bikes lying around that are no longer used? Shed

timber shed show area

All that kind of thing.

A Shed is basically a storage facility that is outside your actual house. An outbuilding. You won’t be spending much time in here, as it will be filled to the brim with:

A) Garden items that are used constantly, or,

B) Household items that are used, never!

Or used as:

C) A Man-Cave, perhaps!

D) A creative space?

A Shed is great for so many things.

My shed? Watering cans, tools, garden gloves. Used constantly! Also in said Shed: a space hopper and an old ironing board. I will likely never use them again, but hey, I get sentimental.

Indeed, whether it is garden tools, a lawn mower, a space hopper, or your amazing Man-Cave, the Shed welcomes you with open arms.  It’s functional on the inside but needs to be stunning on the outside. 

Why? Because a Shed plays a huge part in the aesthetic of your garden. It can make or break it. I bet you’ve walked past so many gardens before, and just been so disappointed by a poorly built Shed that ruins it. We hate that, here. We don’t want that for you.

And Sheddies, the above uses may already be beginning to chime with you, and that’s great if so! However, if this isn’t really ringing any bells, then maybe it’s not a Shed that you’re after…

So, what is a Timber Garage? 

A Timber Garage is a large building that is used primarily as a workshop or for the storage of your vehicle. As such, they need to be pretty hefty in both size and structure. 

The key to a Garage is dryness. You will have a lot of stuff in a Garage – thousands of pounds worth – and you need that stuff to be dry. It needs to be as protected from the Scottish weather as much as possible. A stone dry, protective space. 

And I know what you’re thinking: does that mean that Sheds aren’t dry?!?

No, it doesn’t mean that at all. Don’t worry! The Sheds are very dry, but they can only be reliably dry in their specification up to a certain size. This will all be explained later on in the blog, so keep reading, Sheddies. 

Generally, a Garage just has a slightly different use than a Shed. A Shed is more so a storage space for hundreds of tiny things, whereas a Garage is for the storage of a few BIG things. To rattle a few off the top of my head – cars, machinery, washing machines, tumble dryers, backup fridges. You get the picture. 

medium timber garage

If you’re not storing a vehicle, we’ve also seen some gorgeous workshops created over the last 3 decades. Amazing spaces for people to spend a great deal of time in, mastering their respective crafts. Such places need lots of space to manoeuvre around, so the size of a Garage lends itself perfectly to that kind of project.

It’s just a bit more than the Shed. That’s not to say that the Sheds aren’t great, but if you need something massive, truly spectacular, then perhaps a Garage is for you. 

Garden Shed vs Garage: How Do They Differ? 

Today, we’re going to look at everything that makes a Timber Garage and a Shed different. There are lots of differences, folks, so grab a cuppa now☕.

From the way they look, to how much they cost, to planning regulations, there is a lot to take in and digest. But after reading this, we hope you have a better understanding of how they’re different, why they’re different, and what type of building you need. 

I suppose I also want to touch on why exactly I’m writing this. 

Well, this is because, in the market, a Shed and a Garage are largely interchangeable pieces of jargon. Garage usually means “big Shed.”

But this shouldn’t be the case. A high-quality Garage should be considered completely separate from a high-quality Shed. They certainly are different here at G&M, but the purpose of this blog is more so to ensure that you know – when researching the market – that Garages are not just big Sheds.

It’s worrying how many companies construct buildings in their Shed spec, make them massive, then call them a Garage. It’s far more nuanced than this, and it’s not spoken about enough. 

Anyway, I want to get stuck into all things that make Garden Sheds and Garages different. Without further ado, let’s crack on. 

Shed vs Garage: What’s the Difference in Design? 

Let’s look firstly at the overall structure of the buildings: how they differ in design, and what this means for the building. We build Garages and Sheds differently, so let’s break it down.

What is the specification of a Shed?

We clad Sheds with 19mm Scandinavian redwood and complement it with 70mm x 40mm framing. This timber is naturally designed to withstand the Finnish weather, so Scotland is easy peasy. Well, easy peasy up to a certain size.

A single-skinned building can only reliably stay dry to a certain point, and that’s why our Shed range ends at a certain point  – 16’ x 10’. We believe that, when Sheds go larger than this, they begin to be susceptible to leaking. To be honest, though, that’s a pretty perfect size for general storage, man-cave purposes, and creative spaces.

Outside G&M, many manufacturers seem to use around 14mm-16mm redwood or whitewood. Some supply 19mm buildings, too! (but not enough!!). As a rule of thumb, the thicker the wood, the more robust it is. That’s why as specification increases, so too does price. With a 14-16mm piece of weatherboard, the lifespan is significantly reduced from our experience. 

Want to know more about why picking the right wood, and the right thickness is so important? Read (and watch) here: A Guide to the Wood in Your Shed: Weatherboard, Sarking, Studs & Bearers.

