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Here’s an inspiring story about a customer who took his Tuff Shed building and made it into a truly special home office.
John started with his own blueprints and approached a contractor to build his backyard office.
John’s list of ‘must-haves’ for this building kept getting longer, but the answer from Tuff Shed was always the same.
John said the Tuff Shed building was installed in a single day and was the quickest part of the entire project. For a man who spends 45-50 hours a week working at home, John wanted more than a shed, he wanted something personal, and that’s exactly what Tuff Shed helped him achieve. If your garage is totally filled up and you’d like more storage space, you’ve probably wondered now and then about adding some storage in your backyard.
Tom Wandrie, deputy director of plan review for Phoenix, says that if a garden shed measures less than 200 square feet in size, it does not need an actual building permit, but it still needs to meet certain city code requirements about setbacks from any walls.
However, it’s possible that what you might want to do will not meet the requirements of your homeowners association, he notes.
In other words, if Phoenix says your plan looks fine but your HOA is upset, then you could be explaining the situation to a judge if your neighbors get angry enough.
But the city of Scottsdale has requirements about sheds that are similar to those in Phoenix, and so does the city of Tucson.
And, of course, you can only get these compliance permits for structures that will serve as storage sheds or playhouses. What that last rule means is that if you’re interested in turning that storage shed into an office or tool shop or an extra bedroom with electricity and air conditioning, then you have more issues to face. Trevillyan said that there could be many homeowners who have built sheds without necessary approvals, but eventually the city finds out when someone files a complaint or a homeowner needs an approval for some other backyard project.
At that point, if you are caught in this kind of situation, then you would probably have to get a permit that could cost you twice as much as you would have paid if you’d gotten one to begin with.


Once you decide to add a garden shed or a backyard studio, however, your options are unlimited.
One of the nation’s biggest seller of sheds, Tuff Shed in Denver, has showrooms throughout the West for their products, including several in Arizona. For a simple tool shed, Worth recommends building a 120-square-foot unit in order to avoid more stringent building requirements of local cities. Shed companies know the steps you have to take, depending on the local climate in order to ensure that your shed can withstand heat and storms. In some cases, his company has even gone to HOA meetings in order to convince association boards that the unit to be built will fit into the look of a community. Next week, we’ll talk about quick fixes and improvements that you can make in your house before the holidays arrive.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer creates a quiet workspace of her own just steps from her back door. Surprisingly, the contractor recommended buying a Tuff Shed, and converting it to an office.
After that, he went straight into adding custom exterior and interior finishes, adding electrical, insulation, drywall, exterior stucco, lighting, and gutters to his backyard office. In other words, you’d like to build a shed where you can stash shovels and brooms and maybe some bigger bulkier tools or equipment. A backyard shed can be relatively inexpensive to build and easier than you think to get approved. What we found out from various jurisdictions and shed companies is the smaller the better if you want to keep down costs and red tape. If some problem like that comes up, it would have to be decided in the courts,” Wandrie said. For example, a one-story detached tool or storage shed in Yavapai County only needs a building permit when the structure is more than 400 square feet in area.


If a shed is less than 200 square feet in area, it does not need a building permit but does need a zoning compliance permit that costs about $50, according to Clayton Trevillyan, planning permit specialist with the city of Tucson. To expand the project in that way, you need to meet permit requirements for electrical and mechanical work. Going ahead without the proper approvals might even slow down the sale of your home some day. Tuff Shed sends out installers who can put a shed together on your lot in three or four hours, according to Phillip Worth, vice president of marketing for the company. Prices vary depending on the design but one that size can generally be built for under $2,700. Or maybe you have a yen for something more exciting — a storage unit that can double as an office or a wood-working shop.
The marketplace offers lots of moderate cost options, and you don’t have to spend too much time getting through the approval process. To start with, what you are planning is a “detached accessory structure” that will have to be limited in size and height and must be a certain number of feet away from the house, the fences and lot line. Sheds and small outbuildings are growing in popularity, he said, because Americans seem to have more and more stuff to store and are running out of space.
After going through his options, John chose a Tuff Shed Pro Tall Ranch as the basis for his building. Then there’s the local bureaucracy to think about; by that, we mean your city or county planning department or even a homeowner’s association if you have one.



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