In essence, a Shed is a single-skinned structure. You’ve got standard timber doors, some windows, and a felt or steel roof.  Since they’re not *too* heavy, either, we’re happy for them to go on slabbed bases. Or, for dinky Sheds, just type 1 hardcore.

What is the specification of a Garage?

Garages are exceptionally heavy. So first and foremost, the groundwork is vital. They need to go on a concrete base. In fact, this is so important that we don’t even supply floors in our Garages. Straight onto concrete is best.

And construction-wise, Garages NEED to be impenetrable. If we think about how big Garages are, then there is a lot of opportunities for moisture to get in. The bigger the building, the more structural support it needs. With this in mind, we use our typical 19mm redwood but also add a 22mm cavity, and then an internal 9mm OSB. We then add 95mm x 45mm framing to this. Take a look:

timber garage interior

No getting through this 3-tier structure! Additionally, Garages have roller doors instead of timber ones! 

Now, as I mentioned above, Garages and big Sheds are not different for many companies. Due to this, if you are looking to store a car, you need to be careful that you’re not just buying a big, single-skinned Shed. It simply won’t be suitable for what you want to use for the Garage. 

And that’s why we build them differently. Not because we want to, but because it’s absolutely needed. 

If you’re starting to think: “this is what I need”, please head to this page here: Garages – Everything You Need to Know.

Or, fancy seeing how some other companies approach Garages and clad them? Head over here: Timber Garages Scotland – Top 4 Suppliers

Alright, let’s look at further differences. 

Shed vs Garage: What Is The Difference in Size?

Size is a big difference here. Now, our Sheds begin at 7’ x 5’ and, as mentioned above, go all the way up to 16’ x 10’:

The range is vast. In fact, you could fit nearly 5x tiny Sheds into 1x massive ones.

Garage sizes, on the other hand, start at large and go up to massive. Basically, 16’ x 10’ is the point of crossing from a Shed into a Garage. It’s our largest Shed, and smallest Garage –  a G&M chrysalis, I guess!

Yes, they start at 16’ x 10’ (or 4.8m x 3m; we use metric too because we’re cool), and go all the way up to 6m x 5m. You can go larger, but this is when planning gets involved, and that’s not fun. 

However, it has been done. Look at this 9m x 5.4m Garage. Outrageous. 

large timber garage

PS: This was before the Garage door was installed!

In essence, they are huge and are designed to comfortably accommodate at least one vehicle and further storage. Of course, the larger you go, the more stuff you can accommodate. Here’s a medium-sized Garage: 

timber shed vs garage

Basically, Sheds come in sizes from tiny to large. Garages come in large, too gigantic.

In effect, it’s all about what you want to do with the space. If you need something smallish for storage, then a Shed is going to do you just fine. But if you’re looking to store a vehicle as well as general storage, then you may need a Garage. 

Fancy seeing what other companies offer for sizes across their Sheds and Garages? See what Max Timber Sheds are doing: Apex Garages // Apex Sheds.

Shed vs Garage: What Are The Cost Differences?

Yes, as with all things, the cost is quite a big factor. 

What does a Shed Cost in the Market?

The most standard size of Shed is 8’ x 6’, so I’ll talk about that size. Generally, they’re currently going for around £700-1100.00.

However, it’s not always clear if this includes delivery and installation of the building or VAT. Furthermore, these prices were largely for 16mm redwood. 

What does a Shed Cost at G&M?

In keeping with the above, a G&M 8’ x 6’ costs £1,448.00. 

Our Sheds start at about £1,250.00 with our smallest 7’ x 5’ Shed. This goes up to around £4,800.00, at which point we’re talking the full works: 16’ x 10’ with security doors and shelves. In fact, I think the most expensive Shed I’ve ever seen was about £5,500.00, and this thing was truly amazing in stature. 

So, from cheapest to most expensive, we’re talking about a £4,000.00 difference. Delivery, installation, and VAT all included, of course. 

What does a Garage Cost in the Market?

This is a bit trickier since, as we know, a Garage is just a big Shed for some people. However, we will try our best. Well, as I write this, I am trying my best, but I am struggling so much to actually find prices on websites without requesting a quote. 

I have found two companies where Garages with a footprint of 23m² costs ~£12,000.00. I’ve also got a 6m x 3m Garage that was only £4,000.00. WOW!

Ah, hang on. It’s a 15mm Scandinavian redwood single-tier construction. A Big Shed. 

Right. I don’t know if it’s me, but I’m really struggling here. I want to say that Garages with Garage specifications are looking between £5-20000, but I’ve broken a sweat or two finding it out. 

What does a Garage Cost at G&M?

A G&M Garage starts at around £7,000.00 and goes up to £25,000.00 at its most expensive. So the actual variability is far more in cost than that of the Sheds. 

I’d say that, if your budget is anything under £6,000.00, then you’re looking at a Shed. Maybe even two. Or, a Summerhouse and a Shed! Why not? But yes, if between £7-25,000, then a Garage is most likely what you’re looking for. 

I should also note that whilst our Sheds are standardised, Garages are almost completely itemised beyond the basic body cost. This means that things like Roller Doors and skylights are all priced on application. A further note is that Gillies and Mackay do not provide the concrete base work required for a Garage

Additionally, your Garage is built to order, allowing you to specify exactly what you need. This is great, but custom builds do often cost more. With Sheds, they’re fairly rigid in terms of size, so there really isn’t a custom charge to speak of. 

Interested in why Gillies and Mackay are more expensive than most of the market? Read here: How our materials contribute to the cost and longevity of your G&M.

Shed vs Garages: What Are The Planning Permission Differences?


The dreaded question…is planning needed? 

Well, since our Sheds are all beneath 30m² in footprint, planning permission is actually typically unnecessary. Huzzah!

Additionally, Sheds are always beneath 2.5m in height APART from our 10’ Apex Gables. So all you need to do for say, a 16’ x 10’, is place it 1m away. Other than that, you’re golden!

Garages, on the other hand, can go above these footprint thresholds, but we often don’t advise doing this. On our price list, you will see that the largest size is 6m x 5m, and this is for good reason: it is the largest you can go without needing planning.

Additionally, Garages can be quite tall. So tall, in fact, that you will likely need to place the whole building 1m away from a boundary at any given point. If you do this, you’re one step closer to avoiding planning. 

So in most cases, you will seldom need planning permission on the condition that it is less than 30m² in footprint, and is 1m away from a boundary. However, the second that you want to install plumbing (mostly applicable in Garages), building control will be all over you. Electricity is all okay, though, for Sheds and Garages.

We should mention, though, that the only asterisk to this is if you are in a Conservation Area. In a Conservation Area, anything over 4m² in footprint requires planning.

Similarly, Conservation Areas are an instant “planning required” for Garages. Like we say though, this is applicable only to a minority of orders.

The Alternative: A Garage/Shed Hybrid?!

By now, you may know what construction is right for you. But if you’re still struggling, we have a top-secret solution to cure your indecisiveness. 

Now, we can’t speak for everyone else, but at G&M we’ve created a solution that falls halfway between a shed and a garage. We call it a Sharage… (not really, but it is a hybrid)

To recap, the Garage is a 3-tier wall structure and has no flooring. A Shed is a single-tier structure with a floor. And here’s our secret construction: a Garage wall spec WITH a floor: the mythical “3-Tier Shed.” 

These beauties aren’t as tall as Garages, but still, have that 3-tier wall structure alongside a gorgeous timber floor. 

The only thing to remember, though, is that they’re not tall enough to have a roller door for vehicle access. It’s purely timber doors. To be honest, though, if you’re wanting a floor, then a vehicle probably isn’t in the equation anyway.

Price-wise, these usually come out to around the same cost as Garages – between £7,000 – £12,000. The reason: the deduction of the roller door and the addition of flooring basically cancel each other out.

But why would I need this?

Well, Sheds are sometimes used as workshops where a floor is preferred, for example. You may need a BIG space for all of your tools/machinery, but don’t need it to house a car. Motorbike storage comes to mind, too. They’d fit through the timber doors, aren’t too heavy for a timber floor, and are super duper extra protected within the 3-tier structure

Basically, if you need a huge building that won’t have a car in it, then it’s a great solution. 

If you want the best of both worlds, then we can help.

Over to You: “Do I need a Garage or a Shed?”

I think we’ve now covered pretty much all of the differences between Garages and Sheds. To recap: if you’re after a small building and just looking for some storage, a wee man-cave, all that stuff, then a Shed is likely the one for you. 

If you’re looking for a big, big, space to house a vehicle(s), as well as lots of storage (I’ve got a tumble dryer in mine!), then you’re looking at a Garage.

And these are just the differences in utility – as you’ll know by now, they’re different in almost every single way! 

Things like price, for instance! If your budget is below £6,000.00, then a Garden Shed is the one for you. Between £7-13,000? Go on, treat yourself. 

And as we know, the changes in price are massively down to the construction differences. Sheds are single-skinned; Garages are 3-tier. Almost 2 and a half times thicker. 

And why is that necessary? Because Garages need to be big to ensure they can comfortably fit a vehicle in them, and when a building is BIG, it needs extra structure to ensure water tightness. Again, this is why Sheds finish at 16’ x 10’ and Garages start at 16’ x 10’. Once they’re over this size, you need extra wall support. 

Anyway, I’ve harped on enough! If you feel you’ve decided what’s best for you, then please do book in for your consultation HERE. This way, you can be the first in line for a brand new Shed or Garage!

Still not quite ready to book an appointment yet? Download our brochures here to get an even more detailed flavour of what’s what.

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